Today’s Bible reading
“Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, ‘I will build a house for you.’ So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever.” — 2 Samuel 7:27-29
More thoughts for meditation
The present time of isolation makes things seem like they last forever. Each day is arduous. My wife often jokes at night “we survived,” and in the morning, with the same light-heartedness, says “here we go again.” Even two months into this disruption we are still straining our imaginations to see the return of what was normal — when weekdays were easy to discern from the weekend because they were marked by what we did and where we went. Now there is a real sense of wandering to our lives.
Not knowing exactly how long this will have to be endured is a repeated theme in the Bible. This section of 2 Samuel struck me because it marks the end of something but also the beginning of another. David is famous in the Bible for a lot of things. I often forget that he is the king of Israel who builds The First Temple on the site Jesus wanders through in the New Testament. David is building a house for God that proclaims his promises and blessings will last forever. I don’t think David could have any idea what form that blessing would take, nor the trouble he was going to endure in his own life or that his kingdom would endure not too long after he was dead. Establishing a house for God in The Temple was not the end of David’s journey with God.
Thinking about David is helpful to me as I endure this strange time; it helps me consider what it means to trust God. Up to this point in the Old Testament the people of Israel had lived a marginal life. With David’s reign they finally get established. They had been wanderers who settled in their current country through violent conflict with their neighbors. Their existence so far seemed tenuous and relied on God’s miraculous intervention through desert and war. David, when he is finally crowned king, is only the second king Israel has had. It is worth noting that the previous king, Saul, had not very wisely, tried to kill him.
In today’s Bible reading David is declaring who God is in the present and putting his trust in the God he knows for the future. He is confident he can claim a blessing that will endure whatever happens. We have the benefit of knowing that David’s blessing would ultimately be for the whole world in the form of his descendant Jesus. I don’t think David could have known that when he was trusting God. It all makes me want to imagine a blessing coming rather than more of the same “whatever.”
Suggestions for action
Can you imagine praying David’s prayer? David says that God gives him the courage to ask for a blessing. Try to find something that you are being encouraged towards. What uncertainty is God leading you through?
Today is Pentecost Sunday! Learn more about this day in the Christian calendar at Celebrating Our Transhistorical Body.