Thursday, December 17, 2020

Hope in the Age of Darkness: Gifts of the Incarnation

2 Samuel 7:8-16

When one tours Jerusalem during a trip to the Holy Land, one of the must-see stops is at an ancient tomb that is purported to be the tomb of King David. David is still revered as the ancient king who set the foundation for Israel’s future, and one is expected to pass by the tomb reverently.

This passage in 2 Samuel tells us what God spoke to David through the prophet Nathan. The Lord took David from being the youngest son of Jesse to being the greatest king Israel would ever know. He was the shepherd who had no hope of having wealth, power, or influence, were it not for the power of God.

In the midst of this prophetic utterance, we hear something profound. We hear that God is building a house for David, yet it will be David’s offspring will build a house for God. The biblical story tells us that David longed to build a temple for God, yet God spoke that it was not David’s to build. That task would fall to Solomon.

I think, however, that, while it is perfectly fine to leave it at that basic understanding that even the great king had limits placed on him, there is a deeper archetypal way of seeing this story. For one, this contains the symbolism of the “house of David” that will soon be heard again in the stories of the annunciation and subsequent birth of Jesus. But I think there is more.

In my faith journey, I have often spoken of how God has provided for me, and there is something significant about how we experience God’s provision. It comes as a gift of grace … unmerited and undeserved. I have experienced it as God reaching out to me when I have felt small and incapable. It is like being lifted up higher than I could ever have done by my own strength.

The truth is that this is a legacy passed on to me from my biological and spiritual ancestors.

It is this gift of grace that is then passed on from one generation to the next. Each subsequent generation is then responsible for building up the kingdom of God in whatever way we can. It is the flow from God’s provision for us to the task of discovering a creative partnership with God as we seek to erect temples of love, justice, and peace in a sometimes darkened world.

In this way, God is glorified … the gift of this incarnate Christ is passed down from generation to generation. So how are you experiencing God’s provision and how is God working through you to build a temple of praise to God?

God, we have experienced your grace poured out abundantly, and we now seek to pass on that legacy of grace so that the Christ who comes in the person of Jesus becomes real in us. Amen.

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