There are some tyrannies against the self, that we don’t always readily recognize; such as change, time and place. We constantly think that things and people need to change, that time can be managed and that if we don’t find what we are looking for we are ready to be some place else. These are illusions which keep us running and confused much of the time. Trying to change what is fully external to the self is tiring. Changing the interior self is hard enough but far more rewarding. It gives us permission to free ourselves from the obsession of trying to change things and or people more confused than we are. So too time can not be managed. Another illusion – for an hour is an hour and we must learn to manage ourselves realistically within the time that is given. We can only do the best we can with the time we have. Again, we often fail to appreciate the gift of place, where we are at any given moment, but more importantly where we call home. I’ve come to believe that it is the Spirit of God within us that sanctifies the place and not the other way around. When Jesus entered the synagogue and found a person who had the spirit of an unclean demon (Luke 4:31-37), he didn’t leave and start looking for another synagogue. Anointed by the Spirit we too have the freedom to remain where we are and not be moved until the Spirit of God’s presence within us provides another place.
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?