Gift giving season has quickly vanished and a new year is upon us.
Did you struggle at to find that perfect gift for someone on your list this Christmas? I mean, what do you get for that person who doesn’t need anything? The one who wants nothing and needs absolutely nothing? It’s a real struggle – especially when so many in our world have little to eat and few clothes to put on their backs.
If you’re king David who wants to to give God a gift then the perfect present is a new house of course! Think of all the celebrities you hear about who have bought their parents homes once they made it big: Elvis, Johnny Cash, Rhianna, Taylor Swift, Venus Williams, King David….
Well King David wanted to get the Lord God, the King of the Universe a house.
In 2 Samuel 7 we hear about how God had delivered David from his enemies and made him king over Israel and Judah. David was so grateful to the Lord that he came up with this big idea: I’ll make the Lord a house – look how I’m living in this beautiful cedar mansion and the Ark of the Covenant is outside in a tent. A tent, for crying out loud! You can understand his intentions! Gratefulness often makes us want to pay back those who have helped us along the way.
So, David goes to Nathan the prophet to discuss his idea and Nathan tells him, “Follow your heart!” (My translation.) You know – we hear people say that all the time – follow your heart – listen to your heart – do what your heart tells you to do. As if our hearts are always in tune with God’s will for our lives. As if our own wants/needs/desires are incapable of tainting our decisions – and when someone says “follow your heart” we feel justified in our decisions.
But this was a good thing, right? David will build God a gorgeous temple! In his mind he was already drawing up the blueprints – making plans – hiring the contractors – digging a foundation and laying the cornerstone.
Meanwhile, Nathan listens to God. Good thing someone is! It’s always important to listen to God, even when we think we have a brilliant idea to serve him. It just may not be in his plan! It just might be more about us than about him! (We’ve had a few of those occasions here.)
God said to Nathan, “tell my servant David that I don’t want or need a house.”
Some Key Takeaways:
- David was thankful for all God had done for him, but his focus was in the wrong place. The only thing that God wants from us is a relationship – when our service to the Lord detracts from our connection to HIM, then we are drifting down dangerous territory. God knew that for David to build him a house would be his (David’s) undoing. He would get caught up in the busy-ness of it and forget about God himself.
- God’s point to David was that he had been with his people all along! No matter where they were traveling or where they pitched their tents along the way – God was with them. He did not need a physical address to reside in.
- Our real service to God is to offer him our lives – ourselves – our attention – our devotion. Just as the greatest gift we give to one another in our families and friendships is our TIME (which is so precious and in short supply) so it is also the greatest gift we give our Lord.
- God didn’t need a house built by David! Instead God promised that HE would build David a house – not with bricks and mortar but with his LOVE. He wanted and was able to build an everlasting KINGDOM from David’s descendants. (Just read Matthew’s genealogy to see how Jesus fits into the family tree.) This is why Jesus came to the earth – to fulfill the promises of God and to create God’s everlasting kingdom of which we are a part.
- St. Paul would later tell the early followers of Christ that they were the house of the Lord – their bodies his Holy Temple.
- St. Peter would tell his friends that they were the spiritual house built from the chief cornerstone which is Christ – fashioned into a holy priesthood.
- No matter where we go or where we find ourselves, we can rest assured that God is with us. Emmanuel. All he wants from us is our love and devotion. It’s really quite simple and truly a beautiful thing.