Readings for Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, 7/22/12:2 Samuel 7:1-14a, Psalm 89:20-37, Ephesians 2:11-22, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
2 Samuel 7:1-14a:
- David feels bad that he's living in a nice house while God travels via tent in the ark. So he offers to build God a cedar house. And God says, "who says I need a house? I've been doing just fine without one!"
- I think David's impulse is ours - wouldn't it be nicer if we could put God somewhere where we would always know where God was? But we get into trouble when our wanting to know where God is turns into wanting just to control God - period.
- What would it mean if you would just led God travel through your life, and not try to restrict God to only a part of your life?
- Says Chris Haslam, "Overall, a king, on behalf of the people, laments some disaster and blames God for it, but our portion of the psalm recalls what God “spoke in a vision” (v. 19) to Nathan and/or David."
- Our part of the Psalm focuses on God talking about the power and anointing that he gives to David.
- If God was to write a promise out like this for you and what God has planned for your life, what do you think it would say? What do you hope it would say?
- "forever I will keep my steadfast love for him" - God's promise not just to David, but to us too.
- "For [Christ] is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us." Yes, yes, yes!! Oh, what a message we need to hear and live into in this time, this country, world, church, denomination...
- "one new humanity in the place of the two [groups]" - Why do we still live as if Christ had never eliminated the groups we've put ourselves into?
- "peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near" - throughout, Paul is speaking about Gentiles and Jews. But we can always self apply. Do we always see ourselves as "those who [are] near" and everyone else as "far off" from Christ? He brings peace to both.
- This scene takes place immediately after last week's text where John the Baptist is beheaded. Retreating, then, seems to be in response not only to the disciples returning, but also to John's death.
- "compassion for them" - the theme of Jesus' reaction towards the crowds throughout his ministry, even when he wants to be getting away. I wish I could say I always reacted the same way when I'm trying to get away and someone comes to me in need. The Greek word here for compassion is from splanchnizomai, which means literally to "feel bowels of pity" - it is a physical, gut reaction of the insides - your stomach literally turning over in compassion. That's what Jesus feels when he sees the crowds.
- "like sheep without a shepherd" - wandering, aimless, lost, without purpose. That's us at worst, isn't it?
- "rushed about the whole region" - imagine how excited they must have been to have an opportunity to meet with Jesus, considering the communication available to them to let people know he had arrived.
- relentless. The people were relentless in their pursuit of Jesus. Mark even indicates this in the pace of his short but relentlessly paced gospel. Very little rest in this account of Jesus.