Psalm 119:9-16; 2 Samuel 7; John 7:25-44

Psalm 119:9-16: This is where we find the verse that I memorized in fifth grade Sunday School atLake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena: “I treasure your word in my heart, / so that I may not sin against you.” (119:11) Well, actually, I can still remember the KJV version that I actually memorized: “I will hide your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” But now that I am old, it’s verse 9 that resonates: “How can young people keep their way pure? / By guarding it according to your word.” In other words, we align our behavior to God’s word.

Which is also why delivering even a casual acquaintance with Biblical truths would seem to be a fundamental aspect of parenting–and of the church. Is there a guarantee that knowing,  understanding, and accepting the rules of virtue as laid out in the Bible will lead to moral behavior? Probably not, but the absence of knowledge of God’s truth does not create an auspicious beginning of adulthood. As witness society around us.

Then, “I delight in the way of your decrees” followed by “I will meditate on your precepts” followed by “I will delight in your statutes;” (vv 14-16) is fascinating. I’d never noticed the juxtaposition of “delight” and “meditate.”  This certainly says that meditation on God’s law and truths is never an onerous task, but a delight. The question, is, do I red and reflect a duty, or because it is something I look forward to each day?

2 Samuel 7: There is peace at last in Israel and David observes to Nathan that while he has a “house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” (2). Nathan goes off and asks God the big question about “a house” and receives the reply, “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (12,13)

So why couldn’t David build the Temple? One simple reason is that this is history being written hundreds of years after David and Solomon and the authors simply fit history into a retrospective view of God’s plan. The other reason could be that David is the warrior; Solomon is the builder. Whatever the reason, the message to us–and one that Jesus makes clear when he’s talking about working in the Kingdom and on which Paul elaborates several times–is that each of us has a role to play according to our gifts and talents, and the Kingdom prospers when we work according to our gifts.

David accepts this and in his marvelous prayer, he says what we all should be saying, “O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.” David never second-guessed God. Would that I can do the same.

John 7:25-44: John is far more open than the Synoptics as he describes the public reaction to the question of whether or not Jesus was the Messiah. Like modern elections, it sounds as if opinion was pretty evenly split. In an effort to maintain theological order, the Pharisees attempt to have him arrested (for heresy, we presume), but while John does not say directly, Jesus is able to avoid arrest presumably because half the crowd believed he was the Messiah.  Jesus doesn’t seem to help matters as he sounds more cryptic than ever: “You will search for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” (34).

This statement causes some to wonder, “Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?” (35) Which to John’s readers/ listeners is a direct reference to them, since they know that Jesus indeed came to speak to the Greeks (gentiles) as well as the Jews.

There is enormous confusion because of Jesus’ origins. Some know that he comes from Bethlehem from the line of David, but others note that he comes from the outback of Galilee. Others believe the real Messiah would “ do more signs than this man has done.”

The lesson here seems to be that we must accept what Jesus says on faith. He is from God and we are not; therefore, we will not understand him on our own intellectual power. Even when he stood there physically, people could not understand what he was really about. How much more so for John’s listeners and for us?

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