An old saying goes like this: “History predicts the future.” Today’s psalm is betting on that probability. God is lauded as one who is righteous, just, steadfast, and faithful. To validate this extraordinary list of attributes, the psalmist rehearses God’s promises to King David. While King David is no longer with us, the promises made to David continue into the present and, presumably, the future. Even when current events show no similarity to the promised forecast, the promises still hold.
Leaders come and go, and some leaders are better than others. Still, the psalmist declares that God’s promises supersede leadership particularities. David certainly had his list of foibles—adultery (2 Sam. 11:4), murder (2 Sam. 11:15), and poor parenting skills (2 Sam. 13:21) just for starters. And yet David was remembered as “a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes” (Acts 13:22).
Years later, the psalmist reminds us that as leaders come and go, God’s promises are not leader-dependent. They are faith-dependent. They depend on people of faith who believe the promises, recognize the vision for righteousness and justice, and live accordingly regardless of current events. For a nation that purports to be founded on “Judeo-Christian values,” we would do well to heed the psalmist’s advice. The leader we have, no matter how popular or dominant, will not accomplish God’s purpose without the faith-filled actions of people who practice righteous behavior, seek justice for all, and offer their lives for the betterment of others. Even David could focus on those principles once he understood that God’s purposes would always win the day.
God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power; crown thine ancient church’s story; bring her bud to glorious flower. Amen. (UMH, no. 577)
David was God’s anointed king over Israel. He believed God desired a house, a Temple worthy of God. But God wanted David to understand that only God can build things that truly last. Thus, God promised to construct a dynasty from David’s family. From this line will eventually come the ultimate King, the Messiah, who will rule God’s people forever. The Messiah will complete God’s work of uniting all people as children of God, and the author of Ephesians declares that this has happened through Christ. All God’s people—Jew and Gentile—are now part of a holy, spiritual temple. In Mark, Jesus shows that part of being a great king is showing compassion. He puts aside his own desires to help those in need of guidance and healing.
• Read 2 Samuel 7:1-14a. Do you prefer stability or flexibility? What are the advantages of each?
• Read Psalm 89:20-37. What has been your experience with organizations or churches that are leader-dependent?
• Read Ephesians 2:11-22. When have you found yourself employing binary thinking: black and white with no shades of gray? How has that limited your focus?
• Read Mark 6:30-34, 53-56. When have you had an experience of illness or accident that left you isolated from community? How did that increase your awareness of others in that situation as you moved to health?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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