Don’t miss this Old Testament reading from the Book of Samuel for the day before Christmas. It says so much about the mystery we celebrate. King David tells the Prophet Nathan that he’s going to build God a kingly palace like his own in place of the tent where the ark of the covenant was being lodged. It’s the right thing to do. Like the grand palace in the picture above.
But God says in reply: “Should you build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel.I have been with you wherever you went.” There is no way you can match God’s love, David is told. The door to a stable is more accessible than the door to a palace. And it will always be open.
“The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’” (2 Samuel 7)
In this great prophecy, called the “Dynastic Oracle,” God promises to be with David and his descendants forever. God will give him an heir whose kingdom will be firm. “I will be a father to him and he a son to me.” Even if his heirs are unworthy, sinful, God will not turn away, as God did with Saul. His promise stands unbroken, forever.
How often in the gospels Jesus is called “Son of David.” He is no passing visitor, come and gone. His kingdom endures; his throne stands forever. He will never turn away.
We’re reminded of this great promise each morning at prayer in Zechariah’s canticle: “He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant, David…” The tender compassion of our God. like the dawn, is given to us each day.