• Education Forums

Bible Study Guide for Sunday, July 18, 2021

July 17, 2021
  • 2 Samuel 7:1-14a
  • Ephesians 2:11-22
  • Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
  • Psalm 89:20-37



In last week’s passage David joyfully brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The Ark of the Covenant was the very holiest object for the Israelites.  It contained the original two tablets of the Ten Commandments and represented the very presence of God.  The people had built the Ark at the base of Mount Sinai and carried it with them throughout their forty years in the desert and their entry into the Promised Land.  Through all this time there has been a movable Tabernacle surrounding the Ark. 

Now that David has settled in as king and the Kingdom seems stable, David thinks he should build a Temple.  How can David live comfortably in a house of cedar while the Ark of the Covenant stays in a tent?  Isn’t this ungrateful?  Isn’t David forgetting the God who brought him here? Of course it is right and proper to build a fine Temple to house the Ark.  David’s plan seems to make sense and Nathan the prophet tells him to proceed until that night God tells him to hold back. God has done mighty works from the tabernacle and never once asked Israel’s leaders to build a Temple.

Elsewhere in the Bible the story is told a little differently.  In 1 Chronicles, God tells David not to build a Temple because David is a warrior and has shed blood.  That isn’t present in 2 Samuel.  There is no sense here that David is somehow unworthy of building the Temple.  Instead God’s point seems to be that David is misunderstanding their relationship.  God doesn’t need anything that David can provide.  God is not looking for David to build a house for the Ark (and by extension, for God).  Instead God is the provider.  God is giving the people of Israel a place where they can live in safety and peace, and God will give David a house – in the sense of a dynasty – and will establish an eternal kingdom for David’s descendant.

In one sense that descendant is David’s son Solomon, who does build the Temple and the Spirit of God inhabits it.  In another sense, that descendant is Jesus (who is sometimes addressed as “Son of David”).  In today’s passage we see Jesus constantly on the move (like the Ark and Tabernacle had been on the move).  He gives his apostles rest while Jesus cares for the people, teaching and healing.

Have there been times when you thought you needed to Do Something Great For God that God had not needed or asked for? Are there ways in which it is hard to ask God to provide for you? Today’s collect asks God to “mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask.”  What might that mean for you?

Author: Kristen Filipic


At "Educational Forums," enrich your spiritual journey by exploring our resources including videos of lectures, essays by priests, and other pieces about our faith, our church, and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus in the 21st century.