There is no God, but God
Scripture: I Chronicles 17: 1-16; 20
David has to learn the difference between scieatia and spaientia.
The story of David is the single greatest narrative of a human life shaped by family, society, politics, human desire, sin, grief and insight into history warped by a search for power,” said Robert Altar. Bill Moyers said, “The stories we learned in Sunday School correspond with high adventure and the quest of mortals to understand the reality of God.” Theologians call I Chronicles 17 “caesura” a break or pause. Recording the history of David’s movement of Ark to Jerusaleum and the rest of David’s life. In this pause comes the prophetic revelation to Nathan who comes to speak for God. Reason sees simple things, I live in a palace, and God lives in a tent. I should build Him a house. Discernment sees beyond reason to insight. Perfectly reasonable to David, but God does not agree.
2. Spaientia in the Bible requires revelation, here, the night vision of Nathan.
At first Nathan says do what is in your heart for God is with you. Then God comes to Nathan in night. Wisdom of discernment is not basic faith, but adorned faith. The night is a special time for God. In Psalms, 30 times God is addressed in the night. Night is time of fear, prayer and revelation. God tells Nathan, it is presumptious of David to decide when God needs a house. God is always reminding them. “Thus says the Lord,” code word of prophets. Don’t get ahead of God. Listen to what God says. Quiet of night one should listen. Lesson David had to learn.
3. The second art of the night vision is a statement of God’s providence and a promise of God’s protection.
Doctrine of providence is forseeing care and guardianship of God over His creatures, especially those who acknowledge Him as God. God will protect Israel. Short-term prophecy may not be true, but long-term prophecy is always correct. Wars, Babylonian Captivity, and rest come. Ultimately God’s protection is about end of life or time. God will never allow salvation to be destroyed by an event in time. No platitudes in the Bible. God redeems all who are afflicted. Psalms recognize the bleakness, long nights of despair and among all this is a caring presence. David faces all of this so he can learn to depend on God alone.
4. The third part of the vision is the importance of family faith.
God tells David when days are gone and you have gone to ancestors I will raise up a house to you. Establish your name and your son will build a house for me and I will be his Father forever. Lineage of David remembered. Faith needs to be passed down. Great sadness when children fall away from faith. We have an obligation to children to hold them to faith and offer a church that will sustain them. David said, “there is none like thee Oh God!” and his dying words to Solomon are “obey the Lord and keep His commandments.” We are called to give our lives wholly to that God.
5. The final truth: there is no god like God, there is no God but God.
Martin Bruber says, “If a person has sin cannot direct his heart to God.” We are called to move past reason to revelation which draws us to God, discernment helps us stage a revolution against sin, allowing us to live consistent lives for our children and those around us.