Bethel CRC Lacombe


January 05, 2022 Pastor Jake Boer
Bethel CRC Lacombe
Show Notes Transcript

Happy New Year! It is the first Sunday of 2022 and we will be reflecting on King David’s desire to build a house for God and how God responds by telling David that he will build David’s house. As we reflect on 1 Chronicles 17:1-15, we will look at how God builds our house and what that might look like in 2022. As part of the service, we will also take some time to look back on how God has been at work in our Bethel Church family in 2021. We remember those God called home, those who have left, and those who have joined our family, offering prayer for all 

The Lord will Build Our House  - 1 Chronicles 17:1-15

January 2, 2022


We stand together this morning at the beginning of a new year. I always love New Years because it’s a time to look forward, a time to hope and dream, a time to reset the things you need to reset, but also a time to build on what’s gone well in the past year. The glass is always at least half full at this time of the year, even if it’s a cold glass. This morning we’re reflecting on King David and his desire to build a beautiful house for God. He has just brought the ark of the covenant, the ark built in the wilderness to hold the Ten Commandments, back to Jerusalem. The ark also had two cherubim or angels on the cover of the ark with wings that arched over the top and met over the ark, creating a symbolic place where God would meet his people while they journeyed to the Promised Land. In the time when Israel was wandering through the wilderness, the ark was housed in the tabernacle, an amazingly beautifully constructed tent that God himself designed.

David has firmly established himself as king over Israel and has just finished building a palace for himself, but he’s now filled with a desire to build a place for the ark of the covenant that is worthy of God. This is what kings at that time did, once they were settled into power and taken care of themselves and their closest allies, they shifted their attention to honouring their god or gods by building spectacular temples. David is no different, he wants to honour God by building a beautiful temple for the ark. The prophet Nathan gives David his blessing, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.” 

How often don’t we have great intentions to do something great for God; we do the planning, we find resources, and we get going on our plans only to find out that things don’t work out the way we planned. Sometimes the biggest step we leave out in wanting to do great things for God is to actually spend time talking to and with God about the plans to see if that’s where God is actually leading us. David is planning a great thing for God, but he doesn’t ask God what God’s plans are. So, God goes to the prophet Nathan and tells him, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build me a house to dwell in. I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one dwelling place to another. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their leaders whom I commanded to shepherd my people, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ 

Imagine the disappointment David must have felt! God has done so much for him, as we hear God tell Nathan, taking David from tending sheep to making him king over God’s people. Why not allow David to build a house for God? Here in Chronicles, we don’t really get an answer to that question, instead God turns the focus off of David building him a house to God creating a home for his people and building David’s house, “Now I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed…. I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you: when your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you… he is the one who will build a house for you.” God’s priorities are often different from ours, as the writer of Chronicles reminds us. God is all about his people, which is why he gave his people a whole way of living at Mount Sinai in the Ten Commandments and various other laws that are given to shape them into a distinct people among the nations that reveal who God is. God chose David to create a place where Israel could find peace and build homes of their own; God focuses on his people over his own physical place. As we mentioned New Year’s Eve, as we look back through the pages of Scripture, we discover a God who is worthy of praise, a God whose greatness is more than we could ever imagine. We see a God always at work for his people; a God of mercy and grace.

Later on in chapter 28, David shares with his officials why God chose his son to build the temple instead of himself, “Listen to me, my fellow Israelites, my people. I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, for the footstool of our God, and I made plans to build it. But God said to me, ‘You are not to build a house for my Name, because you are a warrior and have shed blood.’” There’s symbolism here that points to who God is, a God of peace, Jesus himself receives the title in Isaiah Prince of Peace. God is a God who is working towards shalom, who is about building and creating. God chooses a king of peace to build his home as a sign pointing to the kind of God he is. So, David begins gathering the material needed to build the temple; he figures that even though I can’t build it, I can still do my part by making sure that everything is ready for the next king to begin building the temple right away.

It made me think of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3, “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” Now Paul’s criticizing the church in Corinth for quarrelling over who they were following instead of building the church with Jesus the foundation, instead of building up church leaders. David gets the big picture and works towards preparing for the temple, doing his part so his son can then carry on the work and do his part of building. Paul’s focuses on building the body of Jesus, the church, recognizing that we all play our roles in building the church and God brings it all together. Paul goes deeper in verse 16, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” 

As we mentioned on New Year’s Eve, as we look back through the pages of Scripture, we discover a God who is worthy of praise, a God whose greatness is more than we could ever imagine. We see a God always at work for his people, a God of mercy and grace. As we look ahead to 2022, God is going to continue to be at work in the through Bethel. Seeds have been planted, some of them years and years ago by former pastors and leaders in Bethel, some more recently, and now it’s about watering and nourishing those seeds, even while we stay open to other seeds that the Holy Spirit may be planting in Bethel for future growth.

Part of our journey this year is going to be recognizing what the seeds are and how do we go about watering and nourished; some of them are things like mentoring and small groups, both of which are being prioritized as the pastoral elders will be contacting those who have expressed interest in small groups and forming at least two new groups. We have joined a cohort with a number of other churches in our classis that will be focusing on and learning more about mentoring and how it helps churches grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus, each other, and into the community. 

As we move through, and hopefully out of this pandemic in 2022, one of the main focuses from council is the importance on rebuilding fellowship and relationship building ministries in Bethel. And yet, even as we work on these things, we keep turning back to God, asking for the Holy Spirit to guide us. We will place a high focus on prayer for Bethel and for our community to determine the what and how of what Jesus is doing in building Bethel as a blessing to our city and the people in our neighbours and lives, inviting them to join us as we follow Jesus and shape our lives and hearts more and more according to who Jesus is calling us to become in 2022.