When God gave the law to Moses, God instructed him on
how to build a tabernacle. Throughout Israel’s history,
from Mount Sinai to the reign of David, the tabernacle had functioned
flawlessly. God remained with the chosen people as the
ark sat sheltered in the tabernacle; when the people moved from
one location to another, the tabernacle holding the ark went with
them. God ultimately gave them victory over their enemies and
possession of the promised land.
When David becomes king, he builds himself a beautiful
palace. Admiring his good work and fortune, he notices the ark
and decides that he will build an appropriate house for God.
But through his counselor and prophet, Nathan, God informs
David that it is God who will build a house for David, not the
other way around.
God promises David an everlasting throne, continued rest
from his enemies, a good name, and a house that will last
forever. The descendants of David—his “house”—will enjoy a
unique and privileged relationship with God, often described
as a father-child relationship.
Yet, as is often the case with biblical revelation, the human
actors think and behave one way, while God reveals another
possibility. God’s intended outcomes are vastly more expansive
than the ones humans can conceive as they strive to place their
own mark on history. How do we align our aspirations with
God’s? How are we to make sense of our relative place in the
created order? And how shall we interpret good fortune or bad
from the perspective of God’s good care for us?
As the biblical story unfolds, David’s own story finds an
astonishing climax with the birth of a boy in a stable centuries
later, “of the house and lineage of David.” Imagine!
Holy One, break open our hearts and minds to the astonishing outcome you intend! Amen.
Second Samuel 7 extols Yahweh’s choice of the family of David as the extraordinary vehicle for divine salvation. God now plans to do a new and unparalleled thing in the life of humankind. Mary’s song of wonder from Luke 1 serves as the psalm selection. It centers on her realization that human life will now never be the same. In the epistle reading, Paul rejoices that by the power of God the times are what they are. In the Gospel text, Gabriel announces to Mary that she will bear the “Son of God.” Overwhelmed by both the holiness and the enormity of the moment, Mary nonetheless consents to the will of God as brought by God’s messenger.
• Read 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16. Respond to the author’s question, “How shall we interpret good fortune or bad from the perspective of God’s good care for us?”
• Read Luke 1:47-55. How do you learn to embrace the mystery of holy time in the commonplace events of your day?
• Read Romans 16:25-27. How has God’s love shown through Jesus Christ proved to be an antidote to your fears?
• Read Luke 1:26-38. Where do you see the “lowly lifted up and the hungry filled with good things”? How can you participate in that gracious work of God? What fears can you name before God?
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