Saturday, December 10, 2011

December 18, 2011

Scriptures for December 18th: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Luke 1:46-55; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-28; Fourth Sunday of Advent; song: It came upon the midnight clear – UMH 21 2 Samuel: At first read, this may seem like bad news for the family of David. He has spent his life working hard for the Lord. Every success that he has had as a soldier and as a politician has been in the name of the Lord. The first and second books of Samuel are the chronicles of David and Solomon. These books represent a change in the leadership of the Israelites from judge to king. This is a very important passage, because it answers the question of how that is working out. Is it a good thing of a bad thing? Like most things in life, it is not inherently good or bad, it just is. David’s last act of devotion is to build God a permanent house to dwell in. God thwarts David’s plan by telling him it is not his place to do that. He has too much blood on his hands in his work. And yet the good news for David’s family and for our family is that God promises that he will build David a permanent house. His family will always be the ruling household, and indeed in a twist of fate – Jesus comes from the house of David and he rules forever! Luke: It is almost as if this is the perfect continuation of the story of the house of David. God works in mysterious ways, and God’s promises come about in ways that make no sense to us. The house of David had long been out of control. As a matter of fact, there are many who do not even believe that David was ever a real person. By this time the royal family has become common folk – probably even poor folk. The announcement that God’s promise has been fulfilled comes not to a rich prince, but a poor farm girl. And the response is not yes I will fight for you and defend your honor – it is yes I will accept the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life and will bear the Christ child. She knows that the task ahead of her will not be easy, and that in many ways she will have to be a soldier for the Lord. But she knows that the presence of the Holy Spirit will make any challenge worthwhile. And that not only will her life get easy, not only will the suffering of her people be alleviated, but the world will be a better place to live in. It is all just because God made a promise long ago to David to establish a house in his name. Questions: Both of our characters had a life changing conversation with God – When was the last time your life changed dramatically? How was God present in that event? Who are the prophets of today? What events or people does God use to announce transformation today? Are we as willing as Mary to stand up to the challenges of God? How have we witness the change of fortunes in God’s promise? How are still surprised by God’s announcements of change?

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