4 But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. 7 In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 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, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. — 2 Samuel 7:4–17 (ESV)
Leaders are a dime a dozen. Godly leaders? Not so much.
These days, leaders who honor God are rarer than the fans at a Seahawks game. Rather than looking to his Word for blessing and wisdom, most leaders tend to look everywhere else instead. They look to science, to politics, to law and order, to their instincts—literally, everywhere but to God.
And lest we make the mistake of thinking that this is a new problem, the Bible tells us story after story of kings and leaders going rogue and acting as though they are wiser than God.
In 2 Samuel 7:4-17, we see God’s response to King David’s offer to build a house for God. God hadn’t asked David to build him a house but David offered anyway. In response, God essentially tells David via the prophet Nathan, “Did you think that was my idea? Thanks, but no thanks.” It’s as if God is telling David, “You’ve got this all wrong. I don’t need you to do anything for me. You are the one who needs to be taken care of here.”
God then goes on to speak to David, reminding him of the ways that he had blessed him and also of the ways that he will bless him.
But that’s not all God tells King David. God also tells David about another King who would be born to David’s family line after he’s dead. God tells David that this King would be a Son of God who would endure the rod and stripes of the sons of men. And his throne and Kingdom would be established forever. Sound familiar?
Do you remember the angel Gabriel’s words to Mary?
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” — Luke 1:31–33 (ESV)
Jesus is the long-anticipated King who came to inherit the throne of David. And unlike the many other kings who ruled so poorly, Jesus came to do the will of his Father.
In the midst of one of the most contentious seasons of our lifetime, let’s remember that our hope isn’t in our nation or our leaders. It’s in Christ, the humble King. This Christmas we celebrate his arrival. Thankfully, the kings of the world only reign temporarily. Christ will reign forever and of his Kingdom, there will be no end.
We lift an anthem of praise to the Lord of Hosts,
our True Shepherd.
In the face of a culture that worships autonomy, we profess:
we are not our own.
Emmanuel, God with us: how sweet it is to be called
one of your children!
This world often feels upside down.
Life. Justice. Love.
These words have been twisted and redefined in wicked ways.
From your throne, hear our humble confession: time after time we forget that our primary citizenship is in your Kingdom. Our outlook and demeanor are shaped more by the words and promises of politicians rather than by those of our Father. We are guilty of trusting in men who will surely let us down.
Advent marks a time of anticipation.
We see the darkness and the chill sends a shiver down our spines
Yet—we know of the coming warmth and light.
For whom do we wait?
A perfect leader.
A just and loving King.
A fierce Redeemer.
O Lord, you will not fail us.
No matter how hopeless our nation might seem,
there is hope to be found in you.
Our political party might crumble, but we’ll still
belong to your family.
Injustice may surround us but we can rest knowing
that you have and will continue to deliver us.
Let the only law and order that we find our hope in
be that of the Son.
Grant us the fortitude to boldly declare the truth.
In the face of a world that lives as if you’ve never arrived,
let us yet live knowing that you’ll come again.
Set our sights upon eternity:
your reign is forever and your Kingdom will never end.