Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.’
But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. –2 Samuel 7:1-9
Sharing a tent with others is a more intimate experience than sleeping in separate rooms in a house. The Greek word for tent is skénoó * used in John 1:14 regarding the word being made flesh translated as and lived among us. A variant of the word skēnōsei appears in Revelation 21:3 translated as He will dwell with them following Christ’s return. A more exacting translation is he will tabernacle with them. All this is to say that the word tabernacle means more than just a tent. It describes dwelling in intimate communion with the resurrected Christ. God’s communion with Nathan in our scripture above is also expressing this relationship with God from the Hebrew perspective.
Nathan reports to David that memorializing God with a fine structure is not God’s greatest desire. God’s greatest desire is living intimately with each of God’s children. Relationship matters.
Setting aside time in our lives to spend with God assures God of our love but also allows us the opportunity to grow and learn from God’s wisdom. Read Nathan’s and God’s dialogue provided above again. How can we structure our alone time with God to enrich our relationship with God? Do we listen at least as much as we talk? I find it very difficult to shut the world totally out. It helps me to do physical exercises that require me to count the number of steps or repetitions. I find I can be still and know that God is God easier following this kind of distraction. If you cannot be still on your own, you might want to try this. I will confess I have walked a lot of extra uncounted steps because the world can interfere even with my counting.
Prayer: God of Love, help us understand that what may be missing when we fill empty is you. Infuse us with your love so that we might love you more dearly and others more nearly. Amen.