After the Israelites gained possession of their new homeland, they looked around and wanted what other tribes had – a king. They begged and complained and whined and eventually God gave them what they wanted. Again.
First Saul, who turned out to be a mess and then David, a king after God’s own heart but a complicated guy with his own issues. In the darkness that inevitably followed God’s people demanded and received what they wanted rather than trusting God with what they need. Eventually God came with a promise (and some needed consequences as well). Here’s the promise:
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it germinate and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater so shall be every word that proceeds from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”. Isaiah 55:10-11
Eleven days from now we will celebrate the birth of Christ. The day will bring its own mix of sacred and profane, joy and heartache if previous holidays are predictive. But no matter what happens on December 25th, what we can know is this: the God of our understanding will accomplish that which he has purposed.
When we forget and begin to believe that our own beliefs, longings, wants and needs, demands, and plans are necessary for God to accomplish his own will – we have fallen into the same trap of self-deception that ensnared the Israelites. Those guys intended to love God and bless others, sometimes. But mostly they kept stumbling over themselves and their own ideas. Even David. Tomorrow we will remind ourselves of why earthly kings are not where we place our hope.