Sunday, July 19, 2009

July 19 Sermon: House of God

Texts: Ephesians and 2 Samuel


David wanted to give God what HE would want. Reminds me of the way I sometimes act. I get Lara a CD for Christmas that I am actually more interested in than she is.

Idea of building a Temple for the ark is a good political move. Legitimizes David’s authority. Says, in effect, God is on my side. Visible reminder of that.

God says no to that. He instead asks David to trust his promise only. Then his son will be able to build a Temple.

Instead of you building me a house, I’ll build you a house.

Trusting God will provide without subscribing to the “Prosperity Gospel.” The idea that God will bless us and we have the duty to display that with a life of luxury and wealth.

Often Like David, we want to do something great
for God (build a temple), but what we discover is
that God is committed to doing something great in
and through us ("He who began a good work in
you... Phil. 1:6). The first is safer because we
are in the 'driver's seat' the second requires
saying, "let it be according to your

Perhaps this passage speaks to us about putting God in a box of our own construction instead of letting God work through us to do his will. We are more comfortable creating God in our own image rather than opening our hearts and mind to let God pour into us God's Holy Spirit and allowing God to reveal God's self to us. It is not our job to plant God somewhere, it is God's will to keep us rooted in order that we might glorify God.

God is completely free. And God chooses to make His home in us, Jesus said the body is a Temple. During the Exile to Babylon, when may Jews were taken as slaves, and the Temple was destroyed. The people of God had to think more deeply about how and where God dwelt. The idea of the Messiah began in the minds of the prophets who looked at this passage from Samuel and knew that God would be faithful to it.

I don't think David's idea was all that bad; seems admirable, really, at first glance. It took God to know otherwise, that even in our well-meaning, sincere attempts at faithfulness, we can easily build up barriers to our reliance upon God.

The exile also forced a relocation of the God of Israel. He could no longer dwell in the destroyed temple. Apparently rationalizing the temple’s destruction, an exilic theologian reasoned that only his name dwelled there, not the Deity himself. The God of Israel dwelled in the heavens, not in an earthly temple. Quoting 2 Samuel 7:5’s rejection of the temple, Isaiah 66:1 would ask how could a temple contain God? The temple was irrelevant because the God of Israel did not live in a temple; rather, as Ezekiel so pointedly argues, God dwelt among his people. The exile provided the context for a universalization of the God of Israel.

Ephesians text : the movement from seeing God as residing in a place such as an ark or a temple, into becoming flesh in Jesus, then dwelling in all Christians.

God is asking for a place to live! What he wants most is to live in our hearts.

Jesus, this son of David, finally is the one to help build the house.

OF course, we can read the text (most literally) as saying Solomon will build the temple, which he does, but which is ultimately destroyed by the Babylonians. Or we can read the text in light of the Gospel:

Jesus builds it out of the people he's healed, those for whom he has had compassion in their suffering. A house made out of broken people, ministered to by Christ. An interesting image--keeps God as the actor, us as the grateful receivers and responders.

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