Imagine sitting in the position of King David. After being promised the royal throne many years ago, after working for the previous king and befriending his son, after years of fighting for the king, and after purely fighting to survive, you’ve finally taken the throne! Now, the kingdom is yours. You move into the beautiful new palace, and there is peace in the land. One day, you wake up and remember the precious ark of the covenant, the holy place where your God’s glory dwells. But it’s not with you in the glorious palace – it’s still in a measly tent. While you’ve moved into greater splendor and security, God’s presence is still without a permanent home.
As you read this passage on the Eve of Christmas day, consider the security and abundance by which David was surrounded. Imagine how he would feel when God comes back with a surprising answer to his real concern:
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 house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”
Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”
But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 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? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’
“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth.And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
“‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you.”
Reflection and Response
Today, you may have enough money to buy presents for your family, to enjoy a large festive meal, and to experience a wonderful holiday celebration filled with beautiful decorations and lights. Yet, when you invite God into your plan for this holiday, he may just turn the invitation back on you and invite you into what he already has planned for you! Give yourself some time today to ponder what plan God might invite you into as you begin celebrating with family and friends. What one thing might you do to step into God’s plan for you today?
By Yvonne Biel