Home Bound

“Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in?” (2 Samuel 7:5b NRSV)

There are houses and then there are houses and then there are houses.

David has a beautiful, plush palace made from the great cedars of Lebanon. It contains all the latest conveniences. It stands tall so that wherever you go in Jerusalem, you can see David’s house in David’s city.

He looks out his thermal-pane window and sees the circus-like tent that God lives in. It’s not right. God needs something beautiful: something that honors his magnificence. Besides, that tent is blight on the landscape. It needs to be replaced with a temple more magnificent than David’s palace.

There’s not much doubt that David’s ego was at play in wanting to build the temple for God. But, he has a spiritual connection with God. He wants to honor God and remember all that God has done for him.

Nathan the prophet doesn’t even bother conferring with God. Of course God would love a temple. Perhaps Nathan is excited at the prospect of having a permanent office instead of that damp one in the corner of the tabernacle.

There are houses and then there are houses and then there are houses.

David’s plush cedar home provides him with all the creature comforts. His home is safe and secure. It’s a place where he can lay his head down and rest in comfort. His home is like our homes: a place where we can live and move and have our being.

God wants no part of a “home.” God won’t be boxed in. God won’t be caged in a gold-lined temple. God won’t allow David’s ego to get in the way of God’s plan.

I think of the Prophet Isaiah when he met God in the Temple that was eventually built. He “saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:6b NRSV.) No structure can hold God.

And much later, at the end of Isaiah, we read more. “Thus says the Lord: Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is my resting place?” (Isaiah 66:1 NRSV)

There are houses and then there are houses and then there are houses.

God doesn’t want a house. God doesn’t need a house. God has plans that don’t include a house in them. God will decide when and where a house will be built and who will build it.

As close as David is to God, he’s missing the point. You can’t contain God. You can’t control the Lord. You can’t read God’s mine or assume you know God’s needs.

David had a job to do and being in charge of God wasn’t it. David’s job was to live a life of gratitude for the abundance of blessings in his life. He should have been humbled by the fact that as gifted and talented as he was, he didn’t make king on his own.

David should have been worshiping the most high God. David should have been living in expectation of the next step in God’s plan.

And in fact, when Nathan delivers this message to David, it brings him to his knees and he prays long and hard over all that God has done and will do for him. David was at his best when he was on his knees before God.

And in that prayer he comes to understand his need to live in expectation of God’s plan. God’s plan is to build a different kind of house for David: a house that will last forever; a house that will rule on the throne forever; a house that knows peace along with the nation of Israel.

God was at work all along to bring about great things that would glorify God. David had only to be patient and wait prayerfully.

And, though the Kingdom of Israel fell and David’s lineage was all but lost, we know that God was at work to bring about God’s Kingdom through the Son of David, Jesus the Christ.

And that kingdom work is still occurring today.

We live in a scary age: unrest, war, terrorism, poverty and hate crimes are all on the increase. Some are looking to the end times, believing that things just can’t get much worse. Bring it on, Lord.

As we search for solutions we find ourselves caught up in unhealthy arguments and inappropriate debate. These arguments and debates escalate in intensity and everyone loses.

At such a time as this, perhaps it’s time for us to take a step back and learn from David. Have we forgotten, as David did, that the Lord of heaven and earth is still at work? God is still in the world, working out God’s purpose. Jesus is still the Way, even when that way points away from solutions we hold on to with a death grip.

While the serious issues of our world overtake us, it’s good to remember that God is still present, the hem of his robe filling up the sacred spaces. We can live in gratitude for the abundance of blessings we all receive each and every day.

We can live in humility, knowing that we are where we are not only because of our personal, God-given talents and gifts, but that God has walked that journey with us and continues to do so.

We can enter worship here and in the world, praying constantly.

Most of all, at such a time as this, we can live a life filled with expectation that God is at work yesterday, today and forever, always working out God’s purpose on earth as it is in heaven.

All glory and honor be to God.


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