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STUDY NOTES
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01

Introduction: The power of spending time in God’s Word this year

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MAIN IDEA

Prioritize spending time in God’s Word and experience joy, health, and God’s very present help in times of need.

key scriptures

Jer. 15:16, Prov. 4:22, 2 Cor. 6:2, Ps. 46:1, John 11:21–25

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • Every time we feed on God's Word, we get to experience great joy (Jer. 15:16) and receive life and healing to all our flesh (Prov. 4:22).
  • This is the Year of Rest and Acceleration! The way God wants us to experience this special theme for the year is by living one day at a time, being present, and living in the now for now is the time of God’s favor (2 Cor. 6:2).
  • God is not the God of the future or past, but He is our very present help in time of need (Ps. 46:1). When Lazarus died, Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). She was implying that Jesus was too late. However, Jesus said to her, “I AM the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), and raised Lazarus from the dead. As we live out every moment of this year, remember that Jesus is always with us in the present and ready to help.
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02

Afraid of growing old? Here’s God’s promise to you

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MAIN IDEA

Claim God's promise in His Word that you will get stronger and healthier with each passing day.

key scriptures

Deut. 33:25, 2 Cor. 1:20, Luke 18:27, Rev. 3:14

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • For those concerned about growing older, here is a promise from God that was prophesied over the tribe of Asher: “as thy days, so shall thy strength be” (Deut. 33:25 KJV). You can claim this same promise because all the promises of God are yes and amen (2 Cor. 1:20).
  • God’s Word promises us that we shall experience the opposite—as our days progress, we shall have increased strength. What is impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18:27).
  • We see a renewal of youth in the life of Caleb who at the age of eighty-five, declared that he was physically strong and ready to claim the land that God had promised the Israelites (Josh. 14:11). He believed what God had promised and he saw the promise come to pass.
  • Lessons from the lives of Zacharias (Luke 1:20) versus Mary (Luke 1:38): whatever you say “amen” to will happen because you are proclaiming, “so shall it be” in your life. God’s promises are all yours to believe and receive!
  • Lessons from the life of Abraham (Gen. 15:6): by saying “amen,” we express our faith and possess God’s promises.
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03

The best advice for successful marriage and parenting

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MAIN IDEA

The secret to having a successful marriage and parenting your children well is placing Jesus at the center of these relationships.

key scriptures

Ps. 132:14, 78:68, Eph. 5:25, 22

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • God calls Mount Zion His resting place (Ps. 132:14), and spoke of His love for that place (Ps. 78:68). David had a desire to bring the ark, a picture of Jesus Christ, from a place where it was neglected and dishonored to the centrality of the heart of Israel—Mount Zion, the place of grace.
  • David’s desire to bring the ark to Mount Zion is a message to the church today: bring Jesus back to the center of our lives (e.g. our marriage, parenting, career, ministry, etc.). When Jesus is in the center of your life, everything works out for your good.
  • Wisdom for marriage: It’s not about husbands loving their wives with their own strength, but loving their wives “as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25). And wives are called by God to submit themselves to their husbands “as unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). If there is strife or a breakdown in your marriage, God doesn’t want you to recover your marriage by trying to be nice or loving, for your human effort is limited and only produces the opposite results you desire. Focus on Jesus—that’s when restoration begins. When you realize how much Jesus loves you and are freshly filled with His love, your spouse will be the beneficiary.
  • Wisdom for parenting: When it comes to putting Jesus at the center of our parenting, we do this by putting our faith in the Lord instead of trying to change our children with the law. This doesn’t mean we should not discipline them or guide them along the right path. It just means that instead of using words of demand on them, we can correct our children with words that bring supply. Instead of saying, “You should do this . . . you should do that . . .” which brings stress and pressure, say things like, “I believe you will do well for this exam. I believe you will have a heart to study. I believe you will glorify Jesus in your studies. I believe you will know the right time to study and the right time to play games.” As you supply them with grace-filled, Jesus-centered words, believe that God will transform your children and cause them to want to do the right thing.
  • This year, God wants to repair any broken area in your life, and the first area He wants to repair is your family.
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04

Don’t settle for the world’s ways; His ways are better!

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MAIN IDEA

It is by God’s ways of grace, not by our effort, that we receive breakthroughs and win in life.

key scriptures

1 Sam. 6:11–12, 19, 1 Chron. 13:9–11, Rom. 6:14, 3:20, 5:20, 1 Cor. 15:56

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • When David became king, he went to bring the ark from Kirjath Jearim to Mount Zion, which he had desired to do for many years. While he had the right motive, he went about transporting the ark using the ways of the Philistines (a picture of the world). While God had ordained that the ark be carried on the shoulders of the priests, David put the ark on an oxen cart, which is what the Philistines did when they sent the ark back to Israel after they had stolen it in one of the battles against Israel.
  • Two times in this story that God’s people did not follow His ways:
  • (1) When the men of Beth Shemesh (an Israelite city) received the ark from the Philistines, they opened the ark and looked in at the law and the other symbols of man’s rebellion. This is something they were never supposed to do. No man can look at the law and remain alive. As a result, they were struck dead (1 Sam. 6:19). God had ordained for the law to be put under the mercy seat inside the ark and for the blood of the animal sacrifice to be applied on the mercy seat, covering the symbols of man’s sin underneath it. Many believers today are committing the sin of Beth Shemesh by trying to justify themselves by the law. When you try to justify yourself by the law (e.g. you believe you will be blessed by God based on how well you keep the law), you have fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4). God’s way is for us to depend on His grace, not our effort.
  • (2) After this incident at Beth Shemesh, David used the method of the Philistines to transport the ark. He put the ark on an oxen cart, and as a result, the oxen stumbled, and one of David’s men named Uzza reached out his hand to steady the ark and was struck dead (1 Chron. 13:9–10). The name “Uzza” means “man’s strength.” When Uzza (“man’s strength”) stretched his hand out to steady the ark, he died. This is a picture of how when we follow the ways of the world and trust in our own strength, the result is death. Instead of depending on your own strength, follow God’s ways that He explains in His Word. When we follow after God’s ways, we will see His blessings and favor follow after us.
  • It is by God’s ways of grace, not by our effort, that we receive breakthroughs and win in life. An example of how we trust in our own strength is by trying to keep the law to earn God’s blessings, to achieve our breakthroughs, or to overcome sinful habits. The Bible tells us that sin shall not have dominion over us because we are not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14). God’s way is for us to trust His grace, not our own effort, strength, or willpower.
  • The more the law is preached, the worse sin gets because by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20). The more we try to keep the law, the more our sinful nature is aroused. Even those who look like they are keeping the law definitely have private struggles in their lives.
  • The effect of God’s grace is amazing. When you keep being conscious that by God’s unmerited, unearned, and undeserved favor, Jesus Christ took your place and died for your sins on the cross, and you have taken His place as the righteousness of God in Christ, you will start to see bad habits drop off. Sin will not have dominion over you. When you believe that by grace, you have this righteous identity in Christ, you will start walking in practical holiness. You will also develop a closer relationship with God because you know there is nothing separating you from Him. And the desire to change for years will suddenly become so easy through His grace.
  • Sin doesn’t stop revival from happening, rather, revival happens in the midst of sin (Rom. 5:20). Revival is only stopped when man’s effort comes in, when man tries to control the move of God with their own ways, bringing in their own laws. Notice that everywhere Jesus went, sinners who touched Jesus were miraculously healed. But the Pharisees, who reckoned themselves righteous through the law and their own works, could not receive those miracles even though Jesus’ power was there for them too.
  • It’s our “Uzza”—our self-effort—that stops us from receiving all that God has for us, not our sins. When you activate your strength, the result is sin. 
  • The law was given to show us that the law is holy, but it cannot make you holy. The law is righteous, but it cannot make you righteous. It was designed to reveal your sin. That’s why the strength of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56).
  • In Acts 15, during the time of the early church when the first Gentiles were saved, the Jewish believers gathered to discuss whether they needed to keep the law of Moses now that they were saved. Peter and James agreed that the Gentiles should not be made to keep the law, for it is in line with what God said through the prophet Amos in Amos 9.
  • Gentile believers (non-Jewish believers) are a fulfillment of Amos 9:11. The Tabernacle of David being rebuilt has got to do with us. God promises to repair all the ruins and broken areas.
  • Perez Uzza” (1 Chron. 13:11) refers to the point where something was broken because something destructive (man’s strength) came in and brought death. This year, the Lord promises to repair all the “perez” (breaches) in your life. And the first area in your life where you may have breaches (broken parts) in that He wants to restore is your family.
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05

Don’t miss God’s blessing for you because of fear

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MAIN IDEA

When things go wrong, don’t be afraid to ask the Lord about what went wrong and how to correct your mistakes. He will show you how to position yourself to receive His blessings.

key scriptures

Rom. 8:15, Prov. 10:27, Matt. 4:10

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • When Uzza died while transporting the ark, David didn’t ask God what went wrong. Instead of seeking the Lord and humbling himself to ask God where he missed the mark, David had a servile (slavish) fear of God. This type of fear brings bondage, and it is not the “fear of God” that God wants us to have. We are sons and daughters who have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but have received the Spirit of sonship through Jesus (Rom. 8:15).
  • True fear of the Lord is having a desire to please someone whom we know loves us. It is similar to the feeling a child has toward his loving parents. We are not like slaves who don’t want to displease their master in fear of being punished. But we are children who are deeply loved by our Father, and that is why we want to please Him. The fear of the Lord prolongs our days (Prov. 10:27). Jesus defined the fear of the Lord in Deuteronomy 6:13 as worship (Matt. 4:10).
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06

The secret to Obed-Edom’s family blessings

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MAIN IDEA

Your entire household will be blessed when you value the person of Jesus and His shed blood that has removed all your sins.

key scriptures

1 Chron. 13:14, 2 Sam. 6:11–12, Heb. 10:10, 9:22, Rom. 5:9, Heb. 13:12, 10:22

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • Instead of seeking the Lord about what caused Uzza’s death, David became fearful and temporarily put the ark in Obed-Edom’s house, which was likely nearby.
  • When the ark was in Obed-Edom’s house, the Lord blessed all that Obed-Edom had (1 Chron. 13:14), and it was so evident that everyone around him saw the Lord’s blessings on his household (2 Sam. 6:11). From here we can see that the first area of restoration that happened after the first breach (the death of Uzza) is in the area of family life.
  • The first thing that God wants to do is to bless your household. The whole time David was afraid of God, Obed-Edom was being greatly blessed.
  • God wants to be good to us. We receive His blessings when we believe in His mercy, goodness, and love for us. While God is holy, His holiness calls for us to realize we cannot meet His standard of holiness, but we can depend on His grace to deliver us, save us, and supply everything we need!
  • According to Josephus, a Jewish historian, Obed-Edom was a poor man when he first brought the ark into his house. But the Lord began to prosper and enlarge him and his territories and bless him with every blessing (1 Chron. 13:14, 2 Sam. 6:11). Josephus also mentioned that Obed-Edom was so blessed that his neighbors envied him. The ark of God was the secret of Obed-Edom’s blessings (2 Sam. 6:12).
  • The meaning of Obed-Edom’s name:
  • (1) “Obed” means “servant.”
  • (2) “Edom” means “red.”
  • (3) “Edom” comes from the root word “dam,” which means “blood” (that’s why the name “Adam” means “red-blooded man”). So we can read Obed-Edom’s name to mean “servant of the blood.”
  • Obed-Edom was a man who understood the importance of the blood on the mercy seat. It is likely that while the ark was in his house, he gave burnt offerings to the Lord, and the Lord blessed Obed-Edom so that he could give more burnt offerings unto Him.
  • Learn to value the blood of Jesus because it is the reason we can receive every good thing. In ancient Israel, every year on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would sprinkle blood from the animal sacrifice on the mercy seat. Because of the blood on the mercy seat, all of Israel could expect blessings on their households and victory over their enemies to go on for another year. This is because the innocent blood on the mercy seat covered their sins. God saw the blood and not their sins. However, back then, the people had to offer sacrifices to renew their sanctification yearly. Today, because Jesus is the perfect offering, we have been sanctified through His sacrifice once and for all (Heb. 10:10)!
  • Without Jesus’ shed blood, there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22). We are justified and sanctified by His blood alone (Rom. 5:9, Heb. 13:12). It’s because of His blood that we are brought near to God (Heb. 10:22).
  • When Jesus took the cup of the Communion and said to His disciples, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Cor. 11:25–26), He was showing us the importance of valuing His blood. A practical way we value Jesus’ blood is by partaking of the Lord’s supper.
  • It’s not any of our good works, good character, or good family names that save or protect us. It’s Jesus' blood alone that justifies, heals, protects, and sanctifies us. The more you esteem His blood, the more faith you’ll have in the Lord.
  • As a “servant of the blood,” Obed-Edom likely offered the blood of the sacrifice, and that’s why he stood in the place of a righteous man. God saw Obed-Edom in the righteousness of His Son. God blessed Obed-Edom just like how He would treat Jesus, His beloved Son. Today, we are in Christ Jesus, and we have His righteousness. Jesus has already taken our place at the cross. All the bad we deserved, He took at the cross, and all the good He deserves, we get to enjoy today.
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07

God can use your family as a testimony of His goodness

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MAIN IDEA

Because of the blood of Jesus, you can trust God to bless your children such that they grow up strong, capable, successful, well provided for, and with moral excellence.

key scriptures

2 Sam. 6:13, 1 Chron. 13:13, Amos 9:12, 1 Chron. 16:38, 26:4–8

KEY TAKEAWAYS
FOLLOW PASTOR PRINCE AS HE EXPOUNDS ON THESE POINTS
  • The difference between life and death, the difference between blessings and curses, is the blood of Jesus that He shed to remove our sins. After David took the ark from Obed-Edom’s house, he also began to practice valuing the blood that covers sin. For the first time in the journey of bringing the ark to Jerusalem, David sacrificed oxen and sheep. Every six paces, he offered burnt offerings unto the Lord (2 Sam. 6:13). David knew the importance of the blood sacrifice since he was young (Lev. 17:11), but he likely only realized what was missing after learning from Obed-Edom. Sometimes, God uses the blessings on someone else to lead those who are backslidden back to him. May your family life be such a testimony that leads others back to the Lord and His grace.
  • Obed-Edom was a Gittite (1 Chron. 13:13), and “Gittite” means “belonging to the city of Gath.” Gath was one of the Philistine cities (where Goliath was from). This means that Obed-Edom was a Philistine from Gath. Obed-Edom being a Gittite (Gentile, non-Jew) fulfills Amos’ prophecy, where the rebuilding of the Tabernacle of David will cause the Gentiles to come in (Amos 9:12). While Obed-Edom was probably not aware of God’s laws, he valued the ark and knew the importance of the shed blood, which was passed down from generation to generation from the time of the garden of Eden (it was God Himself who first shed the blood of an innocent animal to cover the sins of Adam and Eve). Obed-Edom is a picture of believers who are conscious of Jesus’ finished work and shed blood.
  • Before we see God’s blessings in our lives, we need to have an appreciation of what Jesus’ blood has done for us. Obed-Edom was not sin-conscious but Jesus-conscious. He knew that the blood would take care of any sin he had. Because he trusted in the blood, the blessings of God came upon him and his family. Ultimately, Obed-Edom decided to follow the ark and eventually became the doorkeeper of the Tabernacle of David (1 Chron. 16:38).
  • Also, because Obed-Edom valued the ark (a picture of the person of Jesus), God blessed him with many sons that were of men of great ability (1 Chron. 26:4–6) and able men with strength for the work (1 Chron. 26:8). When you are Jesus-conscious, your children will grow up blessed.
  • “The sons of Shemaiah were . . . able (‘chayil’) men.” — 1 Chronicles 26:7 NKJV
  • The Hebrew word for “able” is “chayil,” which means “virtuous” and is the same Hebrew word used in Proverbs 31 to describe a virtuous woman (Prov. 31:10). Not only that, but “chayil” is also translated as “wealth,” as seen in Deuteronomy 8:18. So not only will you and your children have moral strength, but you will also have wealth! We are not meant to love money, chase after it, and be ruled by it. But when we chase after Jesus, money will chase after us and we will be able to be a blessing to others.
  • This year, may these family blessings manifest so evidently in your family’s lives that people will talk about it. People talking about God’s blessings in your life is another way of spreading the good news so that others will be drawn to the God you serve.

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