Monday, July 13, 2015

2 Samuel 7.1-16: What Kind of House?

I'll make you a house. No, I'll make you a house. No, I'll make YOU a house. That's the gist of the conversation between God and David in the reading from Hebrew scripture (2 Samuel 7:1-16, Proper 11B/Ordinary 16B/Pentecost 8). Ultimately it is David's descendant who will build a temple for God and the people, and it is David whose descendants will be made into a house.

The desire for a house, a real brick-and-mortar house is a human thing. The human need for the concrete is probably one reason for the incarnation. Jesus is God who becomes flesh and tabernacles among us. All well and good for Jesus, a descendant of David, but David really wanted God to have something more permanent than a tabernacle. David wanted God to have a house at least as impressive as David's own.

There is a fractured version of an old saying that says "People who live in glass houses shouldn't stow thrones." It's true. That was going to be a concern for David - stowing a throne, that is. The throne promised to his "house". The Lord promised David a house, though not exactly the kind he originally envisioned, and David will learn to be OK with that. It's almost as if he knew Psalm 127:1: "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain."

David's wasn't a glass house, but care is required for any kind of house, maybe especially the kind of house made of fragile, fallible human beings. And who should we trust more than God to build fragile, fallible beings into a house?
Tony Cragg. Clear Glass Stack. 1999. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamacki, Auckland, New Zealand. 

For thoughts on Mark 6:30-34, 53-56, click here.

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