Summary: We don't need to run around trying to fix up our lives before Jesus' coming. God has already done everything necessary to get us ready for Jesus. (Sermon theme from Timothy Quill)
Only five more sleeps until Christmas! I bet you children can’t wait. Your moms and dads on the other hand are now slightly panicking. “What, only five more days until Christmas? But there’s so much to do! We haven’t done any baking yet, and there’s the house to clean for the guests. At this rate we’ll be up past midnight again on Christmas Eve wrapping presents.”
Ah yes, isn’t there always so much to do around Christmas? Would we be in the same kind of panic if we knew that in five days Jesus was coming to judge the world? Not at all, because what would there be for us to do? Other than telling others that Jesus is coming, there would be nothing for us to do. Jesus has already done everything necessary to get us ready for his coming. That truth is illustrated in a unique way through our sermon text from 2 Samuel 7. Through God’s Word there we’ll see how the Old Testament Church waited for the coming of the Messiah with worship—that is they didn’t run around in a panic trying to fix their lives. They simply marveled at what God had done and would continue to do for them. Listen to our text from 2 Samuel 7.
Our sermon text describes how King David was at a point in his life where he had the chance to sit back and count his blessings. The kingdom was firmly in his hand. Foreign enemies had been defeated. And he had a wonderful palace to call home. It must have been such a welcome relief after spending 13 years on the run from King Saul, a time during which David spent countless hours hiding in caves. But as David marveled at how far he had come, he suddenly realized that the Ark of the Covenant, that box of gold which held the Ten Commandments and which served as a visible reminder of God’s abiding presence, was still housed in a tent. David felt the way you would if after building yourself a wonderful mansion you suddenly remembered that your parents were still living in a shack with no running water or central heating. Could that arrangement continue with you in a mansion and your parents in a shack? Not if you love your parents. You would build them a wonderful house too, or at least invite them to live with you in your mansion. Although David could not put the Ark of the Covenant in the palace with him, he did resolve to build a glorious temple for it. When he shared his idea with his pastor, Nathan encouraged him to go for it.
Nathan’s support for the project, however, was premature. That night God made it clear to Nathan that it was not his plan to have David build a temple. Rather, David’s son Solomon would do that. How do you like it when you come up with a plan you think is the best ever, maybe on how you should spend your vacation, or how to do something better at the office or in the classroom, but are told: “No, we’re not going to do that”? If David was disappointed at God’s “No,” the disappointment did not linger because of what Nathan said next: “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” (2 Samuel 7:11, 16).
“You want to build a house for me, David?” asked God. “That’s nice, but I have a better idea. I’m going to build a house for you. Not a palace because you already have one of those and anyway they don’t last. Instead I’m going to build you a dynasty. Someone from your family will sit on the throne of Israel forever!” I love that interaction because it reminds me of how God’s “no” to my prayers and my plans are not meant to deprive me of joy. Instead God says “no” because he has a better plan, a plan that will eventually increase my joy! (John Mittelstaedt)
But didn’t God make David a promise he did not keep? Sure, David’s dynasty ruled for about 400 years until the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. But Israel hasn’t had a king since then. 400 years is a long time, over twice as long as Canada has been a nation, but 400 years is hardly forever. Why, David’s dynasty is not even in the top ten longest-ruling dynasties of all time. Ah, but we’re forgetting about that dynasty’s greatest king. Jesus is from the line of David and he is also the Son of God who is now ruling as the King of kings with a reign that will never end. God did keep his promise to David.