It was not just another day on the farm. Obed-Edom and his family had watched with fascination as King David prepared with unprecedented care to bring the Ark of the Covenant up from Kiriath-jearim to Jerusalem.
It had been deposited in this small town to the west of Jerusalem when the Philistines were trying to get rid of their plagues, caused by having this illicit trophy of war in their midst.
After suffering decades of benign neglect, it was suddenly to be the centerpiece of David’s new administration in Jerusalem. The highway ran by their farm, and other than the essential chores, everyone was on standby to watch the parade of Israel’s dignitaries come by.
In addition, their musical king had done an amazing new thing which was to conduct a talent search in Israel for musicians. As a result, there was going to be a band and choir executing with excellence the music King David had written.
Never had Israel experienced so much pomp and circumstance — and it was going on right in front of the Obed-Edom family! First all of the important people came down from Jerusalem right by their home, and now, by early afternoon, they could hear the parade coming.
It was an event to be savored to the fullest and remembered to tell the grandkids. They would probably never be this close to the Ark of the Covenant again in their entire lives since they were foreigners and were not allowed anywhere near the Tabernacle or any of the religious events those Hebrews did.
Obed-Edom was in an awkward position. He was a Philistine from Gath and he fully understood the past history between his people and Israel, especially related to David’s army.
On the other hand, as bloody as that history had been, David had some issues with his own nation during their civil war, and he had been using some mercenaries from Gath, since they were tall, strong men with a bent for war.
Eventually David would have 600 Gittites as his personal body-guard during another civil war, but for now, Obed-Edom was simply a foreigner, farming on the Israelite side of the border, walking gently, staying out of trouble, and being as low profile as a really big man can possibly be.
The parade finally came with row upon row of leaders, soldiers, priests and dignitaries. Then, there IT was! Right in front of them.
Suddenly there was chaos. Men were shouting and running. The music stopped, as did the oxen pulling the cart. Kids in the trees shouted down incomprehensible snippets to those on the ground who were striving to make sense of the mess. At the very least, it looked as though someone had died.
But how? What had happened?
Suddenly an official came elbowing his way through the crowd violently. He rushed up to one of the farm hands and asked, “Is this your farm?” The man hastily pointed out Obed-Edom who came forward swiftly, yet with concern.
The civil servant was so upset he was hardly intelligible, but Obed-Edom sort of said “yes” to something. Moments later the official’s staff had shoveled all the furniture out of the living room, the Ark of the Covenant was dropped off there, and the crowd began to dissipate, slowly.
Rumor had it the king was furious.
There certainly was a dead man to be dealt with.
The crowd that had been so joyous was at a loss to know quite how to wind down the parade that had crashed and burned.
The only thing that was clear is that the Ark of the Covenant of the Most High God of Israel was in the living room of a Philistine from Gath.
And that was enough to make a really big man, really quite nervous. The last time the Philistines tangled with the Ark, thousands of people got sick and whole cities were over run with rats.
How on earth did such a bizarre turn of events occur? He had done NOTHING to get himself in this fix. He and thousands of others were just watching the parade go by, and suddenly, through absolutely no fault of his own, a man is dead, the king is in a rage, the parade is wrecked, and the Ark is in his living room for who knows how long just because it happened in front of his house!
So now what?
What exactly could he do when the rats overran the farm and the kids came down with boils? This was too weird. It’s not like he had gone to war to capture this dangerous representative of God. It was thrust on him.
In the end, no plague broke out on his farm. In fact, as they squeezed themselves into the rest of the house, coming and going through the back door so as not to desecrate the living room with their uncircumcised presence, God began to bless everything about their farm.
It was simply amazing, incomprehensible and as over the top staggering as the first event was. The neighbors began to talk about it and pretty soon every gossip in Israel knew that this Philistine from Gath was getting smothered in blessings at an unprecedented level.
Nothing like this had happened in Kiriath-jearim when the Ark was there. This was certifiably wild. In 90 days, Obed-Edom, the guy who tried to keep a low profile, was the top national story from Dan to Beersheba.
All because he was willing on one moment’s notice to adjust his life to accommodate the needs of the God of Israel.
Father, we ask you to bless Balmoral by sending many people there with the lifestyle of Obed-Edom. In the midst of religious people who wanted You to synchronize to them and their unholy plans, you found a non-religious man who would synchronize to You, instantly.
Bring to this community the men and women who will change any aspect of their daily life, for a single day, or for the rest of their lives, to make their homes a place where You would delight to be.
We would rejoice in having preChristians come to this city with their reverence for a generic God whom they do not know, only to experience unparalleled blessings that bring them face to face with You in a personal way.
We ask this in the Name and through the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Copyright October 2011 by Arthur Burk
Sapphire Leadership Group, Inc.