2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16
Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’
John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel
for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue
and he has raised up for us a power for salvation
in the House of his servant David,
even as he proclaimed,
by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times,
that he would save us from our enemies
and from the hands of all who hate us.
Thus he shows mercy to our ancestors,
thus he remembers his holy covenant
the oath he swore
to our father Abraham
that he would grant us, free from fear,
to be delivered from the hands of our enemies,
to serve him in holiness and virtue
in his presence, all our days.
And you, little child,
you shall be called Prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare the way for him,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins;
this by the tender mercy of our God
who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us,
to give light to those who live
in darkness and the shadow of death
and to guide our feet
into the way of peace.’
I will preserve the offspring of your body after you, and make his sovereignty secure
Years ago, while traveling through India, I fell in love with an antique rug, made of the palest blue and yellow silk. A lot of love had clearly gone into making it, the way the silk was woven and knotted together, how the flowers were so clearly defined, the way each motif had been specially chosen for its meaning. Each line of silk knots was beautiful on its own; together though they were greater than the sum of their individual parts. When you stood back and held the rug up to the light, the weave would take on a lustrous, almost luminous glow and reflected the light back at you. It was very old and absolutely not for sale, I was informed. It was an heirloom, something to be passed down through the generations of a family of weavers. I loved that rug. I still do. I loved it because it was beautiful. I also loved it because of the whole idea of a piece of tapestry being passed down from mother to daughter, father to son, carrying on that family’s story.
Our faith is like that silk rug, passed down through generations and generations of believers. We are part of a family, the lineage of which stretches all the way back to David, and farther back still to Abraham, the father of all believers. “There were then fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, and fourteen generations from David to the deportation to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the deportation to Babylon to the birth of Christ” (Matt 1:17). And there has been since Christ and the apostles, generations and generations more of believers after.
Our lives are like lines of silk yarn, knotted together and woven to form the rich tapestry that is our Church. While David envisioned a house of cedar for God, God saw farther and had bigger plans. “I will provide a place for my people Israel and plant them that they may live there in peace. They shall no longer be harassed nor shall wicked men oppress them as before… I will raise up your son after you, the one born of you and I will make his reign secure. He shall build a house for my name and I will establish his kingship forever” (2 Samuel 7:10-12). God envisioned a nation of believers, our lives connected to each other through our faith, like a tapestry that stretches through generations. We are each beautiful in our own right, but woven together, we are greater than the sum of our individual lives. God calls each of us to play our different parts in His rich tapestry. Each of us has a specific role. We were all chosen with a purpose in mind.
As we prepare ourselves to celebrate this season of Christmas, let us take some time to reflect on how our lives are connected to one another. Let us reflect on the promise that binds us all together and makes us all believers – the promise of salvation by the forgiveness of our sins. “From age to age, his mercy extends to those who live in his presence… He held out his hand to Israel, his servant, for he remembered his mercy, even as he promised our fathers, Abraham and his descendants forever” (Luke 1:50, 54-55)
(Today’s OXYGEN by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray this Christmas, for all those who are still persecuted for their faith and their beliefs. We pray for the day when they can worship without fear, we pray for them to find peace.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for His mercy, His love and His faithfulness. We give thanks for the promise of salvation by the forgiveness of our sins.