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Posts Tagged "2 Samuel 7:1-11"

Not Your Ways

December 20, 2020
By Rev. Peter Heckert

 

+ Grace to you, and peace, from God our heavenly Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. + Amen.

The text for our mediation on this fourth weekend/Sunday of Advent comes from our Old Testament text, especially where we hear God’s word to David through Nathan, “Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.” Here ends our text; my dear Christian friends …

David had plans. BIG plans. He was pretty pumped about a new passion project he wanted to undertake. He’d exclaimed to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” You can hear him say. “All that God has done for me … giving me rest from my enemies, allowing peace to predominate in this land He promised to give us (and did), blessing me with a luxurious house, made of fine materials … and His ark … is in a tent! It ain’t right! I need to do something about this!” Nathan is sympathetic to David’s thoughts, replying, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”

Well, he may have spoken prematurely. That very night, YHWH Elohim speaks to the prophet, bringing him a word to give to the king: he would not build a house for YHWH Elohim. He says, “Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’”

The plans David had … were no more. Was he disappointed in the moment YHWH’s words escaped Nathan’s lips? Who can say? But that was not the end of the message that the prophet was sent to relay. He continues YHWH’s message: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

David had plans … big plans … but they were not meant to be … because God had different plans. Bigger plans. David had wanted to build a house, a temple for YHWH his God, but instead, God would build for him a house, an everlasting kingdom, through a son yet to come. No, God wasn’t speaking of Solomon, the son of wisdom (and scandal) who would actually build a temple for YHWH Elohim in Jerusalem. It wasn’t Rehoboam, the man of blood, who warred with his northern brethren. It wasn’t even Hezekiah or Josiah, the few kings of Judah who followed after YHWH their God. No, the plans that YHWH had for David’s house started far earlier – mere moments after Adam and Eve’s fall into sin – and would be realized nearly a millennium later.

The house, the kingdom of God’s design didn’t have grandeur and opulence. It didn’t feature pillared columns or gold plating. It wasn’t all that inspiring, nor was it beloved by all who saw it. This house for David … a child born in his city of Bethlehem. He was unassuming enough – no fanfare to welcome this return of the king, only the various sounds of the barnyard. As He grew, it was obvious that He was special, but as a grown man, many despised Him. Many rejected Him. They hated Him enough to set wheels in motion that would lead to His lifeless body hanging upon a cross outside the city walls of royal Jerusalem. He may not have looked extravagant or resplendent as He gasped His final words, “It is finished,” but make no mistake: what we see in the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth is the majesty and divinity of God put on display, as He bleeds and dies to save you and me from the righteous wrath of God on account of our sins. In the death and resurrection of Jesus, the very Son of God, we see plans of God for David come to fruition … and it was infinitely more than David could have ever hoped for. Any temple or house built by David would have paled in comparison, whether it was made of cedars or diamonds.

The prophet Isaiah would relay the Word of YHWH a few centuries after David’s reign, writing, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” No, David didn’t get to build God a temple, a house of worship, and he may have been a little bummed out about that. You wouldn’t know it, though, from his response to Nathan’s relaying of YHWH’s word: “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant's house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! … And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

God’s plans for David were far greater than the king could have ever imagined. Likewise, God’s plans for you are far greater than you could ever imagine. They may not be filled with gold and possessions. They may not be filled with pleasantries and easy-living. They may very well include pain and suffering, woe and want. But make no mistake: His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways, His plans are higher than our plans, because His plans revolve, first and foremost, around the salvation that Jesus won for you. That’s His plan, and it is much higher than anything we could imagine.

+ In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. + Amen.

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