Summary: The very season which ought to bring security and hope instead brings insecurity and hopelessness. That's why we need to hear God's message to Samuel.
“The Difference Christmas Makes: The Security of Christmas”
2 Sam. 7:1-17
Christmas, for many people, is a time of great insecurity. There are adults whose frustrations increase and self-image drops because they cannot provide gifts for their children. Some children feel unloved or worthless – or feel they’re not good enough - because not even Santa leaves them anything. Persons whose families are far away or non-existent experience tremendous loneliness. Others find pangs of grief sharper as the empty spaces around the tree and dinner table remind them of loved ones now gone. The very season which ought to bring security instead brings insecurity. Perhaps that’s why the suicide rate always increases at this time of the year. That’s why we need to hear this Christmas message about security in the book of Samuel.
In Samuel we discover, first of all, that security begins with the fact that WE ARE PEOPLE OF GOD (1-13). In verses 1-3 we see David’s desire to build a temple for God; David recognizes that he dwells in a better, more beautiful place than God does; so David felt the appropriate thing to do would be to build a glorious temple for God. It could be crown of gratitude to God and a fitting climax for David’s reign. What better way to honor his faithful God?
But notice God’s response in verses 4-11: He tells David not to do so; God has other plans. God says, in essence, “It is not like me to be tied down to a place. As I have led you in the past without a place in which to dwell, so I will lead you in the future. I much prefer to dwell in your midst.” GOD PREFERS NOT TO LIVE IN A SECURE PLACE BUT IN A SECURE LINE AND DYNASTY OF PEOPLE. This dynasty will be both the recipient and conduit of God’s care. As Paul would later preach (Acts 17:24-25): “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.”
And God PROMISES TO CARE FOR THIS LINE THROUGHOUT THE GENERATIONS (12-13): “When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” This was fulfilled shortly thereafter through Solomon but then ultimately through Jesus Christ. The rest of the Old Testament shows this royal line of David and then the Gospel writers boldly declare Jesus is of the line and lineage of David: Matthew takes 16 verses to trace the line; Mark begins by stating that his gospel is about Jesus Christ “the Son of God”; Luke forecasts the birth of Christ saying, “The Lord will give him the throne of his father David...”; John portrays Jesus’ birth “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us ... who came from the Father...” The Heidelberg Catechism puts it (answer 35): “Christ took upon himself our true manhood from the flesh and blood of the virgin Mary through the action of the Holy Spirit, so that he might be the true seed of David...” God built David a house, a royal line, a dynasty of people that was secured in Jesus Christ!
The difference Christmas makes is that we have been planted in that line! We are the people of the royal line; WE HAVE ROYAL BLOOD LINES. Paul writes it eloquently in Ephesians 2:19-22: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” We are the favored ones of God! We are the people among whom he dwells! We, like Mary, bear the Christ within us! In Christ we do live and move and have our being! We are secure because GOD HAS COME TO US - and has come in surprising ways.
Frederick Buechner has written of this powerfully: “Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of man. If holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in this least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there too. And this means that we are never safe, that there is no place where we are safe from his power to break in two and recreate the human heart because it is just where he seems most helpless that he is most strong, and just where we least expect him that he comes most fully.”