Sermon, Sunday July 22.
Pentecost 8B, Series: After God’s own heart. Final
16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. ’”
“Less is more”. This is an old music saying. It is used by people in orchestra, choirs and bands. I think it originally came from the Jazz music tradition, where musicians can get a bit too busy and can overplay their instrument to the point that the music gets close to a cacophony!
“Less is more”, means that if each person plays their part, simply, skillfully and with sensitivity to overall sound of the orchestra or band, the overall sound is balanced, open and beautiful. I as an individual become less so that the music is more.
”Less is More”, can also be applied to being a person after God’s own heart. God always is more and has more for us, and so, we can be and do less – in fact, we need to do less and so that God is more in our family, workplace and friendship circle.
This is what David learned…
David is now undisputed king going about task of building a nation – government, buildings, worship centre, taxation, education etc….. He is in the business of establishing his kingdom as king.
It is totally expected that David would now ask God if he is the one to build a temple for the Lord in the new capital city, Jerusalem. This would be a fitting thing to do, since the Ark of the Covenant which he has had brought to the city (as we heard last week) is still in a tent.
Building a temple is the obvious thing to do. It would be a sign of permanence and stability for the nation and fitting for the Lord’s name and for the faithful worship of the Lord with all the furniture, sacrificial system and living out of the Law. The temple would say to a nation that the worship of the Lord is at the centre of the nation’s life and mission – a very good message!
But David will see that in being a person after God’s own heart, “Less is More”!
David is bowled over by what response the Lord gives to his right and good request to build a dwelling place for the Lord – a temple. God tells David he has a much bigger plan! David wants to build a house for the Lord. The Lord says he will give David an everlasting global kingdom! David is building a kingdom and a building for God’s presence to be. The Lord is building an eternal, global and even cosmic community!
16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[b]; your throne will be established forever. ’”
David learns that for a person after God’s own heart, God is more and we are less! He is also learning that because God always has more for us than we can imagine or even dare to ask for, we actually need to be and to do less. Why? So God can be more.
2 Samuel 7 is right up there in terms of status and importance with other BIG Old Testament moments. This promise of an everlasting kingdom in the family of David is right up there with Genesis 1: creation of people, Genesis 3; our fall,; Genesis 12, the promise of land, name, mission and population to Abraham……
David gets what any self-respecting national leader would desire but never get– a guaranteed future in God’s blessing for eternity! What a gift! David and his descendents are now an everlasting kingdom that will never fade, be destroyed or come to end!
Can you think of a time when you were as humbled and invigorated as David would have been when he was confronted with the BIGNESS and the LOVE of his God in giving him a gift that David would have never even dared to ask for and thought would have been impossible, even for the Lord?
Can you remember a time when you just had to utter those words, “God is good!” in amazement that he would treat you so well and give you such hope and joy and help – much more than you expected or dared to ask for?
God always has much more for us than we can imagine or ask for. This is what David discovered and what Israel based their life and hope on for the generations after this foundational promise.
God is always more and he promises to bring more into our lives through the promised New David – the Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus always has a bigger picture, more to give, a grander vision, a hopeful plan, a winning way ahead.
How BIG is God?! How grand are his plans and how gracious that he would give such a cosmic promise with everlasting ramifications to a person after his own heart, like David.
Of course we should know how this is. We have received the same grand plan, great gift, and loving promise. When we were baptized into the new King David and reborn into the Kingdom of the King Jesus, we received this promise too.
We are “living the dream” as the holy baptized people of the living Jesus who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit to fulfill our vocation to participate in God mission to share the love and hope of Jesus with everyone.
Whatever comes our way, we can trust that our baptism, our identity, our place in Jesus and his church will last forever, even beyond what looks and feels like the end – death itself.
If this is all true, then why do WE want o be MORE and do MORE to the point that God is LESS?
- Why are we still so busy being more and God being less?
- Why are we so worried about the church and about St Petri, as if it all depends on us being MORE and God being less?
- Why do we find ourselves often concerned with very small things that don’t really mean much in the plans of the Lord for us?
- Why do we sometimes find ourselves giving up on God’s promises by building our own little kingdom’s and bigger barns for more and more goods, services, status, people and accomplishments to feel “secure” knowing that our security is not in these passing things but in the Lord Jesus?
Friends, people after God’s own heart need to be and do less, trusting it is always best when God is more – heard more, pondered more, asked more, trusted more.
How can you be less and God more in your life? How can we dwell in Jesus’ word more by doing less?
For the next 6 weeks, there will be a focus on one bible text at St Petri. We will not be having the usual three bible reading in our Services. We will be hearing and re-hearing that famous parable of the Prodigal Son that Jesus tells – over and over again.
People after God’s own heart know that the Word of God is an event, not just information. Every time you hear the same bible text it hits you differently because you change and the Spirit of Jesus is voicing that word. It is Jesus’ word, and so it has a life of its own, even when spoken through a human voice – which is almost always is!
Friends, less is more. Doing less is dwelling in God more and he always has more for us that we can imagine or dare to ask for.
What will you be asking the Lord for in these next 6 weeks of one bible text? What dreams have you got? What plans have you made or would like to make?
Where would you ask the Lord to be present in your life – what problems need fixing, what wounds need healing, what sin needs forgiving, what lifestyle choice need demolishing, what darkness needs enlightening?
Less is more. Our less is good because God is more.
Stop doing so much now and listen, talk, ponder, seek and share Him. It is always best when he is more.