Dec. 14: Remembering God’s promises
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This is an exciting time. Waiting in joyful hope, preparing for the coming of Jesus and all the rituals, meals and gatherings that come with it.
I find it easy to become engrossed with activities during the holiday season, trying to ensure that everything is just right. My desire to make the holiday time special and help take the burden of busyness of others begins to take over. If I’m not careful, I become a doing-machine with grandiose ideas working at a pace that is not sustainable.
In this Sripture passage, David wakes up with a brilliant idea – build the ark of God a house of cedar and replace the tent that had served as God’s dwelling for many years.
The desire I have to create the most special holiday for my family and David’s exuberant desire to please God both have something very crucial in common – neither are asked for or expected. Frankly, God has already outdone my efforts and David’s by preparing a place for us on this Earth and at the heavenly banquet.
The desire to go to great extremes to please others, or God, reminds me of a favorite prayer of mine. In this prayer Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk and prolific spiritual writer says, “The fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.”
The challenge I offer us today is rather than make promises to God, let us remember the promises God has made to us.
1 After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” 3 Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.” 4 That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying: 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ‘ 8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. ” ‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you:
16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ ”