In the midst of the mess…

Today’s sermon was awesome. So awesome I had to hear it twice – and blog about it at 1 o’clock in the morning. We have gifted teaching pastors at my church, and I am truly going to miss them when I move back to Illinois. I am so thankful for podcasts right about now.

Today Pastor Jimmy preached from 2 Samuel 7. In the events leading up to this chapter, David has been officially crowned king and is enjoying the favor and blessing of the Lord. Israel is united and there is peace in the land. David is living in the lap of luxury, and as he looks around he is troubled that he should live in such splendor while the ark of the Lord resides in a tent. A fancy, elaborate tent, but a tent nonetheless. For David, this is not acceptable; he wants to build an even grander home for the ark, for the presence of the Lord. His prophet Nathan encourages his plans until he hears the word of the Lord.

The Lord’s message is that David himself would not build the temple; his offspring would. Also in this message, God proclaims his covenant with David; God will establish the throne of David’s kingdom forever.

The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:11-17 NIV)

There were a number of awesome nuggets pulled out of this text this morning. But there are a few that have taken residence in my heart and continue to nourish me. 
First, Pastor Jimmy pointed out that the Bible records both the good and the bad of humanity, even those who would be considered the “heroes” of the story. Abraham is our father in the faith; but he went along with Sarah’s idea of having her offspring through her maidservant Hagar. Moses was the great deliverer who led the the people out of Egypt; but he disobeyed God’s commands out of his frustrations with the people’s grumbling and complaining and was not allowed to enter the land as a result. David is called a man after God’s own heart; but he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered to cover up his sin when it was discovered she was pregnant. I could go on, but the point is all these men were deeply flawed but also deeply blessed and used by God. 
I love the fact that the Word does not gloss over the sins of those God chose to use. They did not have to achieve some level of perfection to used by God. God was looking at the orientation of their hearts. Even in the midst of their brokenness and sin, they still followed after God. And even though there were consequences for the sinful choices they made, God still used them and blessed them for their faith. 
Secondly, Jimmy pointed out that this promise was given to David before his sin with Bathsheba. And the offspring through which his throne would be established came through his relationship with Bathsheba. It’s amazing to me how God works. The statement that has been reverberating through my heart all day is “In the midst of the mess of our lives, God will advance his plans and purposes.” The Michelle translation: God is not thwarted by our screw ups. 
And this is why I think the Word is so thorough in the way it presents the men and women God chose to use. We cannot point to any one and say that it was his or her perfect faith or performance that achieved what came to pass. There is no other conclusion to draw but that it is because of God’s infinite faithfulness, not our own. This gives me encouragement that even when my life is a hot mess, the Lord is still there; His love never fails and His plans will not be destroyed. I may deal with consequences for my sinful choices, but He will never take His love from me and His plans will not fail. In the end, those plans are not really about me. God is so kind and merciful to weave my story into the fabric of His grander story. He has made me His own through His Son. But I am never the centerpiece; God is. And as long as I keep my eyes on Him, I will enjoy the peace of His presence and the abundance of His love. 
I pray you also will be encouraged by this peace and abundance as you ponder the glories of our Lord. As the Word says, there can be no boasting except in the Lord. Let us follow hard after Him and seek to live for His glory.
Grace and peace…

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