God With Us
This is the final week of Advent and today we look at the incarnation. That is the part of the advent message that focuses on Jesus taking on flesh and dwelling among us.
We are probably all familiar with the passage from Luke 1, when the angle visits Mary but we are probably not as familiar with the Old testament passage. The reading from 2 Samuel at first glance might seem out of place. It may not appear very Christmasy. This passage however, is very central to the central to the Christmas message. It is often referred to as God’s covenant with David.
In the Old Testament we are presented with a picture of who God is, as He has revealed Himself to the people of Israel in certain historical events. When we see who God has revealed himself to be in those events, we see how and why God has acted in that manner, Then that helps us to understand how we interact with God in our relationship with Him. Jesus Christ today. Fot Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever-Hebrews 13:8.
SO today, I will look at this Old Testament passage from 2 Samuel -See if we can get a picture of God from it, then we will look at the Gospel passage from Luke and see if it is the same Picture then we will look at the New testament passage from Romans and see how it applies to us.
I’ll begin with tart with 2 Sam, chapter 7.
A long time ago there was a king, his name was David. You are probably familiar with Him. Now, over the course of David’s life he faced huge challenges. You would be hard pressed to find someone in all of history who had as many life-changing experiences as David. He tended sheep, killed bears, and giants. He was a mighty warrior, and he was pursued armies, and kings. Throughout all that, he had a love for the Lord, that was also unmatched.
In the first 7 verses of this passage David, the King, sought to do something that would preserve his legacy. Something good. Since he loved the Lord, he thought, why not build a house of the Lord, a temple to the God of Israel. He tells this idea to Nathan the Prophet. Nathan, I want to build a temple to the Lord! he says So, Nathan says to him great idea David. Right! I mean what can go wrong--, do whatever you think is best it cant be a bad thing to build a temple to the Lord Right? This MUST be what the Lord would want right?
Well. not exactly. That night Nathan the Prophet hears from the Lord. Now, we are not told exactly how that happened. But, Nathan hears very clearly what the Lord says. This is not a nudge, or a tug on a heart. Nathan hears the voice of the Lord, and God says.
5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’
Nope God never asked for a house, So, Nathan the prophet tells David that God has never said to build the temple.
A lot of times we think we know what is best for someone don’t we. But, do you know what? The best Christmas gifts are the ones not on someone’s list. Right? The best Christmas gifts are the ones that come from knowing the person so well, that you just know what they would want right?
If David’s plan was well thought out, and if he would have looked at who God was, he probably would have known that God was not asking for a house. Perhaps David’s plan was a bit self serving. So, God gently reminds David to look back who He is-
-- I have not had a house from the day I brought the Israelites out-what makes you think I need one now? I have moved from place to place-with them? Have I ever asked for a house? I was with them in the midst of them as they moved about.
When we pick up the passage for today at verse God explains more to David How he has been working and what he is going to do.
8 “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth.
The first thing God does, is to give David the picture of who God is and where David stands. If you stop and think about it-Pride has no place in our relationship with the Lord.
God says to David-- I took you from the field—I appointed you ruler over the people Israel. I suppose David was tempted to think that His amazing courage and skill at fighting Goliath was why he was king right? Hey God did you see me? I was not afraid. I slayed that giant-I was great! God says- I took you from the pasture I appointed you ruler- and by the way I have been with you wherever you have gone…
Well true God-but I fought those enemies right? I was tough! Did you see that God? God says well, not exactly David- I have cut off all your enemies. And I am not done yet kid....
I am going to make you name great-In fact like the names of the greatest men a=of all the earth.
10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “ ‘The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you:
And here is irony for you— God is going to do for David and the people- what David wanted to do for God. Do you see that? David set out to build a house for God right? No No God says- I am going to build a house for you !
David is really going to help out God right and do this nice thing for him, and God says, David - I made you who you are- I went everywhere with you, I protected you, -- Now I will give you a legacy- I will be the one to establish a house for you!
ANd here is how I am going to do it....
12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom.
After you, I will raise up your offspring. and I will do essentially what I did with you-I will establish His kingdom.
13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
By the way-He is going to build the temple- then His throne will go on forever---
How can that be? How can a throne go on for ever? Forever is a long time?
And what happens if He strays from God? Will the throne continue?
14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.
Unless somehow the royal line extends into the immortal—Unless God---is His father-- And if God keeps the throne going than it can happen.
15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ ”
So God makes this promise to David---The kingdom of David is going to be established-forever-
Now, the Nation of Israel is keenly aware of this promise. They have been aware of it for generation after generation. However, over the years it does not look very much like this promise will be fulfilled. T There is no king on the throne. Well, there is King Herod. But King Herod doesn’t really rule-is he a puppet king with no real authority, He is not even Jewish-He is an Edomite. Rome has invaded, and is the ruling power -
So what is the deal? Did God’s word somehow fail?
Along comes the most unlikely candidate- A young woman from the outskirts of the big city- What can she do against Rome, against the puppet regime of Herod, how can she put the word of God , the promise of God back on the table? The answer is -SHE CAN”T but God can. And God is zealous at preserving His promises.
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
God sends an angel , to a girl pledged to be married to who? Joseph- see this-to a descendent of David-
Hmm maybe God’s word is being fulfilled.
28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
He will be --Son of the most high, the Lord will give Him the throne--- There it is----Hundreds of years of this promise outstanding and here it is--
God will establish that Throne and kingdom He promised through this child born to this little girl on the outskirts of town---- This is the promise that the nation was looking for.
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
This idea is very far-fetched- This promise by God in place for generations this monumental promise is now being fulfilled, and Mary is not even pregnant.
How can this promise be true?Mary is thinking I’m not even trying to be pregnant, and now I am going to have baby? How?
Now, I wonder, what would some people think at this point---some people might have said, ok, Now I know what to do-I will have to go get pregnant right? God said- Now I must go out and get pregnant. I mean why isn’t she thinking that? Have you ever thought about that? Instead this is what we read right? How can this be?
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
God is going to do this- The Holy Spirit will come on you-The power of the most High will over shadow you-See it is not about you Mary. God is going to it.
God is coming in the flesh to establish this kingdom and fulfill his promise that he made to David so long ago.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
For no word of God will ever fail…God does this to KEEP His word-God’s word is who He is-He is faithful, and His promises are true.
Is this similar to David earlier- David Says I am going to build a house for God, and God says, better yet I’m going to build your house. Now Mary. God says I will give you a Child.
This is the center of the Christmas message. The center of the incarnation. That God-- does for us what we cannot do. God comes to us. Jesus comes to us. The word takes on flesh and dwells among us in relationship
This is the difference between religion and relationship-Religion says you have to do it. Do something to work your way to God whatever that may be. The Bible says God will do it God will rescue you. God comes to us...
1 more text.
This is the Romans passage-It is the closing of Paul’s letter to the Romans.
25 Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past,
Now to Him who is able to establish You. To the The one who is able to establish you. That is to establish you and me. And all those who here the gospel message. Paul identifies God as -the God who is ABLE TO ESTABLISH YOU-DO you need to be established,
To the one who took David out of the pasture and protected Him from his enemies
To the one who came to Mary in a little town, to establish His promise in the kingdom.
T the own who made a promise -by His word that--He will have a descendant of David to reign on the throne forever.
This same God is able to establish you. It does not matter where you are today, It does not matter what you have done, It doesn’t matter all your fancy degrees, or hard work or earnings, or how well you have done. God will establish you
Jesus comes to you Her is able to establish you according to His gospel.
What is the Gospel?The gospel is Jesus the God-man was born to a virgin named Mary in the town of Bethlehem, and lived the perfect life and died on the cross for your sins and rose three days So that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,. This is the mystery of ages past that He planned this and did this
26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith—
So that all gentiles might come to the obedience that comes FROM faith— That by our faith in HIm-We will come to obedience
27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
So that God gets the glory----
This is SO not about us. But we do fit into the picture I have 4 takeaway’s for you today.
1. Don’t forget where you came from.
God called David out of the fields, God went to the town of Galilee in Nazareth. God comes to you. NO matter where you are or what your past is-
Where are you today right now? Working toward God on your own merits your own goodness, the things you are doing for God? Are you caught in sin? Do you fear the judgement of God?
While we were still sinners Christ died for us.
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God come to you in your place. There is not a place that Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord cannot reach.
2. God is with us.
The wages of sin is death, yet by the mercy of God you are alive today to hear this message-God has preserved you, he has kept you until now, Just as he protected David, he kept Davids enemies from destroying him. He protected Mary keeping her until to betrothed to man in the line of David to fulfill his purpose-He has kept you to hear his gospel. His promise from ages past now revealed when the time has reached its fulfillment.
3. Look to what God will do-
God took David and established his name making him great. God has preserved His kingdom forever. God made Mary highly favored. For those who call on the name of the Lord they will be saved. Look to what God does to those who are saved. from the book of Ephesians.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
4. Remember what God does.
God does this-For His glory-You didn’t do it. He did it for His glory. You were not good enough-Jesus came to die for you cause you were not good enough.
You did not choose him cause you were smarter than the next guy- He called you because God redeems the sinner. He calls to for His glory.
He Comes, He calls He rescues He dies, so that you may live forever for His glory
He dwells with us, He takes on flesh and raises you from the dead for His glory.
We need a savior Our savior Has come Jesus has
repent and be saved.
2. God is with you
3. Look to what God will do.
4. Remember what God does