Day 345: December 11, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

2 Samuel 7:1-17
1 When the king had settled into his palace and the Lord had given him rest on every side from all his enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I am living in a cedar house while the ark of God sits inside tent curtains.” 3 So Nathan told the king, “Go and do all that is on your heart, for the Lord is with you.” 4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: 5 “Go to My servant David and say, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you to build a house for Me to live in? 6 From the time I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today I have not lived in a house; instead, I have been moving around with a tent as My dwelling. 7 In all My journeys with all the Israelites, have I ever asked anyone among the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel: Why haven’t you built Me a house of cedar?’

8 “Now this is what you are to say to My servant David: ‘This is what the Lord of Hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from following the sheep to be ruler over My people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you. I will make a name for you like that of the greatest in the land. 10 I will establish a place for My people Israel and plant them, so that they may live there and not be disturbed again. Evildoers will not afflict them as they have done 11 ever since the day I ordered judges to be over My people Israel. I will give you rest from all your enemies.

“‘The Lord declares to you: The Lord Himself will make a house for you. 12 When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod and with blows from others. 15 But My faithful love will never leave him as I removed it from Saul; I removed him from your way. 16 Your house and kingdom will endure before Me forever, and your throne will be established forever.’” 17 Nathan spoke all these words and this entire vision to David.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

“When the king had settled into his palace and the Lord had given him rest on every side from all his enemies…” —2 Samuel 7:1

Ministry Vision in the Margins
by Mike Harland, Member of Brentwood Baptist Campus

In science, it’s called “Cause and Effect.” A simple Google search reveals the plethora of material written on the subject and even a supposed connection to Buddhism that some historian believes he discovered. I’m not sure about that part.

Simply explained, “Cause and Effect” is when one thing happening triggers something else happening over and over. Like, if you put water in a freezer, it becomes ice. Cause and Effect. Simple enough.

In this story, we see a classic example of a holy cause and effect that I believe we need in our lives today more than ever. The king tells the prophet that he’s convinced God should have a place where His presence can dwell. After all, the king has a home, so why shouldn’t Holy God have the same?

The prophet agrees with the premise and supports the vision of the king. In the meantime, God weighs in on the idea and extends it further to not only what should be built, but also who should build it. It wouldn’t turn out the way the king envisioned, but the vision would be fulfilled by David’s offspring.

The prophet delivers even more information about the project and relates a powerful promise as well. And all of that part of this story is what I would call the “effect.”

So what was the “cause” part of the equation?

We see it in the first verse of the chapter: “When the king had settled into his palace and the Lord had given him rest on every side from his enemies…”

The rest that David enjoyed after an intense season of defending and defeating his enemies while leading God’s people caused a space to open up in David’s heart for a vision to develop. It was in the rest the Lord had given him that David found direction for the next phase of his life. And this vision was so huge that it would outlive David’s capacity to fulfill it. It would take generations to accomplish this God-sized vision.

Maybe the reason we so seldom have a clear view of the great things God has for us is that we rarely find that place of rest where the vision can come. We have no time to dream and no way to listen. We’re so busy with the here and now that we cannot imagine what might be. The problem with that reality is that the vision for ministry comes in the margins of our life—those places where we can be still and quiet and find rest for our souls.

Instead of doing the same thing over and over, maybe it’s time to lay down a few of our swords and spend some time resting with the Lord to find out what He wants us to do next. What He puts in our hearts just might outlive us if we do.

Reflection Questions

  1. Do you find yourself always talking about how busy you are? Is your schedule so tight that you have to make an appointment with yourself?
  2. Is there enough space in your life that God could break into with a vision for your future?
  3. What enemies occupy your energy now?
  4. How could you adjust your life to allow for those times of rest where the fresh visions can be born?

About the Author

Mike Harland

Originally from Corinth, Mississippi, Mike grew up playing sports and his guitar, and writing and singing songs. After he graduated from Delta State University, where he majored in music and played baseball, Mike earned his Master of Church Music degree at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

For 25 years, Mike served in churches as a worship pastor across Mississippi and Texas. Along the way, songwriting became an important part of his life’s work. His songs have been recorded by Christian artists and arranged for church choirs. He has more than 200 published works that include a number of musicals and collections.

In 2005, LifeWay Christian Resources asked Mike to lead the development of music and worship materials for churches as Director of LifeWay Worship. In this role, he writes songs and articles, and he speaks about worship across the U.S. and around the world.

In 2008, Mike was the Editor of a new hymnal for Baptists. He also co-authored the book and Bible study Seven Words of Worship with Christian Music industry veteran Stan Moser. Later, in 2011, New Orleans Seminary awarded him the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Mike is married to Teresa and they live in Franklin, Tennessee with their youngest son John. They’ve been members of Brentwood Baptist since 2005.