Covenant and Comfort

Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 7, 2 Corinthians 1, Ezekiel 15, Psalms 56-57

Good morning Bible readers! I don’t often write without a plan or outline but today is different. There are so many good things in our daily scripture readings that I think I’ll just let God lead us through. For those that attend Eastview Christian Church, the message today was about being “all in.” Of course, as I sit down with my three different bibles this afternoon I’m sure it’s no coincidence that all of our readings today speak to being all in for God. For me this message is so important. I really need that reminder to be active in my faith. As our daily lives get busy, we tend to set God aside thinking that there will be a time and place for Him later. We all know that there is no later. Even in the last few days I’ve been asked by a few different people to commit just a bit more of myself to God. It’s a struggle but the answer has to be yes.

Today our reading begins in 2 Samuel. In chapter 7 we learn about the Lord’s covenant with David. We hear the prophet Nathan giving David this message from God,

“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell 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 for my dwelling.” (2 Samuel 7:5-7)

Now, it’s hard for me as a newer Christian to really imagine God following the Israelites around in a tent. But what he is really saying to David is that the important thing to build is the church. Not a physical church, but a community of committed believers. What is important is that he and his people remain faithful. He goes on later this chapter to make some real promises, some very significant covenants. He promises David that he will appoint a place for the Israelites and plant them there. He says that they will be disturbed no more, that violent men shall afflict them no more, that he will give them rest. Nathan goes on to tell David that his throne shall be established forever in God’s steadfast love. Hello. Don’t you just feel like trading places with David today? Imagine the comfort and reassurance he felt in that moment. But we must remember how he got there. He got there by truly committing himself to God. By being all in. By saying yes Lord. Isn’t it exciting that this same covenant is actually available to us simply by saying yes Lord? But somehow we really feel like it’s not so simple. We’d rather have the new iPhone 7 than say yes Lord.

 That theme of idolatry takes us right into the next reading for today, 2 Corinthians 1. Now, we hear from Paul sharing the same message thousands of years later. Again, I just cannot believe that it’s coincidence that God teaching us the same lesson twice in our readings today. It just has to be important! Paul is writing a second letter to the church of Corinth. In the first letter he urges them to deal with moral issues regarding sex and marriage and conscience. But then, there were false teachers in Corinth. People that twisted Paul’s words and turned the Corinthian’s away from faith in Jesus. Paul has been slandered. Young believers were easy prey for false teachers. The NIV Study Bible describes the church at Corinth as weak, surrounded by idolatry and immorality. They struggled with their Christian faith and lifestyle.

Instead of responding in anger, Paul opens his letter with a message about God’s comfort.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:4-7)

Paul is reminding us that when God comforts us, it’s not that our problems go away. He wants us to turn to him out of love for him in times of joy and sadness. Instead, we understand that receiving comfort from Him means strength, encouragement and even hope for our future. The trials we endure now will bring us nearer to him and render us more able to comfort those around us facing the same trial. God is asking us to be all in today. He wants to be our one and only. I love hearing Him and seeing Him through is word. Hope you do too.