Back to the Future
4th Sunday in Advent – B LSB #549:1-4, 7
Text – 2 Samuel 7:16
And your house & your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
This morning’s sermon title is the name of a blockbuster movie that opened in the year 1985. In the plot line, a young man is accidently sent back in time. After ensuring that his interaction there did not erase his future he struggles against the odds to get back to the future. The theme for this morning’s sermon has a similar plot.
In this case, the Son of God has entered time willingly & purposefully to re-establish His kingdom. It had been corrupted & destroyed by mankind’s fall into sin. Due to that disastrous interaction with Satan, the future of mankind was in danger of being erased & the lineage, or house, of David was struggling against the odds to get back to its original future.
The restoration of God’s rule looked to be going well enough with David & Solomon, but quickly went downhill from there. The books of 1 & 2 Kings record the names of 16 different rulers over Israel & Judah each of whose epitaph reads, “[He] did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” Here’s a particular king from Israel as an example:
“Omri did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, & did more evil than all who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:25 ESV) He’d begun ruling only 45 years after Solomon died. The royal line of David, the blood of kings – had already gone rotten. For all practical purposes, David’s bloodline had become so corrupt that it eventually disappeared from view.
It’s a safe bet to believe that Yahweh knew this was coming, David’s decision to replace God’s tabernacle with a house of cedar & stone. So the impending failure of David’s house, in the sense of his bloodline of evil kings, foreshadows how fallible any house of cedar & stone would be that David might build. The Holy Spirit reinforces that thought in Acts 17: “The God who made the world & everything in it, being Lord of heaven & earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life & breath & everything.” (17:24-25 ESV)
Nothing that David builds will last, & the temple that God allowed Solomon to build was destroyed within 400 years. Rather than doing it David’s way, God tells the prophet Samuel to instruct him with these words:
“I will appoint a place for my people Israel & will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place & be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled & you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, & I will establish His kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, & I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever. And your house & your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. (7:10-13, 16 ESV)
Where King David had reached a point in his kingdom that he thought all was well, his heavenly Creator new better. Yahweh understood that it was not He who needed a place to rest, but David, & his descendants, & all of God’s people. David, his descendants & God’s people needed a new future, because the road they were on was doomed.
Is that what today is about – for you? Or, do you feel as if you have your life under control? Clearly, you should be answering, “No!” You see, it wasn’t just the kings following David of which it was spoken, “[He] did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” The book of Judges records 7 different times where it’s also said of God’s people. Here’s chapter 3 verse 7:
“And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God…” Seven years ago a song became a huge hit on ‘youtube.’ The lyrics came about because a 4-year-old, at a mall, saw the lineup of children waiting to see Santa Claus. Having been taught that Christmas is about the birth of God’s Son, this child asked, “Where’s the Line to See Jesus?” Inspired by the question, his grandfather wrote the lyrics for the song of that title in a just a few minutes. Since God’s house is where Jesus has promised to meet us, we should ask the question especially today, right here & now, “Where is the line to see Jesus?”
Like the people of Israel, who did evil in the sight of the Lord, have we forgotten the Lord our God? After the royal bloodline of David disappeared from view there came a time when no prophets were sent by God to speak. That 400 year silence of God ended, so today we celebrate: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Yahweh Himself has come to earth in the flesh, as Jesus Christ, willingly & purposefully in order to restore His creation to its rightful perfection. God does not need a house, but you & I do. Jesus died, & then rose from the dead, so that upon our death we might be taken back to the future, an eternal & everlasting future, in heaven.
When the temple was built, its essential characteristic was its role as the place for the manifestation & presence of God in the midst of His people. That essence did not cease with the destruction of the temple, but culminated in the appearance of Jesus Christ, in whom Yahweh Himself came to His people, as God the Word made human nature His dwelling place.
The essence of the temple will be perfected on the Last Day when the New Jerusalem descends to earth. Revelation 21 tells us that heaven will need no temple for God Himself will be with His people perfectly. Until then, the church & each congregation is the place of God’s presence, veiled as it is in Word & promise & Sacrament.
Through those means, God keeps breaking into our world, our time & our space, saving people from being trapped in the narrow confines of their own existence. False religions reduce all of life to the single dimension of our existence as creatures of this broken world. The OT reading from Samuel, inspired by the true God, leaps out into the future of His people. The bloodline of David, that had disappeared from view reappears in person of Jesus Christ – God & Man. There, ironically, the house of David will be shepherded by the Lamb of God.
In Him, David’s kingdom will be made sure forever. His throne will be established forever. Yahweh will plant His people, so that they may dwell in their own place & be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as today. God’s people will be given rest from all their enemies. David’s future, & ours, is now secure in Christ Jesus.
As Samuel prophesied to David of the coming Messiah, an angel in the Gospel of Luke prophesied to Mary concerning her role in the fulfillment of that prophecy:
“And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb & bear a son, & you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great & will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, & He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, & of His kingdom there will be no end.’”
Every year, as Christmas approaches, children look ahead to opening presents. At the same time, many adults look back fondly to the days when they used to look ahead to opening presents. You & I also need to get back to the future so our existence is not erased in the depths of hell. We need a place where we will never again do evil in the sight of the Lord.
Jesus entered time to rescue us that He might take us back to the future – a future where there will be no time. It is the place we call heaven – the best gift we can ever receive. Merry Christmas. Amen.
Ye seed of Israel’s chosen race, Ye ransomed from the fall, hail Him who saves you by His grace & crown Him Lord of all. Hail Him, ye heirs of David’s line, Whom David Lord did call, the God incarnate, man divine, & crown Him Lord of all. Oh, that with yonder sacred throng we at His feet may fall! We’ll join the everlasting song & crown Him Lord of all. We’ll join the everlasting song & crown Him Lord of all. Amen. LSB 549:3-4, 7.
 Song and Lyrics by Steve Haupt & Chris Loesch
 Luke 2:11 ESV
 Luke 1:30-33 ESV
Pastor Dean R. Poellet