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Advent Devotional #16

Today's devotion from Goshen College:


By Keith Graber Miller, professor of Bible, religion and

SCRIPTURE: II Samuel 7:1-11, 16 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.


Over the last decade our family has had many opportunities
for global travel and extended sojourns -- to the Dominican
Republic, Cuba, Costa Rica, China and Cambodia with ( )Goshen College’s Study-Service
Term program; to Puerto Rico, my spouse's homeland, on
sabbatical; and to Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, China and
Vietnam for family reasons (visiting siblings, taking
vacations and adopting our daughter). In each of these
settings we've been struck by God's presence manifest in
different ways: in the energetic worship of charismatic
Christians in Latin America; in the cathedrals and rich
iconographic traditions of Orthodoxy in Eastern Europe; in
the marginal Christian communities of Asia, struggling to
get a foothold in their home cultures; in many people
seeking justice and peace through faith groups and
non-governmental organizations.

In today’s passage from II Samuel, we see a foreshadowing
of a theological message that comes to fuller fruition in
Christian Scriptures: the reality that God is not bound to
one holy place; God dwells everywhere -- ever tenting,
always on the move -- in God's good and groaning world. When
David offers to build the Lord a temple, God turns this
offer on its head, noting instead that God will give David
and Israel rest from their enemies and from their journey.
God promises to be with David and his people wherever they
go. Although the temple is later built, the trajectory has
been set, foreshadowing the coming of Jesus and the sending
of the Spirit: God is present throughout the world, in all
nations and peoples, guiding and sustaining and
transforming. Amen and amen.


SCRIPTURE: II Samuel 7:1-11, 16 (NRSV)
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord
had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king
said to the prophet Nathan, 'See now, I am living in a house
of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.' Nathan said
to the king, 'Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord
is with you.'

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you
the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in
a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from
Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent
and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the
people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the
tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my
people Israel, saying, 'Why have you not built me a house of
cedar?' Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant
David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the
pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my
people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went,
and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I
will make for you a great name, like the name of the great
ones of the earth. 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 for ever before me; your throne
shall be established for ever.

View all of this season's devotions at

Goshen College


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