Sermon Review. MGA. Daniel King. January 10, 2010

“The Secret of Obed-Edom will teach you how to activate God’s plan for wealth creation in your life. Hidden in this book are the secrets of Godly promotion and how to achieve unprecedented wealth in your life. Order your copy today by calling: 1-877-431-4276.” [Promotional Material for Daniel King Ministries]

Τhis is a sermon by a guest speaker called Daniel King, who is part of Daniel King ministries. The sermon is based on his book “The secret of Obed-edom.” The sermon starts off by talking about the importance of the presence of God, and that as you pray you enter into the presence of God. To underscore this point he sets forth a thesis, which is that the presence of God radically changed the life of Obed-edom, and that “tonight, the story of his life is going to change your life.”

As it were, Obed-Edom is a fairly obscure Bible character that is first introduced in 1 Chronicles 13, where we read [As the ark was being carried to Jerusalem] “When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzzah put out his hand to take hold of the ark, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God. And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzza  to this day.  And David was afraid of God that day, and he said, “How can I bring the ark of God home to me?” So David did not take the ark home into the city of David, but took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of God remained with the household of Obed-edom in his house three months. And the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that he had.” 1 Chronicles 13:9-14.

Pastor King tells us “God blessed his house and everything he had. Everything that Obed-edom had was blessed. His animals were blessed, his crops were blessed, his family was blessed, his marriage was blessed, his children were blessed, his business was blessed . God blessed his household and everything he had. And this is what God wants to do for you. When you invite God’s presence to come dwell in your house, you can expect the blessing of God to rest upon your house.” He also says that “God wants us to be blessed in every area of our life, and it all begins when you discover the presence of God. Everything you need can be found in God’s presence”.[see notes in reflections]

Settling into his sermon, he remarks that it is surprising that God chose to bless Obed-edom, for three reasons. The first is that the name Obed means slave, that Obed was labelled as a slave, and that every time someone calls him Obed, they’re saying “Hey slave. Come over here.” The second reason has to do with the name Edom. He says that this means he is an Edomite, a descendant of Esau and therefore he is an enemy of Israel.  The last comes with him being a “Gittite” this means that he is from the city of Gath, the place of David’s greatest enemy, Goliath. These are three strikes as far as Pastor King is concerned, but this is his point – that it doesn’t matter what sort of background, education, or  family history you have, because when God is going to come live in your house, you are going to be blessed.

Continuing the narrative after David left with the ark, It would seem that “In those three months with the ark,  Obed- edom became so addicted to the presence to God that he decided to follow the ark to Jerusalem….He was standing around the temple area one day when he found out they needed gatekeepers, so he volunteered. And they said ‘aren’t you a slave and an enemy of Israel from Gath’? and he said ‘it doesn’t matter, because of the presence of God.’”

Much speculation ensues, and he makes the case that Obed-edom then became a gatekeeper. [1 Chronicles 15:18-19]  Why? “Because God had blessed his house, and so he wanted to bless God’s house.” We are told that the success of our house and God’s house is intertwined, and that if you are a blessing to God’s house, Gods will bless your house. If you’re not blessing God’s house, God won’t bless your house.  After this little episode Obed-edom, not content to be a gatekeeper, becomes a lyre or harp  player and joins a music ministry. [1 Chronicles 15:21]

Pastor King tells us that “It is not your ability that impresses God, it is your availability. It’s not your aptitude, it’s your attitude. God is not impressed with your IQ, he is impressed with your ‘I will’. God is looking for people who are willing to be used.” In any case, Obed-edom is not just a musician, but in 1 Chronicles 15:24 we see him also becoming a doorkeeper at the ark. Following the trajectory, we see  Gatekeeper, Musician, and then Doorkeeper for the ark. Obed-edom was getting closer and closer to the presence of God, presumably because he was addicted to it, and this is what God wants to do for you, because  “God’s presence is the greatest commodity in the universe.” [what does that even mean? perhaps he means a commodity to buy and sell? cough]

Following his stint as doorkeeper, Obed-edom then becomes a minister in the house of God . We are told that “Every Christian is called to be a minister. If God has done a miracle for you, then that qualifies you.” and that “Ministry is simply telling people ‘this is what God did for me, and this is what he can do for you.’” In any case, after Obed-edom had been a minister for a while, he then became a leader in the house of God, as related in 1 Chronicles 16:38, where he had 68 associates working for him.

Pastor King says “Jesus said “I did not come to be serve, but to serve. Jesus said the greatest in the kingdom is the servant of all. Jesus said if you’re faithful in the small things, I’ll put you in charge of many things.” He recounts the parable of the talents, and how God rewards the faithful servants, and that if you are faithful, God will promote you like Obed-edom was promoted.

But the story doesn’t end there. We see in 1 Chronicles 26:4-8 that all Obed-edom’s children and grandchildren are serving with him in the house of God, and that whereas Obed-edom has a bad history and past, all his kids had names that were good and had good meaning, and that Obed-edom had reversed the curse and found his destiny. This is because when you are faithful to serve God, you are a building a family legacy. Lastly, the story ends in 2 Chronicles 25:24, where we see Obed-edom becoming the keeper of the temple treasury, and is placed in charge of the resources of the entire kingdom.

Pastor King says “I believe that this is the last stage of spiritual promotion, when God releases unprecedented wealth into your hands. As you’re faithful to serve God, you’re faithful to pay your tithes, to give offerings, to be involved in what God is doing in the church. As you’re faithful to serve God, as God sees that you’re faithful he’ll begin to promote you. I believe the day will come that God will put you in charge of tremendous resources.”

He then tells a story of mosques popping up all over Ethiopia which are funded by Saudi princes, and he says that “God’s antidote for oil money from Saudi Arabia, is oil money from Fort McMurray”. He ends the sermon by talking about finances and souls, and how his goal is to lead 1,000,000 souls to Christ per year, and that he has already led a million people to Jesus in a salvation prayer, and that he has seen thousands of miracles performed. He says though that he needs a million dollars a year to reach a million souls per year. and that “now I have a word from God for this church…your story is not finished yet.” And talks about how we can do more for God and be used by God and so forth…… “God’s blessing begins when we make Jesus the lord of our life” It’s on that note that he leads an altar call, rife with evangelical lingo and the distinct impression that if you “ask Jesus into your heart” you can get the blessings.

REFLECTIONS

I hated this sermon. In fact, barring the weekly output from the  apostate Tabernacle of Praise Church, this has been the worst sermon I have ever reviewed. It is rife with historical inconsistencies, biblical absurdities, and boils down to little more than the false gospel known as the prosperity gospel, packaged with an obscure story with obscure and illegitimate ties to the new testament and the new covenant in order to fool unsuspecting people into believing that this is relevant to their lives.

To start this off, what does it mean to be in the presence of God? We as Christians believe that when we are born again the Holy Spirit comes and dwells inside of us and because of  Him we now have a relationship with the Father through Christ. We believe the Athanasian creed, which says that God is present by His essence everywhere and in all things by reason of His immensity. In a very real way, as believers, the presence of God is inside of us and we have it all the time, in every moment of our lives. And yet pastor King speaks of the prescence of God as a commodity, and that we must do certain things in order to grow closer to it, or to experience more of it, or to be privy to in in greater amounts. I suspect this is because he fails to understand that there is a vast difference between the relationship of Yahweh towards the ark of the covenant for the Jews, and the Holy Spirit in us as believers, and when that distinction is blurred trouble abounds. Obed-edom interacting with the ark by having it in his househould, as a man under the old covenant, is not the same as a man under the new covenant interacting with the Holy Spirit after he has been saved and indwelled.

There is a reason why this line is blurred and spoken about as if it is applicable for us today. In fact, we quickly see in the early onset of the sermon that this is a message in the prosperity-gospel vein. He makes it clear several ways, by advancing the heretical idea that if we invite the presence of God into our house [again, what does this mean?] our whole lives will be blessed and every aspect of our life will be blessed and we’ll eventually get rich and will dwell in abundance. He say “”God blessed his house and everything he had. Everything that Obed-edom had was blessed. His animals were blessed, his crops were blessed, his family was blessed, his marriage was blessed, his children were blessed, his business was blessed . God blessed his household and everything he had. And this is what God wants to do for you. When you invite God’s presence to come dwell in your house, you can expect the blessing of God to rest upon your house. God wants us to be blessed in every area of our life, and it all begins when you discover the presence of God.andI believe that this is the last stage of spiritual promotion, when God releases unprecedented wealth into your hands. As you’re faithful to serve God, you’re faithful to pay your tithes, to give offerings, to be involved in what God is doing in the church. As you’re faithful to serve God, as God sees that you’re faithful he’ll begin to promote you. I believe the day will come that God will put you in charge of tremendous resources.” [Read; Cash Money]

Right. Tell that to the Aspotles, of whom almost all were persecuted and martyred for their faith. Tell that to Paul, who says in 2 Corinthians 11;23-29 “Are they servants of Christ?  I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.  Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.  And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?” Honesty, why don’t you just systematically abuse the Abrahamic covenant while you’re at it? Tell it to the tens of millions of faithful saints who live in crushing poverty in third world countries. Tell it to the saints whose businesses fail, who lose their homes and have to live on the street. Tell it to the faithful whose children die in their youth, or whose spouses contract incurable diseases and perish. Tell it to the hundreds of millions of people over the centuries who by virtue of the pain and suffering and poverty they’ve experienced in their lives puts the lie to that claim and shows it to be the damnable heresy that it really is!

If I had been a pastor at the MGA, I would have shut it down then and there. I honestly would have. I would have walked up to the pulpit, and asked for the microphone, and would have said “I’m sorry, but we don’t preach and teach that here, and because we love our flock, we cannot allow you speak these words, nor can we allow you to continue.” You don’t have to publicly ridicule the man, but once he left the stage you’d better believe that whoever had intervened should have been fired up and ready to preach for all he was worth, to set the record straight and to preach Christ and him crucified and glorified and supreme and sovereign and more than sufficient in our poverty and pain and destitution.

But the man continued, so I continue. As far as the three reasons, all are ridiculous. First of all, just because your last name is King, that doesn’t mean you would have been a king in the Bible. Your name does not automatically and magically dictate what your profession and social status and  will be like. Second of all, Obed-edom does not mean slave. Instead, the name is better understood to mean “servant of Edom”, or “servant of God”, or “follower”, or “servant of the red one.” And so his little scenario where people greet him and disparage him by saying “Hey slave. How’s it going slave?” is fanciful and the product of a bad imagination. As well, the fact that he was an Edomite did not automatically peg him as an enemy of Isreal. Edom had become a vassal of Israel under the reign of Saul, [after the defeat at the valley of the salt] and at some point David placed over the Edomites Israelite governors and prefects, and this form of government continued for a while. That is to say that  they had certain obligations with Israel which included  military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain guarantees and monies, which would have put them at peace. And third, being a Gittite [from Gath] would not make him his enemy, simply because he came from the same town as Goliath. That’s just foolishness. In fact, we see in 2 Samuel 15 that 600 Gittites, led by Ittai, protected David and acted as his bodyguards when he was fleeing from Absolom. And so no, being from Gath did not make you an automatic enemy, but in fact there were some Philistines who were loyal to David. That’s one perspective. Being a Gittite might also have meant that he was a native of Gath Rimmon in Dan and would have been a Levite of the family of the Korhites, which means he would have been qualified to take care of the ark in the first place, and it would have been good and right for it to have stayed with him.

Pastor king says that It doesn’t matter what sort of background, education, or  family history you have, because when God is going to come live in your house, you are going to be blessed. Again I ask, what does it mean when we say that God is going to live in your house? There is no ark in our house, and the spirit of God already resides in us, as we are justified and sanctified. I agree that the power of Christ makes new creations out of every man, regardless of past history, but the exact nature of that blessing is suspect, because we as followers of Christ are promised to be persecuted for his name-sake. We are not promised to be partakers of a blessing that will revolutionize and prosper every area of our lives. It is so deceitful to try to apply the blessings of god bestowed upon one pagan man 3000 years ago and twist it into  some formula which will guarantee us those same blessings. By using the same exegetical and hermeneutical imprecision, we could just as easily say that “We are all like Uzzah, and if we get too close to the presence of God we will die. And so to live a long life, stay away from the presence of God.” Right? there is no difference between those two scenarios.

He then recounts the history of Obed-edom, and this is where he makes several fatal mistakes, on top of the ones he has already made. First he engages in way too much speculation surrounding the motives of Obed-edom for doing what he has done,  and he tries to pass off said speculation as fact. Secondly, he makes the mistake in assuming that every mention of Obed-Edom is referring to the same one. I’ve been poring over the texts, as well as reading all the commentaries I can find, and it seems that the only person who thinks that these are all the same people is Pastor King. In fact, Obed-edom was probably the name or three or four different people; the Edomite Gittite who had taken in the ark, a Levite musician, a Merarite Levite who was the temple porter/gatekeeper, and the temple treasure keeper. Even if most of those are the same people, the last one is not for sure.  Pastor King concludes that Obed-edom near the final leg of his life was promoted to be the custodian treasurer. Funnily enough, the Obed-edom who was the custodian did not live during the reign of King David, but instead lived under the rule of King Joash. He was custodian when Joash had captured Amaziah of Judah, some 170 years after the fact! And so the climax of his book where Obed-edom finally gets rich in his old age is nothing but a sham. As well, when you read verses like this “ David left Asaph and his kinsfolk there before the ark of the covenant of the LORD to minister regularly before the ark as each day required, and also Obededom and his sixty-eight kinsfolk; while Obed-edom son of Jeduthun and Hosah were to be gatekeepers”. 2 Chronicles 16.37-38 it seems clear that there is more than one Obed-edom involved.

He also makes the comment that “”It is not your ability that impresses God, it is your availability. It’s not your aptitude, it’s your attitude. God is not impressed with your IQ, he is impressed with your ‘I will’.” I don’t get this at all. It lends the impression that God is up there, and he sees that you have a positive attitude and he’s like ” well dang! that guys sure has a positive attitude! I’m totally impressed by his “I will” attitude. What a fantastic surprise! I’m going to bless that guy for sure.” Listen, God is not impressed with anything. God will use whomever he wills, and if you are not game, then he’ll see it that you will be. God out of his great mercy converted Paul, who most certainly did not have the right attitude and the ‘I will’ mentality. God’s not a CEO looking for the worker with the most cheery disposition to promote, but rather in his sovereignty does what he wills. If anything he’s looking for a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and he loves faithfulness and the humbleness. There is no recipe or sure-fire way to ensure that that we will be being used by God. And I ask; where in the bible does it say that God is impressed with your availability, attitude, and ‘i will’?

In 1 Chronicles 16:38, he says that Obed-edom had had 68 associates working for him. This is a poor translation and should better be understood not as associates or employees, but as relatives or kinfolk who were working with him, and not under him. As I said earlier too, he talks about how the last stage in spiritual promotion is being put in control over massive wealth, when in fact the Obed-edom who took the ark in was not the one who was in charge of the treasury 150 years later, but another man.

I’m going to cut this short, but those are only a few things wrong with this sermon. The crux of the message is that the more you get God, the more blessed you’ll be, the better life you’ll have, everything you touch will turn to gold and in the end you’ll be rolling in the  lucre. At one point in the sermon he attacks seminaries, calling them cemeteries, and I think I can understand why; because usually going to a seminary gives you at least some degree of discernment, which then in turn can be used to root out all the lies and falsehoods in this sermon.I find it ironic that he is speaking of the financial blessings that God’s going to give the blessed, when on his blog numerous times he is asking for money. It’s all about seed faith, and that if only you’ll give them 1000 dollars, or 500 dollars, or 100 dollars…. Even the last 5 minutes was a money grab. You would think if he was blessed by God that God would provide, and that he would be a recipient of his own beliefs, when he says that “I believe that this is the last stage of spiritual promotion, when God releases unprecedented wealth into your hands.” How does he plan to unlock wealth beyond his wildest dreams for others if he can’t even do it for himself? Right? I’m not denying that he isn’t doing some good with his ministry, but you don’t build a temple to yourself on the back of the flock you’ve fleeced, and on the crumbling mortar that is the theologically bankrupt prosperity gospel.

I was reading his publicity package that he releases through his Daniel King Ministries, and I found these two quotes which were used by him to promote his book. [I already posted one of them] “At the beginning of his life, Obed-Edom was disadvantaged. He was extremely poor, disenfranchised and known as a slave, but then he got hooked up to God’s economic stimulus package and by the end of his life, he had wealth beyond his wildest dreams,” [where does it say in the Bible that he was extremely poor and disenfranchised? Also, was he wealthy, or did he guard the wealth? Third....ugh. ]

You know…. Daniel King is probably sincere, but he’s also tragically misguided. I’m not here to rip the man apart,  but rather to be a Berean and examine the sermon and the scriptures and the theology of it to see if it accords with sound biblical doctrine. It doesn’t. I have not read the book, but I have read his entire blog, as well as watched as many as his youtube videos I could find, and I think I have a good angle on him. I have not met him, though I imagine he’s a really nice guy. He recently became a new father of a son named Caleb, and the joy and exuberance he has been expressing as I read through his blog and facebook is contagious. Because this man has a soul and feelings I want to be gracious towards him, and not belittle him or dismiss him. The man may be good, but his message is toxic. I have not said anything here that I would not say to his face, and in fact I would love to sit down with him and talk about life and God and biblical hermeneutics. Because for as nice and genuine and caring as a man he may be,  it does not change the fact that his sermon  is poisonous, and for that reason I must take a stand against it and publicly oppose it.

I have contacted both the head Pastor of the MGA as well as Daniel King himself about 3 days ago and so far have not heard back from either regarding this post. I know they are probably busy, and so I’m not faulting them for not responding yet, but I’m hoping to update this post with their thoughts on the matter.  I would have hoped that the MGA would have vetted this man more thoroughly, and that even if they missed what I have discovered,  that after that terrible sermon they would have publicly  repudiated his false gospel and his tragic misuse of God’s word. I don’t want to be the guy who’s always criticizing, or presuming to tell a church and their leadership what they ought to do, and I don’t think I am. But I firmly believe that the onus is on the MGA, a church which has been known to preach the true gospel, to set the record straight regarding what was preached, and it is my prayer that they would so, so that Christ’s name would not be profaned, but instead could be glorified. If they have already done so, and I don’t know about it, and then may God bless them for it. If not, then please, church, humbly do so.