FOURTH MONDAY OF ADVENT
SCRIPTURE: 2 SAM 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16
When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
"Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!"
Nathan answered the king,
"Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you."
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
"Go, tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?
"'It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.'"
I often find myself giggling over my similarities to King David- including in today’s reading. In this passage we find David “chillin.” The passage sets it up that God has taken care of David’s enemies and he’s not currently at battle with anyone nor hiding for his life- he’s just hanging out in his big fancy house with his BFF/mentor Nathan.
It’s in this relaxed state that David has the thought that he expresses to Nathan, “Hey, I have this awesome house that I’m sitting in, yet the Ark of the Covenant is in a tent with no real walls. So let’s build a fancy house for the Ark.”
What made David have a desire to do this? An after-thought of “Oh, do I seem selfish in my present circumstance?”, or he may even have had a desire for formality, ya' know, “this seems like the right thing to do”, or it truly could have been a thought that came from a heart posture of worship and adoration. We don’t get to peer into his heart’s intentions.
But before David could pour any building foundation, God speaks to Nathan about David saying, “When did I ever ask for a dwelling place? Have I ever expressed that I wanted that?”
Ding, ding, ding!
There it is. Here’s where I relate. Many times, I have tried to sacrifice something for the Lord, or perform a spiritual ritual, or do a bold act of faith, and the Lord has had to step in and say “Hey, that’s nice but have I asked for that?” When I reflect on why I initiate those actions I believe often times it’s because “it seems like the right thing to do” or it comes from a heart of “Wow, I am so grateful for what the Lord has done for me, I MUST repay Him”. And it is there that I start striving instead of abiding. But like 1 Sam 15:22 mentions, The Lord desires obedience over sacrifice. And sometimes our obedience is resting in the promises of the Lord.
As we look further down the passage, we see our sweet Lord is wanting to send the message to David, “Hey, don't build Me a house. I don’t need one! But I’m going to build YOU a house!” and He continues to give promises to David.
Isn’t that the Gospel? When we want to earn our spot at His table, we’re reminded this season that the most perfect gift was given in the form of a child, giving us an invite to His table if we choose to accept it.
Let us prepare our hearts to receive the greatest gift to ever enter the world.
On this Eve, let us ask ourselves- what is our heart position in celebrating the greatest gift of Jesus Christ. Is it tradition? The right thing to do? Desiring to pay back for that gift? Or obedience, reverence, worship?
What promises are our Lord speaking over you this season? Record those.
Raquel Fletcher is a staff member at Shepherd’s Fold Ranch. She has a calling to share her faith and bring people to Christ.