“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

I sat on the tailgate of my pickup on a Sunday afternoon watching. My life was in a shambles. I was out of work, my marriage was falling apart, and I was away from God. I watched as my family and friends wearing their Sunday best got out of their cars and crossed the parking lot. I sat their thumping a cigarette between two fingers as they all went into the House of God. I had never felt so alone. It had been a great while since I had talked to God and even longer since I had been in His house.

And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.

1 Samuel 6:1

Israel had lost the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines in battle. It was a horrendous, unthinkable thing. God’s glory, His blessing, His very presence was linked irrevocably to the Ark of the Covenant. It was a precious, holy relic of the faith and now it was being handled by crude, faithless hands in a foreign land. There was an emptiness, a void in the tabernacle that couldn’t be filled by anything less than its safe return to the House of God.  

The loneliness that I felt that Sunday afternoon watching those smiling folks enter the church was unbearable. I knew that something was missing in my life. There was a God shaped void at my very center that couldn’t be filled with anything other than Him.

God plagued the Philistines for having stolen the Ark and their rulers decided to return the Ark of the Covenant to Israel. They placed it on a cart with various offerings and sent it on its way. The Ark came to rest at Obed-Edom’s home and he was blessed while the Ark was there. David later fetched the Ark of the Covenant from Obed-edom’s home and it was carried on the priest’s shoulders to its rightful resting place.

A cousin of mine looked over his shoulder and said, “It would be good if you’d come to church with me.” I responded, “It you’d be good to get me to go to church.” He smiled and went into the church. I could hear the songs of Zion being sung and I decided I’d go in and sit on the backrow. I have no idea what they preached but they sang, Touching Jesus is all that really matters.

Every six paces the procession stopped and a burnt offering was made. The King danced before the Ark of the Covenant rejoicing at its return. The priest were blood splattered, mud covered, and smelt of seared flesh and smoke. Sweat and effort went into getting the Ark of the Covenant back to the House of God. It was a ten mile journey from Obed-Edom’s home to the tabernacle. The oxen represented strength and wealth but God it’s not our strength or wealth that God is interested in. It’s human frailty that gets the attention of God.

…My strength is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 4:6

I got up from that back pew wondering if touching Jesus was all that mattered. I told God on my way to the altar that If He didn’t touch me that night, I would never bother Him again. That night God filled me with the Holy Ghost. He put my marriage back together. He gave me a job. He called me to preach and 40 years later, I have baptized my grandbabies in Jesus name.

God does not want a place prominence in your life. He wants to be preeminent in your life. This week put Him first and see. God always backs up his word. Seek him first and He’ll set the rest in order.

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