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Journey to Bethlehem Day 22

Sunday, December 20 2 Samuel 7:1-11a

1 Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” 3 And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6 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. 7 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?”’ 8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘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. 9 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. 10 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, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies.

It is always risky to act without consulting God, even if our goals seem consistent with what we know about God’s will. Just ask Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, who reasoned that God needed help moving Abraham’s blessing from Isaac to their son Jacob. All she had to do was to get Jacob to help her deceive her husband, and all would be well. It seemed clear enough to her. As we might say today, the ends justify the means—right?

Now move to King David. We know that giving is one of God’s favorite pastimes; just read v. 8 to the end of our passage to hear God tell us what he gave to David, what he planned to give David, and what he planned to give Israel. So, it seemed reasonable to David that giving God a “house” would be in line with how God would have him act in this broken, rebellious world to show God how much he loved him.

And by not consulting God on this plan David may have sought to preserve a sense of surprise for our omniscient God.

But both David and Nathan learn Rebekah’s lesson in today’s reading: God wanted no part of their plans, and he rather quickly let them know that. The question for David and Nathan, and for Rebekah and Jacob, and for us, is not what will you do to honor God’s will? Rather, it is will we do what God wills us to do?

Christmas Day draws near. Have you thought about giving God a present? If not, perhaps you might ask him what he wants—of you. Then, do it. That is if you really want to give him something he really, really likes.

Lord God you have given us new hearts that desire to do your will in our lives. Speak Lord; your servant is listening. Amen.