4th Week of Advent
Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16
When King Saul died, God appointed David to be the next king of Israel. A beautiful palace was built for David in which to live. After David was happily settled in his lovely new palace, something began to bother him. Something just didn’t seem right. As soon as he figured out what it was, he summoned the prophet Nathan to the palace.
When Nathan arrived, King David said to him, “Here I am, living in this beautiful palace which was built for me. But what about the Lord? No temple has been built for Him, and He is God!” Nathan then said to David, “If there is something that you desire to do for the Lord, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you and will bless whatever you do for Him.”
Because God is God, He was able to listen in on this private conversation between David and Nathan (just as He listens to our conversations as well). God also knew what was in David’s heart. God knew that David had decided in his heart to have a beautiful and magnificent temple built so that He, too, could have a beautiful home in which to dwell.
God was very pleased that David wanted to do this for Him, just as He is pleased any time we have it in our heart to do things for Him. But unknown to King David, God had already chosen the person who would build a temple for Him. That person would be Solomon, David’s son, who would take David’s place on the throne and rule Israel after David died.
That night, God spoke to Nathan the prophet. He gave Nathan a message to take back to King David. God told David that He had chosen someone else to build a temple for Him. But God was very pleased that David had been thinking about Him and wanted to do this for Him. God promised to bless David and his kingdom in many different ways because of the love that David had shown for Him in his heart.
God loves it when we think about Him. Whether we want to accept this truth or not, to the extent that we love God is to the extent that we will think about Him and look for ways in which to please Him all throughout the day. A person who loves God much will think about God much. He will search for ways in which to please God much. But a person who loves God little will think about Him little. He will search for ways in which to please God little.
There are so many ways that we can follow David’s example when it comes to thinking about God and looking for ways to show Him just how much we love and want to please Him. We don’t have to do great and costly things, like building temples for God. We can do simple, ordinary, everyday things. God is just as pleased with these as He was with David’s desire to build a magnificent temple for Him. It isn’t the task that we do for God that moves His heart; it is the heart for God in which we perform that task that stirs and steals His Heart. This is what gets His attention.
In every minute of our day, two choices are always set before us: the choice to please God or the choice to please self. The choice to do what God would want us to do or the choice to do what we want to do. In every single situation that we may find ourselves in, we should always say: “What would make God happy? What would please Him and show Him just how much He means to me?”
- I have some extra money. Do I splurge and buy something for myself, or do I give this money to the poor? Which decision will please God more? Which decision will show Him just how much I love Him? Which decision will show that God has the most important place in my heart?
- In one more hour, I will go to bed. I can watch television, or I can spend that time with God in prayer. Which decision will please God more?
- Here I am at the mall, trying to decide which outfit to buy. Which outfit would be more pleasing to the Lord? Which outfit would show that I belong to a holy God who has first place in my heart?
- So and So is getting on my last nerve. Should I open up my mouth and give him a piece of my mind, or should I be patient with him and speak respectfully to him? Which decision will please God more?
- I didn’t get much sleep last night. This morning, I’m fatigued and feeling miserable. Do I take my fatigue out on everyone else today, or do I try my best to be just as holy and pleasant as I was yesterday when I had plenty of rest? What decision would speak of my love for God more?
- I have a lot of chores that need to get done today. I don’t like doing them, and I’m not in the mood to tackle them. Do I do them sloppily and with a miserable attitude, or do I do each one as if I were doing it as an act of love for Jesus? Which decision would show Him just how much I love Him?
This is what made David such a man after God’s own heart. David was always thinking of God and what would please Him. Were there times when David sinned? Yes, and he was punished by God for it. But despite David’s human failings, his heart was still bent toward God.
Think about the many different situations that you face moment by moment in your own life, as well as the countless split-second, what-would-please-God-more decisions that have to be made by you when you face them. In today’s journal entry, write about the many different ways in which you can turn those moment-by-moment situations into opportunities to show God, as David did, just how much you love Him and desire to please Him in all things.
This concludes the Let’s Journal Through Advent! series here at Seton!
I hope that as you have journeyed with the Church during this Advent season, you have come to discover for yourself just how much God’s Word is very much for today and must be applied to our lives if we want to be the people that Heaven calls us to become.
In writing out these devotions and prompts for Advent, I did so from a penitential angle in order to continually challenge the readers to confront their own lives in order to see what changes needed to be made in preparation for Christ’s coming. It was an absolute privilege to take this journey with you!
I want to wish you a blessed Christmas and a spiritually prosperous New Year!
May God bless you!
Lorraine E. Espenhain