Dispatch Two Hundred Five

Posted: July 29, 2016 in Forty-Third Bundle
Tags: , , , , ,

2 SAMUEL 7:1-14a

 Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live 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 and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” 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 to 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. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers 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. Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.

The God of the Bible is a God more of time than of space, which has meant that the preferred means of contemplating the divine is the word rather than the image. Words are composed into stories, and stories tell us of events that happened and will happen, catching our present experience up into the rolling wave of destiny.

When David offered to secure God an architectural space where He could dwell among His people, God responded by recounting for David the sacred story of his personal rise to political power on the advancing crest of divine providence. This has, in fact, been the strategy for recovery used by the Jewish people down through history when in the midst of various persecutions or exiles: they’ve told the story of God’s mighty acts of mercy and deliverance, and have found their hope for the future renewed.

When life gets us down, we are sometimes unable to see much of God around us. Our experience is of a divine absence, and there seems no way out. It is precisely then that a personal life review can be most helpful. As we remember the many events along the way of serendipitous grace, unexpected strength, and deliverance from what could have become incredible disasters and personal blunders, our awareness grows of a provident and guiding hand helping us through. We can hope again because we know that, even if at present all seems dark, God is with us even now.

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