Bursting with Gratitude Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?… Therefore you are great, O Lord God; for there is no one like you, and there is no God besides you.” 2 Samuel 7:18,22
Have you ever been so awestruck by a gift that you were bursting with gratitude, but hardly knew how to express it?
That seems to be David’s reaction when the prophet Nathan tells him, in 2 Samuel 7:16, God’s message that “Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.” David focuses on God, expresses his own unworthiness, and praises God.
Fast-forward to the genealogy of Jesus in the first chapter of Matthew. David’s (and therefore Jesus’) ancestors included Abraham, who lied to Pharaoh that Sarah was Abraham’s sister rather than wife; Jacob, who cheated Esau out of his birthright; and Judah, who unwittingly fathered Perez, also a forebear of Jesus, with a widowed daughter-in-law. The genealogy lists David as “the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,” not sugarcoating David’s sin of adultery with Bathsheba and, for all practical purposes, murder of Uriah. Solomon married idolatrous foreign women, and overtaxed his people. Solomon’s son Rehoboam followed the foolish advice of peers and made his people’s yoke even heavier. You get the picture – God provided Jesus as our promised Messiah through David’s royal line in spite of ancestors’ sins. Also, Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew, unlike many Jewish ones, names women, including the Gentile women Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth.
God continues to be a God of surprises. He’s bigger than Jesus’ forefathers and foremothers. Bigger than the oppressive Romans of Jesus’ earthly lifetime. Bigger than the current oppressors of Palestine. Bigger than the hostile dividedness in the United States.
Lord Jesus, as hymns say, we need Thee every hour, there is none like You, You have promised good to us, and Your word our hope secures. You – our Redeemer and Savior – are indeed King of kings and Lord of lords, and You shall reign forever and ever. Amen.
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Salisbury, NC
This devotional is a joint project between Christmas Lutheran (Bethlehem) and St. John’s (Salisbury, NC).