31 Maple Street
Bristol, Connecticut USA
October 23, 2016
2 Samuel 7:1-17
Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman
My mother, well my parents, have had a rough couple of weeks. First, it looked like the dryer was dying, but then it turned out to be the refrigerator. The cable has been alternating between fuzzing out the channels and telling them that they are not subscribed. And in between waiting for cable guys and appliance repairmen, my mother had to get her crown replaced.
Just when they were starting to feel like they had finally gotten their life back together, their Massachusetts neighbors called to tell them that some unknown truck had created tire tracks across half of their lawn and driven over their new bushes. And as if that was not enough, the next day, they were rear-ended by a hit and run driver who sped off down the highway doing 80 miles per hour.
It hasn’t been a good couple of weeks for them – and when we are feeling upset, stressed out, or abandoned by God and others, it is really hard to make a joyful noise to the Lord, to worship the Lord with gladness, to come into God’s presence with singing.
I’m sure you’ve heard the talk show psychologists tell you that happy people focus on happy things. I know you have heard preachers share that we need to count our blessings. The Stewardship committee has been reminding you that we need to live in gratitude for all that God has given us, and Rodger gave a wonderful testimony about the blessings of our church’s ministry in his life.
It is good for our souls, good for our minds, good for our bodies to be able to sing a joyful noise to God. It makes us feel better; it helps us sleep better; it makes us happier and more generous with ourselves and others. It is good to speak out loud all of the ways God has blessed us, even good to just write it down once a week and put it in the offering plate.
It is good to testify to God’s steadfast love, BUT – sometimes, the negatives of life can pile up too high for us to feel able to see, let alone count our blessings. Sometimes, the shadows, the negative energy, the evil forces of the world can overwhelm us to the point where we cannot even find the words to voice how God has blessed us, and those are the moments in which God sings a joyful noise for us.
In those moments when we do not have the energy, the voice to sing of God’s goodness, God steps in and testifies for us.
King David was in a very good place in his life. No darkness or blues for him. He was officially the king of the United Kingdom of Judah and Israel. The Lord had given him rest from all of his enemies. How delightful that must have been after long years of fighting and living in the mountains. And now King David was settled in his home.
Life looked good for David, and as the faithful man that he was, it did not seem right to him that he should live in such splendor and comfort and the Ark of God should still be in a tent.
It’s a natural human reaction – to want to respond to blessings by repaying those blessings. A neighbor feeds your cat while you are away so you offer to bring in their mail while they are on vacation. A friend brings you a home made apple pie and you return the pie plate with cookies in it. God blesses us with every breath we take, with the ability to work and earn a living and be valuable in the world, and we return our tithe, our first fruits to God.
It’s a natural human reaction – to want to respond to blessings by repaying those blessings.
God has blessed David with a kingdom, with peace, with a house. David wants to bless God with a house.
God is not an ungracious receiver when God says ‘no thank you. I don’t need a house.’ God is simply reminding David and all of us what God’s unconditional love looks like.
God chose David and anointed David to be king over Israel when David was simply a shepherd, the youngest son of Jesse, following the sheep. God was with David, wherever David went, protecting David and bringing the people to a place where they could live in peace. And God promises to David that God will continue to be with David, continue to be with David’s house and family, continue to guide them, watch over them, bless and keep them. God will discipline the house of David, but God will never take God’s steadfast love from them. God will be with them forever.
This is God’s promise to David. A promise based upon who God is. A promise based in God’s unconditional love and care for God’s people. There is no requirement for David to be perfect. God outright says God knows that David’s children will sin, commit iniquity.
There is no requirement to be a super star. God chose David when he was the forgotten youngest son, following along behind the sheep. There is no requirement for David to do anything because frankly, there isn’t anything we can do, to receive God’s blessings, to earn God’s unconditional love. They are free. That’s what makes grace amazing.
So whether you are feeling like you are the king of your kingdom and can shout God’s love from the mountaintops, or you are feeling like you are unlovable, cursed, have laryngitis, hear God’s testimony, hear God’s Word, hear God’s song – for King David and for you:
I love you. Wherever you go, I will go with you. When you feel like your enemies are constantly surrounding you, I will be with you. I will deliver you. Even when others don’t see it, even when you do not believe it, I know that you are special. I know your gifts. I know your talents. I know you can transform the world into my kingdom here on earth.
You are my beloved child, and I will always be with you.