2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
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. 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, 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.
Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.
The Plans We Make VS. God’s Plans by Quinn
I am not a planner. I don’t like deciding what to wear ahead of time. I don’t like setting lunch dates, even informal ones, until the morning-of. I am not the one to have a 5- or 10-year plan. I. Am. Not. A. Planner.
However! Once I HAVE decided on something, I tend to dive in whole-heartedly and with fervor. And if someone tries to slow me down, it upsets me as if I had been planning this activity or project for years. So, I can relate to David in this passage.
In verse one, we see David and the people of Israel in a rare moment of rest and peace. War and wandering have characterized the nation’s past, and so the House of the Lord has always been the Tabernacle – the tent curtains David mentions in verse two. David, in his moment of peace, gets the sudden idea to build the Lord a permanent home – a temple – because why shouldn’t God sleep in a house if he himself, the SERVANT of the Lord, sleeps in a house? He gets the idea, and he whole-heartedly decides to run with it!
That is, until Nathan is called by God to burst David’s bubble.
David is told that this is not the time for a temple. Israel will be led to a land that will be their home, where they will establish their nation, but it is not here and not now. David will NOT be the one to establish the temple. I can feel the let-down David may have experienced. God ruined his “plans!”
However, God still had a promise for David. His name, his lineage, his kingdom will be ever-established! David was called to patience – to wait – in the face of the promises God had made. He had to trust that the Lord would be faithful to the promises made.
David never saw the temple constructed. And he never saw the establishment of his name as a great lineage. ::cough cough::Jesus::cough cough:: But thousands of years later, we have benefitted from the faithfulness of David.
In Advent, we are called to slow down and participate in David’s waiting; to lean into the promise that Jesus will be born and fulfill the establishing of David’s lineage as a great nation.
This Advent, may we find peace and rest, and in that time of calm, may we patiently look forward to the birth of our Lord. And may we celebrate that Jesus is the fulfillment of promises made long ago.