But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: â€œGo to My servant David and say, â€˜This is what the Lord says: Are you to build a house for Me to live in? From the time I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today I have not lived in a house; instead, I have been moving around with a tent as My dwelling. In all My journeys with all the Israelites, have I ever asked anyone among the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel: Why havenâ€™t you built Me a house of cedar?â€™â€ Â Â 2 Samuel 7:4-7 (HCSB)
Lectionary texts: 2 Samuel 7:1-14, Psalm 89:20-37, Ephesians 2:11-22, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. The church that I attended through college was built in 1833. Though tornadoes have knocked it down, the people rebuilt it.
Some find great comfort in such a rich heritage of faith. I have never found such comfort in buildings. It seems that a building was not where God was wanting to live. He tells the prophet Nathan that He has been with the Israelites in a tent just as they have been living their daily lives in tents. He does say that David’s offspring will â€œbuild a house for my Name…and I will be his father and he will be my sonâ€ (vv 12-15). Does He mean Solomon? I don’t think so. He says that the offspring will be flogged by men and the kingdom, the lineage of David’s throne, will be established forever. Hmmm.
Then Paul says:
Now you who are not Jewish are not foreigners or strangers any longer, but are citizens together with God’s holy people. You belong to God’s family. You are like a building that was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in that building, and that whole building is joined together in Christ. He makes it grow and become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Christ you, too, are being built together with the Jews into a place where God lives through the Spirit. Â Â Ephesians 2:19-22 (NCV)
We are the dwelling of God. Together. Jews and non-Jews. We are the place where God lives. It makes me think about how Jesus came and was born in a stable. That is a good comparison to Him living in me. A smelly, not-so-clean stable. And yet, this is where God chose to live. This is where He still chooses to live. Oh how I want His Spirit to sweep through me and clean out all those hidden corners and closets!
Mark’s gospel message given here is about Jesus being out in the roads and hillsides with the people. He is not in some grand, man-made temple or church. He is out where the people live.
I am praying this week for a group I know in Africa. They have left their suburban homes and are living with the people in simple wood homes or huts. They are there to work with the local church to share about Jesus with adults, youth, and children. They are where God lives.
How many of us belong to local fellowships? How much of the budget for that fellowship is spent on maintaining buildings and property? â€œHave I ever asked you to build Me a house made out of wood?â€
God, as usual, gives me some things to think about this week. How God wants me to use the talents and blessings He has given me? God wants to live with me and I don’t think it is inside a cathedral!
Eagles Wings by Reuben Morgan, sung by Hillsong Worship team