He comes for generations seeking more
2 Samuel 7:8-16
As we prepare to celebrate our Savior’s birth this season of Advent we have been looking at the generations of people that were a part of Jesus’ family tree. The benefit of thinking about these generations of people is that we find that we are not so different from them. This is true even as we look today at one of the most well-known names on the list of Jesus’ genealogy: King David. David is mentioned in two places in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus; in verse one and verse six.
1This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham.
6Jesse [was the] the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.
This is, of course, David who faced off against the giant, Goliath; David, the shepherd-boy whose dream of one day being king of Israel actually became a reality; David, the warrior who brought Israel’s enemies into submission; King David who ushered in a golden age in Israel’s history. If Israel’s kings were made into trading cards, it’s David’s face you’d have hoped to see when you opened up your pack.
But as much as David’s extraordinary life may seem different from what may feel like our very ordinary existence, we share this in common with him: our plans don’t always work out the way that we’d like.
It seems that every person in every generation has a desire to build something. I’m not necessarily talking about a building made of 2x4’s and concrete, but the dreams that occupy our hearts and minds. If you’ve ever said, “I’d like to…” you know what I mean.
Those dreams might first sound something like, “I want to be a fireman when I grow up.” Then it’s, “I want to go to this school, get that job…I want to get married, have a family…I want to buy a house, buy a camper, retire at this age, take a trip to this country, I want to be there to help with my grandkids someday…I want to (you fill in the blank)” In this way, we are all architects, sketching out the dreams for our life on the napkins of our mind and hoping to build the future that we hope will fulfill those dreams.
Yet how many of those dreams don’t get crumpled up by reality and tossed into the waste basket. Every generation has dreams. Every generation faces disappointments, but, for Christians, these setbacks serve the purpose of pointing us away from the sketches of our dreams to the plans of a much greater architect and to a something that will last into eternity.
For all that King David accomplished, he also had an unfulfilled dream. He wanted to build a temple for the LORD in Jerusalem…and for good reason. David was living as king in a beautiful palace in Jerusalem while the holy things of God, including the ark of the covenant, were kept in a tent. David wanted to build a house for God. It’s hard to see a down side to David’s plan. Most people only think about building something for themselves; David wanted to build for the Lord. Assuming that his motivations were pure; there was nothing wrong about his dream. He even asked the Lord’s prophet Nathan about it and Nathan told him to go for it. But that night the Lord came to Nathan with a different answer.
This is what we heard about in 2 Samuel. Nathan was to tell David that he needed to crumple up his plan to build a temple for the Lord and toss it in the waste basket. The Lord had something else in mind. The Lord would be the architect. He would build a house for David.
When we draw up our plans or dream about the things we might like to do, we should not expect the same kind of feedback that David got about his plan to build a temple. David knew what the Lord thought of his plan because God’s prophet Nathan told him. In my 12 years of being a pastor, I’ve never had a dream where God told me to tell one of my members that God had a different plan for them than what they had in mind. In other words, the take-away from this account isn’t that we need to try and figure out what God’s plan for our life is. God has not promised to tell us what he thinks of our plans while we are dreaming them up. Instead, he calls us to apply what he has told us in the Bible to our decision making and then to move forward in faith. We see ourselves as the architects of our lives, but I think we all know that when in comes to turning those plans into reality we are not in as much control as we might like. Who here hasn’t experienced disappointment? Health fails. A family crisis demanded your full attention. Your prayers were not answered the way you had hoped. People you counted on suddenly weren’t there. Even plans that a church prayerfully makes don’t always come to pass.
What’s left? The disappointment of broken dreams and unfulfilled hopes. Life’s disappointments have a way of revealing where we had placed our hopes. It’s easy to say, “I trust in God. I love God more than anything else.” But our disappointments may tell another story. When things don’t go the way we planned, how often isn’t it brought to light is that we’ve trusted more in ourselves than in God?
But for Christians, life’s disappointments work like this: we are like kids who are building a fort in the basement. They get chairs and drape sheets. They make a wall of pillows and the fort keeps getting larger until, inevitably, everything collapses. The kids are upset, but the reality is that the collapsing of their fort has revealed they are living in a much sturdier building: their parent’s house.
When our plans collapse around us we look up and we see that we are still safely inside the house that God has built for us. David wanted to build a house for the Lord, but the Lord said, “No. I’ll do the building.” He promised that one of David’s offspring would build house for the Lord and the Lord would establish his kingdom forever. We know that David’s son, Solomon, would be the one to build the temple in Jerusalem.
But it was King David’s greater Son, Jesus, who would establish a kingdom for David. I joke that in Bible Study the answer to every problem is always Jesus. This is certainly the case with every disappointment that you and I may face. We look at every generation that has ever lived and realized that no matter how many of their dreams came to pass, none of it matters without a hope beyond this life. David could have built a temple for the Lord, but that temple would lay in ruins today much like the two temples that were built after him. But David trusted that the Lord is a much better architect. His plans never fail. The foundation of the house that he would build would never lay in ruins. No, when God builds, the house stands forever.
Jesus was born as the descendant of David. The people had put their hope in him as the one who might restore the fortunes of Israel and return the land to a golden era. Yet how many were disappointed that their plans for Jesus didn’t come to pass? Remember how they welcomed him as King on Palm Sunday; calling him the Son of David? And what was one of the accusations made against Jesus? He claimed to be an architect like no other. He said that he could tear down the temple and he would build it in three days!
Yes, the Lord would build the house of David. A Son of David would be punished, not for evil he had done, but when the sins of this world were placed upon him. And God would raise the temple on the third day; the body of our Lord Jesus and in that way, the house of God would stand forever.
We stand in this house by faith. God is its architect and builder. We are blessed that he has given us a place with him in this house. He did that for you when he put his name on you at your baptism. In this house he remembers our sins no more. We stand in this house and on the way in we wipe disappointment off our feet. That’s not to say that we won’t experience heartache and sadness when things don’t go our way, but we know that in the house of God there is no need to live in disappointment. We have the promise of life in Jesus. We have a future, built by him. We have the hope of a blessed family reunion in this house built by God.
There is a saying that Christians can be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. Nothing could be further from the truth. Living in the security of God’s promises doesn’t mean that we are lazy or don’t make plans. It means that we can make our plans and carry them out in the freedom of knowing that our lives do not depend our plans working out the way we hope. Our lives depend on Jesus.
This is true for our plans here at Redeemer as well. This past week I came across the original church blueprints which, by God’s grace, are represented in the building that we are worshiping in this morning. God has blessed this congregation by allowing it to carry out it’s plans in the past. We commit into his gracious hands our plans for the present moment and we live in the joy of knowing that everything depends on Jesus.
David seemed to be a man who had it all, but God led him to see that he needed to seek more; something not built by his own hands but a kingdom built by his God. We follow David and all believers when life’s disappointments don’t derail our faith; no, they cause us to look up and seek something more; something God has built for us through Jesus. Amen.