Building God’s House 2: Counting the Cost


When we first meet Obed-edom the Gittite, he is in what must’ve certainly appeared to be a BAD situation.

King David has attempted to carry the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem in a nice, new shiny cart, despite the fact that God has commanded that it shall always be carried by human priests using poles.

The results are disastrous. At some point, the cart hits a pothole and the vehicle tips precariously. A fellow named Uzzah tries to steady the Ark, forgetting that he is not to touch such a sacred and holy object with such familiarity. For attempting to “save God,” Uzzah is struck dead, the happy procession to Jerusalem is understandably postponed until further notice, and a very confused king pawns off the death-dealing golden box on Obed-edom.

Like Obed-edom, there comes a time in all our lives when we are forced to decide what we must do with God.

As far as I can tell, our friend the Gittite is given no choice as to whether he wanted to watch the Ark for a while. David is a king, after all, and king’s have a way of getting their way. David had decided Obed- edom would do him this service; Democracy hadn’t even been invented yet!

Likewise, we aren’t really given the option of ignoring God. The choice of whether or not we accept salvation by Jesus Christ is unavoidable. You can’t ignore it. You can’t really put it off. You can’t decide not to make the choice at all, because the Default selection will be applied to you if you fail to choose. That default selection, according to John 3:17-21 is condemnation. The only way we can eliminate that condemnation is to actively choose forgiveness and salvation; we have to choose Jesus.

Despite how things must’ve looked the day the parade stopped in Obed-edom’s front yard, we find him doing pretty well when David returns. In fact, since the presence of God has entered his life, things have been going just Great!

Too, we find that upon making our decision for Christ that things are, if not physically better, at least generally what we term “blessed.” After all, we are no longer condemned, but are forgiven. We are no longer slaves to sin, but set free to righteousness. No longer cast down and worthless, but loved and counted as joint-heirs with Jesus. We are no longer going to Hell; we are going to Heaven with our own personal mansion thrown in for good measure! When you first get saved, Everything is Great! Love is all around you. You can’t wait to tell everybody what Jesus has done for you and that they too can be saved!

But there comes a time when another decision must be made.

I don’t have to wonder what this Gittite must have been thinking when King David came back for the Ark. He’d been blessed tremendously because of the presence of the Ark in his life. He had a choice to make: He could stay where he was and enjoy the blessings of God, or he could leave behind the blessings for the Source of those blessings.

As Christians, this a choice we have to make. We call it discipleship.

It’s part of who we are. It’s part of our Great Commision. Jesus didn’t just say, “Go out and make converts to Christianity.” No, he said to “make disciples of all nations!”

Obed-edom gave up everything – absolutely everything! – to pursue the presence of God. When we next see him, he is a porter, a musical minister whose job it is to thank, praise, and record the greatness of God before the Ark continually. And he is a gatekeeper in the House of God. He remained such until the end of his days. That Gittite gave up everything he was, everything he’d been, everything he’d ever known to minister to God. To pursue His presence.

A lot of Christians have never made a choice to forsake everything, deny themselves, and take up their crosses to follow God. We’ve never counted the cost. We’re stuck on the blessings of God. We get our God fix every Sunday, but we don’t minister to Him. We enjoy the blessings He has provided, but do not pursue the One from whom all blessings flow. We want all of the goodies, but we don’t want to put forth any effort or make any sacrifices.

Jesus never preached nor promised an easy Christianity. He warned us to count the cost. Salavation is free to whosoever will believe; Discipleship will cost you everything! Look at such Bible passages as Matt.10:32-39;25 & Luke14:26-33 and you cannot deny that what God expects of us is more than a mere profession of faith, consistent tithing, and church attendance. He wants more of you. He wants all of you! Yet don’t lose heart. Make your commitment to take it to the next level today as you consider the lesson found in the life of the Gittite: What Obed-edom sacrificed in his pursuit of God was nothing compared to what he gained! He gave up temporal prosperity for eternal riches. He lost stuff. He gained God.

Obed-edom spent the rest of his days praising God, thanking Him, and recording His awesome greatness. He literally spent the rest of his life in the presence of God. It sounds like a little slice of Heaven, doesn’t it? 

–Sirius Knott

Read Building God’s House 1: Are We Building God’s House?

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