Great Grace

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Hey, I want to to invite you to open 2 Samuel chapter 7 today, and I want to look at a passage of scripture that … Here’s the irony. This is a very, very big passage in scripture. So you think of significant passages in the Bible ,2 Samuel 7 is one of those pinnacle passages that’s sort of a turning point in our lens through which to look at scripture. And on top of that 2 Samuel 7, the irony is that we’re in a new building today. And this passage is a passage where God talks about why he doesn’t want a building. Isn’t that crazy? Why would I teach about this the first Sunday? I want you to know I didn’t plan this. I have the next several weeks mapped out for us and the texts that we’re going to be in. We thought we were going to be in this building last week and were unable to get there.

And so now this week, this passage of scripture is kind of where we landed in our time period together as we’re going through 1 and 2 Samuel. So this wasn’t a timing thing on my part to try to match this when we came into our building, this is just where we landed today as a time when God said he didn’t want a building. And so we’re going to talk about, that’s a little bit ironic, isn’t it. We’re going to talk about why God would say that. And here we are in a new facility together and what that means for us. But if you remember, if you watched online last week, we had to do strictly online, but we looked at 2 Samuel chapter 6, and this was when King David finally takes the position as king and he’s united all of Israel. Remember there was King Saul before David and Israel up until the time of King Saul was in a period of judges where they were more looked as 12 distinct tribes of Israel.

They really weren’t united. And then King Saul comes in and he disobeys the Lord several times. The Lord removes him and puts King David and King David unites all of Israel as 12 tribes, and he makes the capital city Jerusalem. And he brings the ark into Jerusalem. That’s where we looked at last week and David dances before the Lord. And we saw a beautiful section of scripture where David learned some lessons before the ark came into Jerusalem that really shaped his identity in the Lord and his understanding of who God was. Beautiful passage. And now when you get to chapter 7, David’s interest is to build a temple for the Lord. And he tells us why the first three verses, if you look at this with me, David describes why he wants to build a temple for the Lord.

He says, “Now it came about when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest on every side from all his enemies that the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See, now I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within tent curtains.’ And Nathan said to the king, ‘Go do all that is on your mind for the Lord is with you.'” So David desires to build a temple, a physical structure for the Lord before this, it was the tabernacle, it was in a tent and he says, “Look, I’m in my castle. Look out my window and I see here I am in this nice building and God’s in a tent and I don’t want the Lord to be in a tent. I want to create for him a permanent structure as well.”

It kind of reminds me of this past week, as we’re working on our facility, a lot of people put it in late hours. There was a lot of baseboard cutting to do. And I think, I don’t know how many miles I logged in cutting baseboard, moving back and forth in this building doing that. But in one week I lost like 10 pounds. And just for fun, I was like, “You know what? I bet I can fit in my high school clothes.” And yes, yes. I still have some high school clothes. So I pulled those out and I put them on and I’ll be doggone if they fit. They fit, right. And I won’t tell you how much I had to suck in to put them on, but they fit. And some of you might think I’m bragging by saying that, but I just want you to know my initial reaction was cool, they fit.

But the long-term feeling was “Gross, I’m wearing clothes from high school. These suckers are 20 years old.” So I don’t want to wear clothes from high school, but I did. I came into the building and since I had some clothes that I needed to just destroy in a facility and as you’re painting and getting stuff all over, I wore high school clothes and destroyed those. And they fit, right. But it was gross to wear clothes that old. And when I look at this story that David is saying, it’s kind of like that only a hundred times worse. Where you think about this, the tabernacle was built during the time of Moses. You’re looking at 400 years to the time of David. God is in some gross curtains, right? I mean by the point, David comes around and looks at the building is like, they’ve got moths coming out over there. There are some holes, this thing,

I’m sure they probably repaired some things, but this is some old material. And David’s looking at his nice brand new building. And he was looking out at God in this tent. And he was like, “Man, what in the world am I thinking by allowing the Lord in this tent?” So he wants to build God a physical structure and Israel to be able to gather and worship there. But the irony is in this situation that God doesn’t want the temple built. You got to think, in most cases, Israel goes on from not too far from this point and Israel does build a temple, a nice place of gathering for worship, but in verse 4 and 5, God doesn’t want a temple built. And he starts to share with us why, but look in verse four, it says, “But in the same night, the word of the Lord came to Nathan saying, ‘Go and say to my servant David, thus says the Lord, are you the one who should build me a house to dwell in?'”

Now, this is kind of a pondering moment here for David to consider as he thinks about this. I mean, he just looks in the immediate and he looks out his window. He sees all these structures going in. Israel has peace and rest. And then God’s still in this mobile tent. And he asks David this question. And he asks David this question, I think he starts to develop in verse 6 and 7 more of an internal dialogue, where he reveals his nature to David. And to teach us a little bit about who he is before Israel gets to that place where they build a temple. But these lessons become important because these lessons are something that even becomes applicable to us in having any sort of facility for gathering in the name of the Lord. I think buildings have a place, buildings are important, but buildings are a tool.

And the primary purpose for which we even have a facility as a church has nothing to do with having a building to show off the fact that we have a building. It’s the purpose and the motivation behind it. It’s a tool, right? There’s nothing special about four walls. It’s what the people do with it that speak the word of life in the hearts of people around. Does that make sense? It’s like this. When we do ministry you can approach it a couple of ways as a church. You can just see a task that needs done, or you can see a life that needs transformed. Does that make sense? Sometimes we get so task oriented as people we forget about the whole point of ministry has nothing to do with the task. The point of ministry has to do with people. And this is what God is about to teach David. He’s saying, “Look, before this happens, I need you to learn a couple of things.”

And so he slows down what David is doing. And David, in these moments, what David gets the opportunity to do, because God doesn’t want him to build the permanent structure yet, is he continues on with his battles as a king and provides more security for Israel, which is important as they get ready to build a physical structure, that way it’s protected from anyone that might attack it. And the other thing to add to this, and I think this is important for God; it doesn’t really draw it in the text. So this is a little speculative, but David has had a lot of success as king in his position. He’s gone into a lot of battles. He’s come out victorious. Remember the song that they sang about David? Saul killed his thousands, but David his ten thousands, he’s a warrior king.

In everything he seems to have put his hand to, he’s seen nothing but victory. And he could be in a very precarious spiritual place, maybe a dangerous place where he starts to think that he is so good that anything he touches turns to gold, and so God needs him, right? So God needs him. And in fact, during David’s day, this is pretty a pretty traditional thing where any leader of a group, any king come in conquer a land, the first thing they would do, they would build this place of worship and dedicate it to the god and that so-called god would bless the king and his kingship forever. And now David’s coming to this position and maybe he’s seeking after the same thing, to show God how great he is. And that God in the end of that would bless him because God needed David to do this.

God’s starting to teach David, “Actually, David, I don’t need you to do this. That is not what I am about. I’m not dependent upon anyone.” God doesn’t lack in anything. And ultimately we see under Solomon, God will build a temple, but here’s what God starts to teach us. Why didn’t he want a temple? Verse 6. “For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day. But I have been moving about in a tent, even a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel? Which I commanded to shepherd my people, Israel saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?'” So what’s God saying here?

What God’s saying is he loves the tabernacle for a specific reason. He loved the tent. He loves the tent. And why? Because he’s an incarnational God. And what he means by this is, look, the beauty of the tent is that God got to be among his people. Put him in a permanent structure, and that’s where he’s at. Remember we talked last week about the Ark of the Covenant? That is seen as the present, the place where God dwells, where he rules and reigns. And so that ark would be in the middle of the tabernacle that’s to be built in a permanent structure. But the beauty of the tent was that God got to move around with his people. If they suffered, he was right there with them. If they saw success, he was right there with him. God was always moving among his people. And he doesn’t want David to forget this about the Lord, that God is near.

This is kind of the danger that we even face today in our spiritual lives, right? We tend to see this Sunday morning as the sacred thing that it’s just more spiritual this day than any other. And can I be honest and tell you, it’s not. There’s not this sacred and this secular with the Lord. Every day is sacred to him and every day belongs to him. And so do you. There’s nothing magical that happens by coming through this door, but it’s where your heart rests before the Lord. And when your heart is engaged towards him wanting to honor him, a beautiful thing happens when God’s people gather together, but it doesn’t just have to happen today. And I think God’s teaching Israel the same lesson here that yes, certainly facilities are a blessing. I don’t want to … There’s no lack of gratitude that we could see a structure like this. I mean, can you think about this? This is the first permanent facility for Mainstream Christian in Lehi, Utah, right?

That’s a beautiful story we all get to be a part of. But what makes this powerful is what the people of God choose to do within its walls. Use ministry, not to accomplish task with, to reach hearts. And so he teaches David this lesson, he discussed with him, look, he wants to remind them, “Look, I’m an incarnational God. I love to be with the people. I want to go through what they go through and experience what they experience.” And we ultimately see that in Jesus. But here’s the even more incredible thought of this section of scripture. You think about this. David says, “Okay, God, you know what? I want to bless you. You’ve been so good to me. I want to go all out. I want to build you a facility for worship that people can gather from all over Israel, that they will know that in Jerusalem, in this place, your presence always there. You can depend on it. You can count on it. It’s a light to the people. God, this will be it.”

And then God says, “You know what, David? Instead of you blessing me, I’m going to take nothing. And instead I want to bless you.” 2 Samuel 7:8. This is what God starts to do in this section of scripture because he’s not lacking in anything. And what we start to learn here, is an incredible view of the grace of God. Look in verse 8. He reminds David of his story up into this point. And then he wants to take David beyond this. But look at this. Verse 8. “Now therefore, thus you shall say to my servant, David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts. I took you from the pasture from following the sheep to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.'”

So he’s saying, “Look, David, not only do I not want you to bless me, but let’s just remember where you came from. You took care of sheep in a field.” In fact, in his family, he was considered insignificant so much so, that when the prophet Samuel came to bless his family, because God had told them the future king of Israel was there and the whole family came, but David wasn’t invited. They had to stop the party to go find David. And they said, “Are you sure you want David? He’s the runt of the litter. He’s just the person that takes care of the sheep.” I mean, during this time period being the one that took care of sheep was considered the lowest position on the totem pole. So David in those moments is viewed as just insignificant.

And God is saying, “Look, remember how I just plucked you from a place like this to use you for my glory?” And he says to him, “Look, I’m going to make your name great throughout the earth.” And he goes on verse 10, 11. He says, “Not only have I done this, but just think about for Israel. I will also appoint,” verse 10, “a place for my people Israel and will plant them that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again. Nor will the wicked afflict them anymore as formerly, even from the day that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you.”

So the question becomes, how? God, how are you going to do that? Rest. Peace. Doesn’t your soul crave for those things? Don’t you find that in life, you look for things to satisfy yourself and temporarily they might, but very quickly, you’re back to the place of just wanting rest and peace? My soul longs for peace. How could God provide that? Well, verse 12 to 16 becomes that section of scripture in chapter 7 that I told you is such a pinnacle place for the Bible. It becomes a lens through which the New Testament finds significance. And look at this. I want you to see what God says in his promises here.

He says one, the way that he’s going to be able to do this is because through this promise one death won’t stop him. Death won’t stop him. And look in verse 12. “When your days are complete,” talking to David, “and you lay down with your fathers, I’ll rise up your descendants after you, who will come forth from you and I will establish his kingdom.” So Jesus is saying, “Look, you want to think about, you want to know how this is going to happen, or what’s going to be important here, David? I’m so powerful I don’t even need you to do it. After you’re gone, death isn’t going to stop this. This is how I’m able to carry this on. So death’s not going to stop me from establishing this kingdom.” Second thing he says is, “Look, time’s not going to stop me.” Verse 13 and 16, say this, but let me read verse 13. “He shall build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”

God is greater than time. Death doesn’t stop the promises of God. Time doesn’t stop the promises of God. And the next verse, not even sin will stop the promises of God. Look at this. Verse 14, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me when. He commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men. But my loving kindness shall not depart from him.” Guys, can I tell you, one thing for my spiritual life that that made such a tremendous difference, and I hope this works the same for you. Maybe you’re more spiritual than me and you’ve already learned this lesson the first day you became a Christian. I don’t know. It took me a little bit of time to understand this, but God’s faithfulness is not contingent on my behavior.

Isn’t that the beauty of who God is? God’s faithfulness is not contingent on me. God’s faithfulness is contingent on him. And because his nature is perfect, God is forever faithful. So what he promises you, he promises you. Here’s why this is important. Because sometimes in our spiritual lives, we mess up and here’s what we think we need to do. We need to run away from God in shame and try to fix ourselves. And then when you can prove to God that we can fix ourselves, then we can come back to God so that God accepts us. And what God is saying in this passage is that’s not how that works. That’s not what grace is. God is saying the only reason you find yourself made new is because of him. We understand as believers that that’s what the cross of Christ is all about. It’s the place of complete humility in our lives because it’s where we’re exposed and completely bare in all of our sins.

But it’s also the place where we find incredible grace and love of God over us. That in my sin, Jesus still gave his life and he didn’t stop pursuing me. He didn’t stop being the incarnational God who came after me and he didn’t stop when David was a shepherd boy, and he’s saying to David, “And I’m not going to stop now.” And it’s going to continue on for eternity. What kind of response could you possibly give to a God that demonstrates himself like that to you? That he’s the King of kings and the Lord of Lords who created all things, rules and reigns. He can wipe us off the face of the earth at any moment. And yet he chooses to extend his grace and love to us and lavish that goodness on us, both now and for all of eternity. He’s written his story on me and he continues to write his story on me. How is [inaudible 00:19:42] told to respond in those moments?

I’m glad you asked. Verse 18. Look what David says. Remember, David went into this thinking he was going to do something for God, and now God offers this counter promise of what he’s going to do for David. And here’s David’s response, verse 18.. “Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord. And he said, ‘Who am I, oh, Lord God? And what is my house that you have brought me this far? And yet this was insignificant in your eyes, oh, Lord God. For you have spoken also of the house of your servant concerning the distant future.'” He thinks, God, it’s been so good. When I think about the things that you’ve done, it’s been so good.

Guys, I think that’s important for a Christian life, is don’t forget what God has done, right? But at the same time, God is also a God of new beginnings. Every day is made new in him. Great is his faithfulness, right? And David is saying, and when I think about that, it just pales in comparison of everything that weights me and waits for me in your goodness, God. You know what David does before God like that? He worships. He worships because he understands that of everything that he really possesses in life, he could never hope to give back to God out of all of his wealth, what God really deserves. But it’s only by his grace he’s able to come before God anyway.

You know the greatest gift that you can give to God today is your worship. It’s your heart turned over to him, dedicated to him, loving him and honoring him in all that you do. So let me tie all this together for us. Let me make some application. Because when I read this story, it’s a nice story. It’s beautiful things told to David But when I read a story like this, I want to encounter God the same way. How can I have that intimacy that David had? How does this relate to me? And can this passage relate to me? I see the story David and wanting to build the temple and God shows up and God blesses more. How does this story relate to me?

When you get to the New Testament, the writers in the New Testament become very intentional in this story. In fact, they use this story as a hinge point to understanding that all that God wanted to do. In fact, in the book of Matthew in chapter 12 and verse 23, they say this to Jesus. They say, “All the crowds were amazed and they were saying, ‘This man cannot be the son of David, can he?'” Asking the question, when they see Jesus, they’re asking the question, “This man cannot be the son of David, can he?” Why are they asking that question? Because they understood the promise in 2 Samuel chapter 7, that through the line of David one would come who would be the ultimate King to bring rest and peace, to God’s people. And what’s Israel waiting for? That son of David.

Israel was waiting for that King so much so, that when you get to Matthew chapter 12:23, they’re asking that question. As they’re saying, “This man cannot be the son of David. Is this the one that we’re waiting for? Is this the one that brought … Is this the incarnational God who wants to deliver us? The ultimate thing that our soul has been looking for in rest and peace and longevity in him for all of eternity? Is this it?” I mean, when you read the gospels, the beginning of the gospels start off that way, don’t they? When Jesus is born, what’s the first thing they want you to recognize? He’s the son of David.

Or when you read the book of Romans, the first three chapters, or first three verses what Paul introduces us to in their salvific message that is Romans. He says, “Jesus, the son of David,” in verse 3. So 2 Samuel chapter 7 becomes the very lens through which the New Testament authors look back into the Old Testament to show how God is fulfilling his promises to us. So how does this relate to me? Just dig a little bit deeper. Let me just give us a little bit of thought as it relates to the significance of Jesus. Because so often times we talk about Jesus. We talk about Jesus is my savior, right? Jesus is my savior. I hope Jesus is your savior. Jesus is my savior. That’s a beautiful thought to have towards Jesus, especially if you’ve put your faith in Jesus, right? Jesus is my savior.

But let me just say this. When it comes to Jesus being your savior, that’s a personal thing, right? It’s a very one-on-one thing. Jesus rescues you. You’re saved. Great. Something to add in addition to that thought, is Jesus is also King. What makes him such a great savior is because he is an all powerful King, right? I mean, his salvation is only as good as his authority and because he is the King of kings, that’s what makes his salvation so powerful, but he is a King. And what does a king bring? A king brings, get this, a kingdom. Jesus came to bring a kingdom through the line of David. And who did he come to bring that kingdom for? For you and for me.

Jesus came to restore what was lost from the days of the garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve first sinned, when sin was made known in this world, rest and peace were gone. And Jesus comes back as a King with a kingdom in order to establish the very things that we lost with him in a relationship through that garden. If Jesus were just a savior, it would be an individual thing. But as a King with a kingdom, now he calls us all to belong to this corporate identity. We all represent the glory of this King together.

And as King, what does he bring? Well, he brought hope. He brought hope. You read the first Christmas story. The first Christmas story we celebrate Christmas like it’s a wonderful thing to do, which it is and what it represents. But first Christmas was an awful Christmas, man. When you read what happens with Mary and Joseph and the traveling and the running to Egypt in fear of their lives, that is a pretty difficult Christmas, hanging out in the barn. Who wants to hang out in the barn on Christmas Eve, right? I mean, sitting with the animals, sleeping in the hay. I want to pass on that one. I’ll take Christmas number two. And anything after that, not Christmas one, the very difficult time. But in the middle of that difficulty, he brings great hope. And then, so how do we see it even in our lens today?

Let me just give you this thought that when you look all the way back in the 2 Samuel chapter 7 into the New Testament, you see God carrying this grand story for the sake of your soul. This speaks to the magnitude and the power of God’s message to you that God just didn’t show up in the first century and give you, “I’m a savior, I’m coming to save you.” But from the Old Testament, he’s been declaring this story for you, that you could see the goodness of who this God is. I was talking about this with somebody this past week, but man, I am so jaded over all the junk that comes through our social media, television. What can you even believe anymore? That makes me concerned as a pastor for the hearts of people. When I say things like, “Man, if you could just give your life to Jesus.” What can you cling to in order that you can say, “Look, everything else in this world might be falling apart. But, this thing, this thing, my life right here.”

And when you see God’s message throughout scripture, you see that beauty communicated. 2 Samuel all the way into the New Testament, the author is saying, “Look, this Jesus has come for you.” In addition to that, this King brings rest and peace and victory for you. And last, let me say this. Since he is King, we should follow. If he is truly the king of Kings and Lord of Lords, guys, we should follow. We should surrender our lives to that cause. His cause, his purpose for my life should be preeminent to anything else in this world, because he’s the one that created me and he understands my design more than anyone.

I’ll just use this in closing, but I heard a story. Tim Keller likes to say this a lot, use this as an illustration, but there was a man by the name of Philipp Melanchthon. He was a friend of Martin Luther and Philipp was a worrier. I know I joked a minute ago about if Seinfeld were cast today, I would be Kramer, but he was Kramer before there was Kramer, this Philipp guy. He stressed and spazzed about everything. And it was said he was a warrior and Martin Luther, when he would see him more worried, if you look this guy up, Philipp Melanchthon, you’ll see what I’m talking about if you just Google him, his hair goes everywhere. It looks like he’s out of his gourd half the time. And then he let them draw pictures of him that way. I don’t understand. If you’re going to draw a picture of me, please draw on my best day. Not my worry time. They’re like, “No, Philipp, no. We need everyone to know how much you stressed and what Martin Luther said about you.”

But Martin Luther would come and put his arm around Philipp and he would say to him, “Let Philipp cease to rule the world.” Let Philipp cease to rule the world. Isn’t that usually the case in our lives when we start getting stressed out? We just see everything as dependent upon us. I’ve got to do this. This has to happen. The world will fall apart if it doesn’t. But Jesus is on the throne. Jesus is on the throne and he’s an incarnational God who chooses to bless his people with grace. He called you to belong. And, guys, here’s the joy of it. He knows right where you are and he knows what you need better than anybody, better than you. If your heart would just give its life over to him.

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