When is a house not a house?

12 02 2011

Greed, glamour and glory are words that capture the essence of 1980s America, at least as portrayed in the soap opera Dynasty.  Do you remember Blake Carrington and his expansive (and expensive) family?  (If you need a nostaligia fix, why not see if Lovefilm can help.)

We may talk about such prominent or influential families as dynasties, but “dynasty” is really associated with monarchy.

Enter King David.

But first a bit of backstory.

Saul was the first king of Israel and we read about his catastrophic decline in the book of 1 Samuel chapters 8 to 15 in the Old Testament section of the Bible.  The prophet Samuel is given the task of finding a new king.  Where do you start?

God gives him a clue – he’s one of Jesse’s sons.  Samuel goes to Bethlehem, finds Jesse and asks to see his sons so that he can choose the new king.  Seven boys are paraded before him and still Samuel doesn’t have a positive vibe.  Finally he says, “Are these all the sons you have?”  I think there’s a tone of desperation here, don’t you?  Samuel is relieved though to find that Jesse has a Frank Lampard (Number 8 ) waiting to come on…the youngest son, the lad who tends the family’s flock of sheep, David.  “He is the one!”

David is anointed as king once in the presence of his family, later in his tribe, and finally over the whole country.

But ostentatious living causes a problem for David.  He’s living in a palace and yet there is no temple, no house, for God.  He wants God to have a suitable home, a place of glory.

But God has other ideas (as he often does).  He doesn’t want a “house”, a building.  Instead he promises David that he will have a “house” of a different kind, a dynasty.  The promise finds ultimate fulfilment in Jesus, who was born of the tribe of Judah and the house of David… a dynasty of self-giving, unassuming…

“Glory…
            to God in highest heaven,
  and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”  (Luke 2:14)

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