sermon

The House for All Ages

Rev. Jack J. Lolla, Jr.

December 24, 2017

Text: II Samuel 7:16, O.T.: II Samuel 7:4-16, N.T.: Romans 16:25-27

            We live in a disposable culture. Tearing down a historic building barely scratches the American conscience. There are a few preservationists and historians who resist the cultural tide. They like old things. Most just don’t care.

Then, there are people. Staying touch with old friends is hard to do with the hectic pace we keep. We lose track of people – they lose track of us. We’re pretty used to it. It’s just life.

Then, there’s family. America is constructed of immigrants who left family behind somewhere, some place to come here. Our immigrant DNA affects our attitudes about permanency. We think nothing of children travelling long distances from home to find work. We’re glad they’re employed. We miss them to be sure. But it’s kind of accepted that children don’t live close to their parents.

Some go overseas. America’s spirit of adventure lures children away from parents – grandchildren away from grandparents. We’ve come to expect it. The home we live in has had two, three, four, many families that have already lived in it before us. More will live in it long after we downsize.

The concept of an extended family – a large extended family that lasts generations in the same location is alien to the American spirit. We do have large extended families in our background. We do descend from someone, from somewhere. But there aren’t many of us who could name our great grandparents. Even fewer of us know who our great great grandparents were and where they lived. I would say we don’t know much about what they believed and how they lived. We assume they were Christians. But today, you never know.

So, when God tells the prophet Nathan that King David’s house and his kingdom shall be made sure forever, it’s hard for us to grasp. The idea of anything being everlasting is foreign, let alone a family and its influence.

What if God said to you, “I’m going to establish your house and your family forever.” Would you view it as a blessing or a burden? What would your children say, your grandchildren, your future descendants?

How do you imagine your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren handling the blessing of an eternal endowment by God?

King David’s family couldn’t handle the blessing of God’s endowment. His son Solomon was known for his wisdom. But then Solomon expanded the definition of family from a monogamous relationship to a harem of concubines. The next generations of David’s house disposed of the blessing.

Brothers turned against brothers, family against family. The kingdom divided. Worshipping God was abandoned. David’s house began offering rituals to alien gods of fertility, at one extreme, and death at the other. Gods everlasting blessing became more a license to liberty than a modest life together as a blessed family that was valued and appreciated. God’s family became strangers to each other, and to God.

When the wisemen and the shepherds began their trek to Bethlehem, King David’s house was not what God had intended it to be. God had greater plans for King David’s descendants. But they hadn’t lived up to the blessing. Descendants from King David weren’t on the throne. They were scattered, living at the margins of Judea’s society.

 

Joseph was a carpenter, not a king. Mary was hardly the queen of a royal family. They didn’t travel by caravan with an army attending their royal processional. They traveled alone, with a donkey, not a stallion. They didn’t rate a five-star hotel. They barely found a place to stay overnight. They gave birth to their son among domesticated animals, not a palace.

This was how far King David’s family had fallen.

Yet as far as they had fallen, God’s blessing remained. For as inconsequential as his house had become, God’s promise continued.

In God’s greater plan, His blessing of a house wasn’t for royalty, it was for loyalty. God’s blessing expressed His loyalty to a family that struggled to stay faithful to God over hundreds of years.

In God’s greater plan, His blessing of a house wasn’t to bestow wealth and possessions. It was for humility. God’s blessing called His chosen family to humility. In God’s greater plan, His blessing of a house wasn’t for public admiration. It was for human salvation. God’s loyalty defined what His chosen family needed for salvation.

The blessing of God’s loyalty builds a house. God’s blessing is lays the foundation for His house to be humble. God’s blessing depends only upon Him to save His chosen house.

It’s too much for us to associate our households too closely with God’s holy family of the house of David. We certainly don’t want our families associated with all the scheming and intrigue by which King David’s family became known. There is a certain blessing in being obscure from God’s chosen-ness.

But on the other hand, we ought not think we are so obscure from God’s sight that He doesn’t notice how our families show appreciation for His blessing.

King David’s house is representative of what happens in our own houses. His family is a microcosm of how each generation of our own families responds to God’s blessing. Our families can either embrace the blessing of God’s chosen-ness, or they can try to avoid the responsibility of being chosen. They can make little of God’s blessing and squander being chosen as His Holy people. Or they can  have awe and gratitude like Jesus’ mother for the miracle of God using her as an instrument of salvation in the world. They can respond with wisdom and restraint like Joseph did when he understood the magnitude of Mary’s unborn child.

God remained loyal to His blessing of King David. He found humility, gratitude, wisdom and restraint in Mary and Joseph. He renewed His blessing to the House of David through the birth of their son.

Ultimately, loyalty to God is needed for our own households to be faithful through the generation. Loyalty to God does not begin in our own entitlement. It doesn’t lie in our own goodness. It lies in who God is and what God is doing to be loyal to His promises.

Then we respond with gratitude in the humility of spirit by which we receive His blessing. God waits to re-establish His blessing when humility and gratitude is evident in the household He has blessed. It lies in God’s grace that renews our families’ relationship with Him.

If we’re content with being people of a disposable culture, then what happens to the subsequent generations that follow us is of no importance. But if we are more than disposable people – if we are more than throw away families – if we are grateful for God’s blessing upon our house – then, we will walk humbly with gratitude as husbands and wives, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren and embrace His blessing in our families, this Christmas and beyond.

God’s blessing of our houses for all ages lies in Jesus Christ’s birth.

Amen.

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