A Sermon Delivered by Hulda Rees, Portsmouth, R.I., June 24th, 1893. "God wonderfully blessed His Word this day. All glory to Him."
Rees, Byron J., ed. Hulda, The Pentecostal Prophetess. Philadelphia: Christian Standard Co., 1898, pages 75-79.
This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part Three: The 19th Century.
Here is one of God's pictures, a picture of a home blessed of God. There are many beautiful pictures in the Bible of the lives of men and women of God but here we find an etching of a home.
I had rather have this said of my home than to have all the eulogies this world can give. I had rather have God's blessing upon our home than all that this world can bestow.
The blessing of the Lord maketh rich. God's blessings are not merely good wishes, but the conferring of blessedness and prosperity, so that when God blessed Obed-edom's home there was peace, health, abundance, both outwardly and inwardly. We have a mighty, mighty God, able not only to wish us well, but to "freely give us all things."
This peaceful picture is like a quiet rural scene hung among paintings of war, and bloodshed. It was a time of backsliding in Israel. They had forsaken God, and He had ceased to fight for them, so that their enemies prevailed against them. God is an adversary to our adversaries only when we are faithful to Him. If we forsake Him, He must necessarily forsake us. God had done this in the case of Israel. In one of the battles they had not only been defeated, but the ark, the symbol and sign of God's presence with them, had been captured.
But the enemies of Israel found that, though God's people were not faithful, yet He was far from justifying their enemies. There are people today who think that because God's people are not what they ought to be sometimes, therefore they have license and right to sin; but no, God punishes sin everywhere he finds it, and so heavy was the punishment directed against those who seized the ark, that they were eager to return it. They placed it in a cart and, sent it towards the land of the Hebrews. When God's people received the ark there was great rejoicing, and in the exhilaration and joyous intoxication of the event Uzza put forth his disrespectful and irreverent hand to steady the ark, and was smitten for his presumption. Some have thought that this was a dreadful penalty for so small a crime; but God would teach us that we cannot disobey Him with impunity, and, since the Israelites were out of the line of obedience, they were liable to the bolts of the Almighty's wrath.
In the first place, they were carrying the ark of God in an improper manner. Though they were not responsible for it being placed thus upon a cart, they were to blame for its remaining there. They had had directions from God as to how this token of His presence was to be conveyed. It must rest upon the shoulders of men set apart and sanctified for the duty of carrying it. Uzza was not such a man. Again, not one, not even those whose duty it was to bear the ark, were allowed to touch it, and on one occasion fifty thousand men had perished because they looked into it. Notwithstanding all this, Uzza in his zeal and hot, impatient eagerness, tried to steady the ark.
Beloved, these things are written for our instruction. They teach us that we cannot touch forbidden things without incurring God's displeasure. We cannot put limitations upon the Holy Ghost; we cannot hinder or put our hands on God's work without suffering an awful penalty. There are many in our churches who have put out their unsanctified hands and undertaken to stop God's work or control the manner of the manifestation of God's Spirit, and have consequently died spiritually as truly as Uzza died physically. They are dead, with dead prayers, dead testimonies, lifeless sermons, corpselike songs. God have mercy on them!
The ark, like the gospel, was life unto life or death unto death. At this juncture, when even David was afraid to have anything to do with the dangerous ark, one man, Obed-edom, gladly received it into his home and gave it honor among his family. Thank God for the Obed-edoms of all ages who have opened their doors to God's truth and His persecuted messengers, those who have dared in the face of persecution and the risks of imprisonment and the rigors of ecclesiasticism to honor God's servants and God's cause! God is not unfaithful to forget their labor of love.
And when God saw this beautiful trait in this man, and saw that the ark was set up in his home, He sent His blessing, so that he, his family, and all that pertained to him, were blessed of God.
This was a family blessing. It was something that came to the entire home. Husbands, wives, parents, children, servants, all shared in the blessing of God.
And God makes us responsible for the piety of the household. Abraham commanded his household after him. The priest was not only to make a sacrifice for himself, but for his family. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
Husbands, obey your wives. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands. Children, obey your parents. Servants, obey your masters. A model home is one in which the precepts of God's Word are all fulfilled and obeyed. Then there is peace among all. Children do not then learn to quarrel from the example of the parents. Servants find that their masters are praying for them. Fathers do not provoke their children to anger. The entire family belongs to God, and everyone endeavors to help the other in his or her spiritual life.
The result: "No plague shall come nigh thy dwelling." "The children of the just are blessed after him" (Isaiah lxiv: 3). "I will pour out My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thy offspring."
When Boaz comes out to the field, instead of there being trouble and unpleasantness between master and servant, the former says to the reapers, "The Lord be with you," and they answer back, "The Lord bless thee."
A blessed home is a quiet home. "Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a
stalled ox with strife."
In such a home family worship is never neglected. The busier the day and the more there is to do the more must God's help besought. "Pour Thy fury upon the families that call not upon Thy name." Such is the doom of the prayerless home, but one in which God and prayer are honored "shall not be afraid of evil tidings."
"Because of the ark of God." All these glorious things came to the family because of God's presence. He is one of the family. He is consulted and His opinion deferred to. His advice clears the tables and bookcases of all impure or immoral reading. Let Him rule, and you will find that everything unholy will fall, like Dagon before the ark.
Oh, Jesus, we give our honors to Thee; we give each other to Thee this day! This hour do Thou take possession and begin Thy work. Surely, if our honors are Thine, we will not pout if we are separated; if our children are Thine, we will not nag and scold them; if we are to love our "wives as Christ also loved the Church," we will not complain and find fault with them; we will be true in word and deed. If we are to submit as wives, we know that it will be the best for us; if we are to reverence our husbands, Thou wilt make them worthy of reverence; if as children we are to obey our parents, we know it is best; if as servants we are to serve men, we know that "all things will work together for good" for us all. May we, O Lord, enter our houses and conduct ourselves in our families we have before, for Jesus' sake! Amen.