Monday, December 22, 2014

Bethany Bullet - December 22, 2014

Have you ever had to face the consequences?  Have you ever been chastised for your actions? I know I have.  When our sin results in God’s chastisement and consequences we may cry, “When will Messiah come? When Lord, when will we receive your anointing?”  Advent is a time of expectation but it is also a cry of repentance and confidence that trusts God to fulfill His promise in the person and work of the Christ child.

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.”  (Judges 21:25)

That is how the book of Judges concludes.  It’s not our text but a starting point for us this morning.  The people of God had been given the Land that was long promised to Abraham.  Under the command and leadership of Joshua the people entered that Promised Land.  After many years of strife and conflict the land had peace, but it was not to last for long.  Soon, a foreign army would invade and subdue the people.  Time and time again the land was invaded by the Canaanites, Hittities, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 

The book of Judges describes the cycle of disobedience and deliverance.  Over and over the cycle would be the same.  God anointed a Judge who delivered his people from the hands of the enemies.  Then soon after the people would fall away and chastisement and consequences would come as the people would find themselves suffering at the hands of an occupying force once again. 

The people would then cry out, “When will Messiah come? When, Lord, when will we receive your anointing?”  Soon God would anoint another Judge who would lead the people to victory and deliverance only for the cycle to start all over again. 

The last of the Judges was a man named Samuel.  He too cried out “When will Messiah come? When, Lord, when will we receive your anointing?”  Samuel had been given to the work of God when he was just a small boy.  His mother Hannah was blessed by his birth and gave him to the Lord to work with the priest Eli in the temple. 

When Samuel was older the people of God once again suffered His chastisement and consequences because of their disobedience and were given over to the hand of the Philistines.  The people cried out again, “When will Messiah come? When, Lord, when will we receive your anointing?”  This time the people clamored for a king.

Eventually Samuel is led to the son of Kish, to a young man named Saul and he took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head and anointed him king of Israel. 

This anointing set Saul apart.  In Hebrew one who was anointed was called Messiah.  Often times the anointed one brought comfort to the people by delivering them from their enemies.  The people received the anointing of God in the person of Saul.

Now most of you know how the story goes from here.  The anointed king of Israel makes some poor choices.  Soon the chastisement and consequences of God come again as the kingship is torn from Saul’s hands.  Samuel goes to the house of Jesse and is led to David, the shepherd boy who is anointed to be the next King. 

David, a man after God’s own heart, leads the people.  The comfort of the Messiah, the anointed one, comes as David ushers in an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity for God’s people.  

Our text from 2 Samuel chapter 7 picks up the story.

“While King David was living in his house, the Lord gave him peace with all his enemies around him. So the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look, I’m living in a house made of cedar, while the ark of God remains in the tent.” Nathan told the king, “Do everything you have in mind, because the Lord is with you.” But that same night the Lord spoke his word to Nathan:  “Say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one who will build me a house to live in?  I haven’t lived in a house from the day I took Israel out of Egypt to this day. Instead, I moved around in a tent, the tent of meeting.  In all the places I’ve moved with all the Israelites, did I ever ask any of the judges of Israel whom I ordered to be shepherds of my people Israel why they didn’t build me a house of cedar?’ “Now this is what you will say to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: I took you from the pasture where you followed sheep so that you could be the leader of my people Israel. I was with you wherever you went, and I destroyed all your enemies in front of you. I will make your name famous like the names of the greatest people on earth. I will make a place for my people Israel and plant them there. They will live in their own place and not be troubled anymore. The wicked will no longer oppress them as they used to do ever since I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. So I will give you peace with all your enemies. I, the Lord, tell you that I will make a house for you…Your royal house will remain in my presence forever. Your throne will be established forever.’” (2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16)

As David relaxed and enjoyed his beautiful new palace, truly fit for a king, something struck him as being wrong.  It didn’t seem right that he should be living in such splendor while the Ark of the Lord was kept in a tent. 

David began to dream big.  He would build a house for the Lord!  It would be a marvelous house made of wood and stone and permanent place for the Ark of the Lord.  “When, Lord, when will you have a place for you to anoint us with your presence?”  David planned that the answer to this was soon, and very soon.

David shared his plan with the prophet Nathan and got enthusiastic support, but the Lord had other plans.  That very night the Lord gave a message to Nathan words that were not easy for him to pass along.  There was no mistake about what God was saying.  His answer was “No.”

The tent was fine, God was not in need of a place of permanence and a house of peace was not to be built by a man whose hands were stained by the blood of war.

And now God flips the script and says that David will not build a house for the Lord but that he will make a house for David.  It will be a place of peace and a place of permanence and will be built by the hands that formed all of creation. 

David’s throne was established forever on that day a promise that found its ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah who was to come.

Soon the story will turn to disobedience once again.  David will stray from the words of the Lord.  His son will do the same and his grandson after that.  The house that was established that day would see king after king fall victim to sin’s insidious strength and its ugly consequences.

And the cry went up from the people once again, “When will Messiah come? When, Lord, when will we receive your anointing?”

In the fullness of time, there was a man from the house and lineage of David who went with his betrothed to Bethlehem, the city of David to be registered.  Soon the days were accomplished that a new king was born.  The house and line of David would receive a newborn king, the anointed one, the Messiah that was promised from ages past. 

The Angel confirmed to Mary the truth of the one to be born from her.  You heard the words from our Gospel lesson this morning.  “The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David.  Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever, and his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32b-33)

When will Messiah come? When, Lord, when will we receive your anointing?  The answer was NOW!  The Messiah, Jesus would come to bring Peace on Earth, Good will to all.  The Messiah, the anointed one would be God with us, Emmanuel and would bring comfort for the people.
The presence of God came that night in Bethlehem and soon a mansion with many rooms would be build by the hand of the one whose hands were stained with his own blood so that you might be saved. 

Jesus the Messiah is the fulfillment of the promise made so long ago to David and brings peace to us all.  He was anointed to a throne that lasts forever under which we all live today.

I’ve said all of that, to say this to you—what consequences are you facing today?  Have you been chastised because of poor choices you have made?  Are you crying out “When, Lord, when will I receive your anointing?”

There is an old adage that says, “You are free to make whatever choice you want, but you are not free from the consequence of that choice.”

No matter the word or actions, strife of affliction that you are experiencing there is forgiveness.  The anointed of God has come, He is Emmanuel, God with us and he answers the question of “When?” with “Now!” 

Your hands may be stained with sin but you are forgiven as the anointed one of God brings forgiveness and comfort. His hands have built a house in heaven for you!

Even after we are forgiven we often live with the consequence of sin...David never got to build a house for God.  It Doesn't mean we're not forgiven nor blessed...David was both...yet anointing is ultimately received when The Lord rests upon the  throne ... And we rest before the same...

In Christ, the cycle of disobedience is destroyed and a place before the throne of God is assured. 

In this season of Advent we can with joyful repentance come to this house and give those things over to God that haunt us—the regret, the guilt, the fear—and focus on the anointed one of God, who came to be God with us, Emmanuel who brings comfort and joy in these words, “Your sin is forgiven!”  Amen!

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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