God does not foreclose
God Does Not Foreclose
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
The story is well known as told in the gospel of Luke: “Mary gave birth to her firstborn son and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” The statement is so familiar to us that it does not bother us to say it, but to those who first heard it sounded extremely offensive. How could the son of David, the son of God, be homeless? Both Luke and Matthew spend time writing about Jesus genealogy in order to prove that he was from the line of David; in fact Matthew begins his gospel with the words: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:” In the gospel of Matthew we find a Canaanite woman, two blind men, and even the children in the temple crying out: Lord son of David.
So if we do not have a problem with a homeless son of God, we should have some questions about a son of David being the son of God. David was the least likely candidate to be the king of Israel. When the Lord God rejected Saul as the King of Israel, God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to select one of his sons as the new king of God’s people. We are told that when Samuel arrived at Jesses’ house and he saw Eliab he immediately thought: “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But Eliab was not God’s chosen.
Jesse had each of his sons pass in front of Samuel; and after the seven that were present had passed, Samuel asked him: “Are these all the sons you have?” To which Jesse answered: “There is still the youngest, but he is tending the sheep.” It looks like Jesse could not imagine that it could be possible that Samuel might want to meet little David. David is not even invited to the celebration and to the possibility of seeing one of his brothers selected as the new king of Israel. The bible goes on to describe David as a pretty boy.
But God was mighty with David. When Goliath was making fun of Saul and the entire Israelite army, David volunteered to go and confront Goliath; and he not only killed Goliath but won an impressive victory over the Philistines. When David became part of Saul’s army David won victory after victory, so much so that King Saul became envious of David, and the people of Israel chanted: “Saul has slain his thousands and David his tens of thousands;” Which made Saul even angrier.
When David finally became king of Israel, God continued to give him numerous victories. David even brought the Ark of the Lord from Baalah of Judah to Jerusalem, to the tent that he had prepared for it. 2 Samuel tells us that: “After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
David’s inclinations were natural; he had destroyed all of Israel’s enemies, he had defeated Saul’s house and all their supporters and he had constructed for himself a beautiful palace. David is living the good life. Because David had obtained everything that he wanted; he can now, in peace, begin to think about spiritual matters and thus he begins by considering that: “The Ark of God remains in a tent.” His intentions are great, he wants to honor the God that has given him rest from all his enemies and had blessed him with riches and power. He had come a long way from a little shepherd boy to a mighty king.
Nathan, fully conscious of how God has blessed David, full of emotions and admiration for King David, responds automatically to David’s inquiry: “Whatever you have in mind go ahead and do it; for the Lord is with you.” That God was with David was obvious, but that does not meant that whatever David had in mind was okay with God. Proverbs 3:5 tell us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” One of the dangers of being successful, of being blessed over and over in our spiritual journey is that we can become so self assured that we begin to take God for granted. We begin to not even bother asking God for directions, we assume that we know the mind of God.
Building a beautiful temple to house the ark of God was not a bad idea. It was good to think about honoring God in that way; the question was not whether building a temple was good or bad, but whether it was the will of God or not. How many times do we spend days developing a five or ten year plan and after all that work we ask God’s blessing on our future search, rather than asking the Lord of Lord’s what do you want us to do now?
The gospel of Matthew narrates the story of an unidentified woman that poured a very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. Why this waste? They asked; to which Jesus responded saying: why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. Oh, how easily we forget the words of the prophet Isaiah in the 55th chapter, verse eight. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” No, we do not know the mind of Christ; so we better ask, we better pray, before we act on Christ behalf.
When God heard that the prophet Nathan told David: “Whatever you have in mind go ahead and do it; for the Lord is with you.” The Lord God spoke to the prophet saying: “Go and tell my servant David, this is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?” What a question! If we continue to read, the answer to God’s question is no; a son of David will be the one to build the temple to God, not David. In fact, God turns the tables and tells King David that it will be God who instead will build a house for David. Here God promises the establishment of an eternal kingdom for the house of David, through a descendant of David, Jesus of Nazareth.
When Nathan reported the words of God to David, David responded in amazement and praise, saying: “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with humans, O Sovereign Lord?” The answer to David’s question is a resounding, yes! This is how God behaves not only with David, but with each of us. God always extend God’s loving kindness to us all. This is the gracious nature of God. This is the radical promise of God. The apostle Paul stated it this way: “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”
God tells David that God will establish David’s home for ever through one of his descendants. Jesus, from David’s line, is born in a cave, homeless; but he grows up to promise to go and prepare a place for you and me. God moves from a tent to a cave. It is the incomprehensible behavior of God who is determined to build us up. The good news is that we do not need to deserve God’s love and mercy; we do not need to do something for God for God to do something for us. Whatever we do is only as a response to God’s gift of love.
David is the surest sign that God’s love is always unmerited. The bible tells the story of how David killed one of the loyal members of his army in order to hide his adulterous affair with Bathsheba. And yet God continue to bless David not because he was better than others but because he was humble enough to repent. The difference between David and Herod is that when John the baptizer reminded Herod of his sin Herod imprisoned John; but when the prophet Nathan reminded David of his sin he repented. The difference is having a teachable spirit, the ability to acknowledge his sins.
We have been told that the financial crisis that we are experiencing began by the people who were trying to fulfill their dreams of owning their own home, but who could afford neither the house nor the loan. That dream became a nightmare for them and the nation. Banks are foreclosing in record numbers. The government is trying to help the banks and other institutions to survive the crisis, but little help is available for those that are losing their dreams. God’s promise to build your house, to build your future is in solid rock. You cannot afford God’s love, you cannot earn God’s favor, you cannot do anything to deserve God’s kingdom; but you can relax and rejoice because God does not foreclose. You can walk away from God’s love, but God will never leave you nor forsake you. God is the one who is not making a list and checking it twice; God is not interested in finding out who is naughty or nice. All God cares is that you want another chance.