[Read 2 Samuel 7:1-17] “….…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……..’”
Waiting, Not Alone
There was one house and one tent. David thought there should be two houses. He was right. But not yet.
What prompted our Old Testament reading was a conversation between David and the prophet Nathan. David said, “Behold, I, the king, dwell in a house of cedar. But God - present with the ark of God, the ark of the covenant - dwells in a tent. I will build Him a house.”
Nathan told David to go ahead, but then God confronted Nathan in tonight’s reading and said otherwise. A house for God would be built, but not without God commanding it.
God promised David that, although David himself would not build a house for God, David’s offspring would – “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. He shall build a house for my name.”
An offspring, a son from David’s own body, would build a house for God. God would establish that son’s kingdom forever.
This promise was first fulfilled in David’s son Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba. Solomon, David’s immediate offspring, would indeed be commissioned by God to build the Temple – the Temple that all Israel worshiped in for centuries afterward. There, in the Temple, would be God’s presence – around the Ark of the Covenant - in the Temple behind the curtain of the Holy of Holies.
Solomon built the house for God. God established Solomon’s kingdom. Solomon would be a son to God - when Solomon committed iniquity, he would be disciplined, yet God’s love for him would never depart. “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, but my steadfast love will not depart from him” – God would never remove Solomon’s family line from the throne like He had done to unfaithful king Saul in the past.
Fast forward several centuries and see the greater and final fulfillment of this promise made to David. There is a greater offspring of David and a greater House.
Many centuries after David, another offspring of David, this time a Daughter, would herself become the House of God for a time. And yet another offspring of David’s body, a Son, THE Son, would be God Himself dwelling in that home.
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
This Daughter from David’s body would house the Son of the Most High. David truly did build the House of God, the product of his own body. The body and womb of Mary, a virgin, became both the Temple and the Ark of the Covenant – the place of God’s presence and dwelling – for those nine months. And the Son in her, the Son of God, is Man and God Himself.
God now dwelled among man, and man waited nine more months for His Advent, His Arrival, in the form of His Nativity, His Birth. In Matthew’s Gospel, Mary and Joseph are told to name this God-Child “Jesus” because “He will save His people from their sins” [Matthew 1:21]. “Jesus” means “God Saves”.
The final moments of anticipation for the long-awaited Savior – the one for whom they all waited was now with them, within her. Centuries of waiting - now just nine months to be born.
Fast forward again. Fast forward to now. You wait for the Savior. You wait for the Savior, having come, now to return. You wait for Him to come and finish in you what He has already finished by His death and Resurrection. You wait for Him to arrive with your redemption, your eternal life, your salvation from sin and all its effects, in hand. You wait. Where does He dwell as you wait?
You are in the final moments of anticipation. Where does your Savior dwell this time as you wait for His Advent? He dwells in His Temple. He dwells in His House. He dwells in another Temple of human flesh: “Do you not know that you are God's temple” [1 Corinthians 3:16]. “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house” [1 Peter 2:5]. “For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them.’” [2 Corinthians 6:16]
By Baptism, Christ dwells in you all together, as one body, one temple of the Lord. You all, plural, are together His temple – the House of God not built with hands. As He dwelt in the womb for those final nine months as the people waited, so now He dwells here in you, in His house, even as you wait for Him.
One time, as Christ was seated in a house teaching His disciples and the crowds with them, the mother and brothers of Jesus came seeking for Him. Jesus responded, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” And then Jesus, pointing to all those encircled around Him listening to His Word, said, “These are my mother and my brothers. For my mother and my brothers and my sisters are those who hear the Word of God and do it.” [Luke 8:21; Mark 3:34; Matthew 12:49]
You who hear His word to do it, like living stones, are all together a spiritual house of God, His Son’s dwelling place. You are the House, the Temple, the Mother, the family, the home, and the womb where the Lord Jesus dwells. Church is House and Mother. In House and Mother, He dwells hidden once again - as you wait for His Coming, His Advent – when He, once and for good, will arrive openly for all to see.
So, brothers and sisters, as you wait – perhaps more than nine months – remember that it is not a lonely wait. The One for whom you wait is here, within and with, by Word and Sacrament. You know Him now as a mother knows the baby in her womb. You love Him, though hidden. You wait for Him, but He is not away from you. You wait for the One who is already very close within. Amen.