Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. –2 Samuel 7:10-16
I like the American Indian concept of the land that the land including animals and vegetation are available for our use but not to be owned by anyone. This tenet was a major cultural difference from the viewpoint of the European explorers who first settled in what they called the New World. To the American Indian, the European name for the indigenous people here, the earth and all that it includes was as old as time. I think God’s words to Nathan speak more closely to the American Indian sense of the world than the European sense. Indeed, in the Hebrew tradition, God made the world for the benefit of the humans God also created. 2 Samuel attests to the ongoing nature of that arrangement.
Now I do not take this scripture to mean that the only place we can feel close to God is in a tent or a house or a great temple. God is present to us everywhere. Our energies are not to be vested in structures but our love for God and others. I do think God wants all people to be able to live at peace in a warm and safe place and that is the promise he extends in this scripture. We were given the assignment by God to take good care of the earth, which we sometimes seem to forget.
With this background, it is heartbreaking to see the offspring of Abraham fighting regarding who owns Jerusalem and some followers of Christ egging it on in the hopes of hastening Armageddon. God sets the standards for the use of God’s land. I do not believe humans can manipulate God into doing their will and I know God’s greatest joy flows from the love we have for God and one another not who wins battles over ownership of any part of what God provides for us.
Prayer: Lord, enable us to be good stewards of your earth. Groom us in the art of sharing and help us appreciate the diversity of ways we each can show our love for you and each other. Amen.