Monday, October 17, 2016

Looking Forward to October 23, 2016 -- David is Promised a House

The Scripture Reading this week is 2 Samuel 7:1-17

The Sermon title is David’s Heir?

Early Thoughts: The civil war is over. Israel has an undisputed new king. Now what?

David's first thought, it appears, is to build a Temple, a dwelling place for God.  Sounds logical, and in fact the court prophet Nathan is in agreement.

Turns out God is of another opinion. "I don't need a house" says God (at least for now -- a few verses later God mentions that David's son will build God a house). Instead God talks about how God has been with David and about what will happen.

The people will be given a place to live in safety (though it later seems that this promise only lasts for a while).

David's name will become great.

And David's house will be established for ever and ever (amen?).

From David will come Solomon. And then after Solomon the kingdom will break apart but the line of David will remain on the throne in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Then in a later era the promise will be remembered again. And as the people wait and hope for a Messiah, for one who will restore Israel to what it once was it will become an assumption that the Promised One will be from the line of David. As Isaiah will say "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots" (Isaiah 11:1).

And in a few short weeks we will hear again the angels say "For unto you is born this day in the City of David..."

All because David is favoured by God. All because God's grace lies on this one-time shepherd boy. Not because David is some paragon of virtue. Not because David's son will be some wonder of virtue. Neither of them are. Because God chooses to act through David and his house.

2 months from now we will again celebrate the birth of the heir of David. After centuries where it sometimes seemed that the line of David had been reduced to nothingness, where the promises of God seemed distant, where the nation was enslaved and almost destroyed the heir will arrive again.

And a new start will come.

Part of teh Christian story is that Christ will come again. Part of the Christian story is that the Kingdom will be established "on earth as it is in heaven".  David never created the Kingdom of God. Solomon never created the Kingdom of God. (It can be argued that David and Solomon, rather than creating God's Kingdom, created the circumstances under which the Kingdom of Israel would be broken apart). But David's heir, what does he create? What does he announce?

We continue to await the final work of the heir of David. And as we wait we remember:
The old that is strong does not wither
Deep roots are not reached by the frost
From the ashes a fire shall be woken
A light from the shadows shall spring...
The crownless again shall be king.
(Lines from the poem Bilbo Baggins wrote about Aragorn son of Arathorn, Isildur's Heir in The Lord of the Rings)

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