“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” John 9:1-17 As we near the end of the Lenten season, hopefully whatever we’ve focused our attentions away from in order to draw closer to God, we are better able to experience God’s plan and provisions for living. We begin to realize that what we perceive as dependence on God is more like natural instinct towards his presence within us. To define our relationship as dependence causes us to look for blame either within ourselves or someone else when things don’t work out the way we believe they should. The reality is that something is always being worked out. We are not the only ones to whom God is in relationship. While our decisions play some part in what does and does not happen, instinctively we praise, instinctively we repent, instinctively we reconcile ourselves and instinctively we know that God is working it out not just for us but through us as well.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him…” John 9:1-17
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:16-21
As the scripture in 2 Samuel continues, David did not get to build that house of cedar. Essentially I believe David’s heart was in the right place but his concept was wrong. Neither do we get to build the walls in which God’s spirit dwells, because it is suppose to dwell within us, so that where ever we go God’s presence goes with us. It is this kind of reconciliation that is God’s greater plan. As builders for God, we have a responsibility to build this house he has generously given, that being our life through Christ. Perhaps God may have believed that David was in danger of creating a physical structure, that in the end was more of a hindrance to his plan and God needed David to know and it is important for us to understand that God’s presence is not the structure. God’s presence is not the riches. God’s presence is our life in Christ. It is a life that loves God and loves neighbor as self. It is why we often say that church is not the building. Church is the people in order that the gospel is not restricted to one place and is made accessible to everyone. Otherwise we risk the walls we build becoming more important than the people they were intended to serve. Any “walls” that we build (internally or externally), God will surely cause to tumble when they prevent access to him.
I believe the good news for us today is that God understands that our journey will be challenging and much like Moses, David, the disciples and others; will be imperfect at times. However, I believe God is well pleased when we choose to remain on the journey and continue to maintain and reconcile the house that is the body of Christ.
We know that King David is anointed by God in every physical way, yet he becomes a bit over- zealous in his rise to the throne, and in 2 Samuel we find he is now wanting to build a house for the ark of God which at the time merely dwelled in a tent. David didn’t want to build any house but a house of cedar as elaborate as his won. Cedar is an aromatic wood that is found in varieties all around the world. Perhaps primarily due to its fragrance, cedar was known to the ancient Israelites in their places and practices of worship. Apparently, this was David’s idea of bringing God’s standard of living up to meet his own. What I find amusing and which brings me back to my own self-perceived rise, was God’s “child please!” response to David’s newly self-proclaimed status and place in God’s plan for his people. Perhaps David believed, that he somehow had been elevated to a place of glory that was higher than God! I believe this is one of David’s first real encounters with the physical, which can be seen (a beautiful dwelling place), challenging the spirit of God (measure of faith) that was within him. I believe what David and we particularly today, quickly forget, is that the tabernacle and tent are physical reminders of God’s presence. His spirit makes its dwelling place in the heart of those who believe in him as he did with David, and us also, who in turn responds according to God’s spirit. Can you imagine the Israelites carrying around a house of cedar? Is it even possible for us today to build walls to hold the spirit of God?
Lent: Day 28 – Some strongholds can become so entrenched that all we can do is pray. Their goal is to limit or make ineffective our faith, conjuring up doubt and fear. Prayer is our direct communication to the one who bears, believes, hopes and endures all things on our own behalf. God’s love has absolute authority in all matters particularly those we simply cannot control. When we call on God in prayer we express our faith in his love and his will for our self and for others. God sees and knows what we cannot see or attempt to know. So we entrust our cries to him and let his steadfast love take over.
Exodus 2:23-3:13 But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’
Mark 9:14-29 ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 It (love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.