Posted by David Hartung @ 9:42
Folks, I do not make it a point to post mu sermons online. Those sermons are for the Congregation God has given into my care, and not for the world as a whole, but as tomorrow is the celebration of our Lord’s earthly incarnation, I thought I would post this one. Our weekly readings are based on a three year lectionary, and I have included the readings.
2 Sam. 7:1-11,
1 Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” 3And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.”
4But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, 5″Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”‘ 8Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.
16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’”
25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Birth of Jesus Foretold
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. 36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Sermon, 21 December 2014 David Hartung
2 Samuel 7:1-11,16 Advent 4b
God’s Covenant with David
Grace Mercy and Peace be unto you, from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!
As our Old Testament reading begins, King David has consolidated his power in Israel, and has driven out the foreign powers who had threatened Israel since the time of Joshua, has conquered Jerusalem and has made it his capital. Things have settled down a bit and David has been able to build himself a nice house. All in all things have come a long way from the days when he had to hide in a cave for fear of Saul’s anger.
Now that he is no longer off fighting wars and such, David becomes concerned that he is living in the palace of a king, while the Ark of the Covenant, the dwelling place of the Lord’s presence In Israel, still resides in a tent; David has seen to to it that the tent was a nice one, but still the Ark is relegated to a tent. As one who is anointed of the Lord, David is very aware that he is where he is because of what God has done, rather than because of his own military and political savvy, let alone his brilliance. It is very likely this realization, which causes him to be concerned that the Ark is still in a tent, instead of in a house far more suited to the Glory of God.
Most of us can probably understand David’s thoughts. David is an honorable, God fearing man, and he determines to give his God the honor he deserves, and tells the prophet Nathan that he is going to build a proper House for God. Nathan appears to have been a close confidante of David, in addition to being a prophet, and he tells David to “go for it”, that God will approve. Nathan understands David’s feelings, and recognizes that David’s desire is nothing more than to give God the glory he deserves, but God has other plans. That night God came to Nathan and gave Nathan those “other” instructions.
Here is where things get interesting.
Speaking through Nathan God points out to David all that he has done for him and for Israel, and then essentially he goes on to say “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” I am going to do still more! I am going to give Israel a permanent home, one where they will never again have to worry about being dislocated, and I am going to make your house, your line, the head of that nation! God’s exact words were: “I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.”(2 Samuel 7:9) These words are eerily similar to what God said to Abram in Genesis(12:2) “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” God promised to make of Abram a great nation, and now he is promising to make David’s family the head of that nation. With the advantage of 20/20 hindsight and three thousand or so years of revelation and study, we know that these words are messianic in nature. We know that these words, both to Abram and to David were the promise of the Messiah.
As most of you know, I do not always put a title on my sermons, but I have titled this one “God’s Covenant With David”. What is happening here is that God is in essence reinforcing with David the covenant he had made with Abram.
What is a covenant?
A modern term for covenant would be agreement or contract. God was contracting with David to guard and to protect his children Israel, to make Israel his own, and he was contracting with with David for his family to head Israel forever. Covenants like Contracts are always two way. Each party brings something to the table. In this case God was promising to guard and to protect his children, and in return David and Israel promised to be faithful. Included in that promise of God’s was and is the promise of a redeemer, because we always seem to be in in breech of our part of the contract. That redeemer is what God is speaking of when he tells David that his line will be a house.
Think about that for a minute. This contract God made with David included a clause which held that when we fail to keep our end of the covenant, God would provide a means to declare us in compliance. That means is of course Jesus of Nazareth, who as God’s only begotten son is at the same time a direct descendant of David, and the creator of David. In other words despite our legal default on our contractual obligations, and also because Jesus, the begotten Son of God has given his life as the full penalty for our default, we are declared to be in compliance of our contractual obligations.
How does this relate to the Advent season we are just completing, and the Christmas season which will begin on Thursday? It is simple really. You and I are in default of our contract or covenant with God. We have not been faithful, but yet God has faithfully kept his end of the bargain, even providing the redemptive sacrifice by which he has declared us to be in compliance. It is the birth of that perfect sacrifice we are commemorating and celebrating. Beginning on Wednesday evening, we will celebrate the birth of a baby.
More importantly, we will celebrate the fulfilment of the promise first made by God that day so long ago in the Garden the Day that Adam and Eve first disobeyed him; yet even as we celebrate, even as we coo and laugh at the beauty of a new born babe, we remember the purpose of that babe, we remember that he was sent to be sacrificed on a Roman cross, and we give thanks to God that through that sacrifice we have the gift of eternal life.
In the world of man, when someone breaks a contract, he is sued, in God’s world when a man breaks the only contract we have with God, God takes upon himself the contractual penalties and declares us to be in compliance. If there is a better reason to rejoice, I cannot think of it!
May peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
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