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Dan Augsburger
Read, Pray PLUS Obey

“And the Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.” 2 Sam. 6:11

All Israel had rejoiced when the ark had been returned by the Philistines on a new cart, pulled by oxen who had been mysteriously directed by an unseen hand, with golden gifts to show respect. The submission and showing of respect by the Philistines was a great triumph for God.

David also wanted to show respect, and arranged for the ark to be transported on a new cart, accompanied by the two sons of Abinadab who were priests, and even recruited 30,000 “choice” men to sing and celebrate.

Unfortunately the oxen stumbled, one of the men, Uzzah, tried to steady the ark with his hand, and was immediately struck down.

David reacted with fear and consternation, and left the ark with Obed-Edom, the Gittite.

Obed-Edom didn’t know what to expect and probably viewed the coming of the Ark with fear and trepidation. But it turned out to be a blessing: “The Lord blessed Obed-Edom and all his household.

It isn’t easy serving God in this day and age. Busy schedules, trials dished out by the devil, limited time, distractions, relationships, financial hardships, even facebook and the internet, etc., combine to make it hard to have quality time with God. But God will bless us for doing so.

In writing I am reminded of a time when George Müller was visiting a  man who was so poor and busy that he did not have time for personal devotions. Müller chided the man and told him that if he took time with God, he would have more time. And so it was.

So do you regularly spend with Jesus?

But there is a sobering reminder in the story: not only do we need to spend time with God, but we need to also follow what we read. Uzzah had not prepared for taking the ark, nor had he pointed out that the ark was being transported the wrong way—neither for that matter had the 30,000 choice men. So when the Oxen stumbled and Uzzah tried to steady it, he was struck down—proximity and activity with the things of God are good, but not good enough if they are not combined with obedience to the Word of God.

Quoting Müller,

If God does bless us in reading His word, He expects that we should be obedient children, and that we should accept the Word as His will, and carry it into practice. If this be neglected, you will find that the reading of the Word, even if accompanied by prayer, meditation, and faith, will do you little good. God does expect us to be obedient children, and will have us practice what He has taught us. The Lord Jesus Christ says If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” And in the measure in which we carry out what our Lord Jesus taught, so in measure are we happy children. And in such measure only can we honestly look for help from the Father, even as we seek to carry out His will.