Sometime around the year 1000 B.C., King David longed to build a house for his beloved God, Yahweh. He looked around at his own royal palace in Jerusalem and saw that if even he, just a small human king with a very short reign in the scope of eternity, had such a beautiful place to live, why shouldn't Israel's everlasting King Yahweh have an even richer dwelling place?
David longed to bless his God. But God said no - let Me bless you instead.
"The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. . . . Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."
2 Samuel 7:11b, 16
David wanted to please God, and God turned the tables - giving him a covenant blessing freely, unearned.
A few centuries later, Jeremiah became the spokesperson of God's judgment on the nation that had swayed far from the righteousness of King David. Israel and Judah would be scattered into exile as discipline for their idolatry, and when they finally began to return to their land, they decided they would never fall into such sin again - and so the Pharisees arose to create rules around the rules. They longed to please God this time, to bless Him with their obedience. But God said no - I will bless you instead.
"In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the LORD is our righteousness."
The Jewish people wanted desperately to please God, and God turned the tables - bestowing His own Son freely for their salvation, unearned.
This is the story our God is writing: a story of the unexpected, the undeserved. He is sovereign over the universe and yet instead of demanding rich temples, shrines, and tributes, He gives.
David said, "I will build You a house." God answered, "I will build you a house, a kingdom, and an eternal heritage."
The Jews said, "We will be righteous for You." God answered, "I will be your righteousness, whatever the cost."
And sometimes I say, "I will do whatever I can to please You." But God answers, "I already sent My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased on your behalf."
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith.
Sometimes (at least to me) the Nativity story gets old, overdone, even trite this time of year - but this truth never does: Yahweh is good.
He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and completely without obligation to be gracious toward us - and still, He is. He builds an eternal heritage for the unworthy and gives His own righteousness to those who fall short.
My God is so good.