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And it happened when [David] the king was dwelling in his house and the LORD had granted him respite all around from his enemies, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See, pray, I dwell in a cedarwood house while the Ark of God dwells within curtains.” And Nathan said to the king, “Whatever is in your heart, go, do, for the LORD is with you.” And it happened on that night, that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, “Go, say to My servant, to David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Is it you who would build Me a house for Me to dwell in? For I have dwelt in no house from the day I brought up the Israelites out of Egypt until this day, but I have gone about in tent and tabernacle . . . And now, thus shall you say to My servant, to David, Thus says the LORD of Hosts: I Myself took you from the pasture, from following the flocks, to be prince over My people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut down your enemies before you. And I will make you a great name, like the name of the great of the earth. And I will set aside a place for My people, for Israel, and plant them, and they shall abide there and no longer quake, and the wicked shall no more afflict them as before . . . and the LORD declares that it is He Who will make you a house. … He it is who will build a house for My name, and I will make the throne of his kingship unshaken forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me, so should he do wrong, I will chastise him with the rod men use and with the afflictions of humankind. But My loyalty shall not swerve from him as I made it swerve from Saul whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingship shall be steadfast forever, your throne unshaken forever.’ ” -- 2 Samuel 7:1-16 (Selected verses, Robert Alter's translation)
God, however, had other plans. Through the prophet Nathan, God tells David that, no, David is not the one to build a house for the LORD. Instead, David's son (not yet born) will build the house for God. Meanwhile, the LORD will build a house for David, this house in the form of a dynasty of descendants who are to rule Israel from David's throne. The "catch" is that this will take place only after David's death. David will see his reward not as a temple of stone, but through his hope and his faith in God's promise. But what a hope! A glorious future where David and his descendants will be kings forever. And we know his hope was fulfilled with the advent of the Messiah our Lord, who even today sits on His throne beside His Father.
When our personal plans don't turn out as we expect, few of us have a royal prophet to tell us God's alternative future for us. That's when we follow David's example and live with hope and faith that the Lord's plan is even more glorious than what we had envisioned.
Lord God, we live as advent people in the hope and faith that your plans for us are so much greater than anything we could dream up by ourselves. In Jesus' name, Amen
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