Devotions for 2 Samuel 7:1-17
October 17-23, 2016
Monday, October 17, 2016
“The Lord had given him rest from all his enemies” (2 Samuel 7:1).
David had been an ambitious king. During the past years, David had solidified his political base among the twelve tribes of Israel. David had also been aggressive in expanding his kingdom, defeating neighboring nations and securing Israel’s borders. Somehow, David had also found time to build a magnificent palace for himself. God was with him and had granted David’s fantastic successes. Now the Lord moved and granted David a time to rest. David had time to do nothing and to be refreshed physically, mentally and spiritually.
We have not fought the enemies that David rallied against and our names will probably never be found in history books. We have, as Saint Paul wrote, “[fought] the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). Many times we have been physically exhausted, mentally fatigued and spiritually drained. Like David, God grants us rest. God invites us to enter into God’s presence in prayer, to spend time there in meditation, to open the Bible and allow the Spirit to speak to us and to gather with other followers of Jesus for worship, fellowship and service.
Jesus said, “Come unto me all who are weary and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This is an invitation all of us can accept.
Lord of the Sabbath, thank you for your precious gift of rest. Help us to enjoy it frequently and to use it wisely. Amen.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
“Thus says the Lord ‘Are you the one to build me a house’” (2 Samuel 7:5)?
It seemed like a good idea. David had some time on his hands. His enemies had been defeated and the borders were secure. David could take some of his vacation time and build a temple for the Lord—it would please the people and David thought it would please God. God, however, said, “No!” (through the prophet Nathan). The honor of building the temple would go to David’s son.
We have many good ideas. These ideas would help others, honor God and please ourselves. Not all ideas, though, are what God wants us to do. As followers of Jesus, our goal is not to accomplish all of our good ideas, but to be faithfully obedient to God’s will. Thankfully, God gives us “Nathans” in our lives to help us determine what the Lord is calling us to do. Our task is now to heed how the Spirit leads and the Nathans advise.
O Lord, we want to serve you. Enable us to be sensitive to the leading of your Holy Spirit and attentive to the voices you send to advise us. Amen.
Wednesday, October 17, 2016
“I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle” (2 Samuel 7:6).
Ed and Ester Krantz stepped into their thirty-six foot RV, fastened their seat belts and headed off on another adventure. Their RV was their home for most of the year. They loved the freedom that the RV gave them. Everything they needed was packed in the cabinets, bins and storage holds. They could go when and where they wanted to go. When they wanted to stop, they found a nice RV park and enjoyed the attractions of the area.
The Lord had been moving with the People of Israel. While in the wilderness, God dwelt among the people in the tabernacle. Once settled in the Promise Land, the Ark of the Covenant was located in a tent. The Lord’s words through the prophet Nathan contain the nuance that the Lord did not want to be contained in an immovable building. God is a God of freedom and opportunities—not limitations.
As disciples of Jesus, we are again reminded of our tendency to box God up and putting limitations on what God can do. Thankfully, God breaks out of those boxes and surprises us by God’s movement in our lives and in our world. God’s presence is everywhere and God’s possibilities are limitless.
Awesome Lord, open our eyes, hearts and minds that we may perceive your presence and power in our lives and surprise us by going beyond our imaginations and expectations. Amen.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
“I took you … from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel” (2 Samuel 7:8).
We live in lands of opportunity. One of the ways we celebrate this fact is the telling and retelling of “rags to riches” stories. Abraham Lincoln rose from a log cabin in frontier Kentucky to the White House. A woman in Arizona who is seeking election to the US Congress highlights that she lived in a gas station without running water or electricity for three years. Bill Gates went from a Harvard dropout to become the richest man in the world.
In these stories, we often say that the people were “self-made.” Senator Elizabeth Warren reminds us that isn’t true. Military personnel kept the United States safe. The government built the roads and other items of infrastructure that allow people to grow. Friends, family members and small business people all had a part of people’s ascent from rags to riches.
David was reminded that God was responsible for his journey from a shepherd boy to King of Israel. As disciples of Jesus, we too are reminded that God’s hand is upon us. Our goals are not to be the greatest or successful, but rather faithful and obedient. Seeking these goals will allow us to be all that God wants us to be. We can’t ask for anything better than that.
Loving Lord, you have made us your children and your servants. Rejoicing in our relationship with you, empower us and use our words and actions to serve you. Amen.
Friday, October 21, 2016
“I have been with you wherever you went” (2 Samuel 7:9).
David had been in some scary places and situations. He had fought of lions and bears as a shepherd boy. David had faced Goliath and defeated him. Saul had tried to kill David on several occasions but David survived. As a general in Saul’s army, he had faced many enemies. In all of those situations, God was with him. Things never got so bad that God decided to watch from the sidelines.
When everything is going well, it is not difficult to believe that God is with us. We also have been in tough situations, though, when we wondered where God was and entertained the thought that God might have “left the building.” God’s words to David assure us that no matter what we feel God is with us. God has promised to never leave us or forsake us. Such assurances inspire us to live boldly, lovingly and obediently.
Powerful Lord, thank you that you never leave us. May the assurance of your presence empower us in our love and service of others. Amen.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
“I will not take my steadfast love from him” (2 Samuel 7:15).
Maria had participated on several mission trips that were sponsored by her congregation. She had spent a couple of weeks in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina, cleaning up the mess left behind by the storm. Another year found Maria in Haiti ministering to the people after an earthquake leveled their country and killed thousands of people. Maria had been in hard situations and in scary circumstances. She always sensed God’s presence in her life and God’s hand upon her.
Maria was now in a different situation. It wasn’t difficult or frightening, but she wondered if it was unforgiveable. Maria had betrayed the trust of several people and hurt many more. She couldn’t forgive herself for what she had done and she wondered how God could forgive her and continue to love her.
The Lord spoke to David about his son and successor to the throne, Solomon. God must have known the mess that Solomon would make of things—leading the nation into the worship of false gods and idols, and oppressing the people with high taxes and forced labor. Still, God assured David that God would never take his love away from Solomon. That same assurance speaks to us. People may have a difficult time forgiving us. We might struggle to forgive ourselves. God, however, assures us that God will never cease to love and forgive us. Never!
Forgiving Lord, we give you thanks and praise for your steadfast love and unconditional forgiveness. Amen.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
“Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16).
The professor stood before her class on the first day of the semester and said, “If you want to get an ‘A’ in this class you will need to work hard and do extra credit. Completing all of your assignments and attending class is only average, ‘C’ work.” When Linda started her job, her boss took her aside and said, “If you want to advance in this company you will need to put in long hours, work hard and demonstrate your commitment to the company.” We have all heard the demands. If we work hard we will be rewarded. There are no free lunches.
God’s words to David are so shocking because they are so different than what we experience every day of our lives. David did nothing to earn this covenant with God. David didn’t even ask for it. Rather, God came to David and said, “This is what I’m going to do.”
God acts the same way with us. God comes to us and tells us that God will forgive all of our sins, make us new people, adopt us as God’s children and fill us with God’s Holy Spirit. This is God’s decision. God assures us that there is nothing that we can say or do that will cause God to withdraw God’s love from us or keep from forgiving us. We can rest in God’s promises.
Gracious Lord, your grace overwhelms us. As your grace changes our lives, may we share it so that it changes the lives of others, also. Amen.