Stroll through Scripture for October 22, 2023

Stroll through Scripture for Sunday, October 22, 2023 assigned reading – 2 Samuel 5:1-5; 6:1-5; Psalm 150 (Narrative Lectionary)

Since the beginning of September, we have been following the Narrative Lectionary.  A lectionary is simply a schedule of readings, a sort of path through Scripture and the church year.  One of the wonderful things about the Narrative Lectionary is its focus on people’s stories, hence the name “Narrative.”  

We’ve heard small sections of some pretty important figures of the Hebrew Scriptures – Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Ruth, and this coming week we get a small but significant part of David’s story – when he is anointed king of Israel and moves the Ark of God to Jerusalem. 

There are few important items to make note of in this passage.  Location is important.  Whenever Scripture mentions a location, we need to pay attention.  Location sets up context.  This is still true today.  If I tell you a story is based in Washington, DC, certain things probably come to mind.  If I were to tell you that a story was taking place in Swatara Township, you’d have a different set of expectations. 

This Sunday’s passage talks about Hebron.  This is an ancient city approximately 20 miles south of present-day Jerusalem.  It’s where Abram traveled to after he and his nephew Lot separated and where God made a covenant with him in Genesis 13.  Abraham lived in Hebron and bought a cave as a burial site for him and his family and is still known in the Jewish faith as the Cave of the Patriarchs.  Hebron would become David’s capitol for seven and a half years before moving it to Jerusalem.  And it’s where David’s rebellious son, Absalom, would set up himself as king against David, only to fail miserably.  Needless to say, Hebron is an important location which emphasizes the importance of God’s blessing and faithfulness.

The second location that is important is Baale-judah, which is where the Ark of God was being kept in the “house of Abinadab.”  This location is not far from Jerusalem in the hill country.  Abinadab was the son of Saul, the first king of Israel, and he had died in battle beside his father.  But the Ark remained in the “house of Abinadab” until David comes to fetch it, as we hear in this week’s reading, with intent to move it to Jerusalem where he intends to move his capital city.  Now the Ark and the king, God’s anointed one, will both call Jerusalem their home.  The point being to again show the importance of God’s blessing and presence for the well-being of Israel.  

The Narrative Lectionary usually only offers one reading for a Sunday due to the fact that most of the readings selected are a bit lengthier.  But Sunday includes Psalm 150 as part of the reading.  It’s a wonderful compliment to the beginning of 2 Samuel 6 when we hear about the celebration that is taking place as David and the entire company move the Ark of God to its new home in Jerusalem.  While 2 Samuel 6 describes what is taking place, Psalm 150 gives us the perspective of what it might have been like to experience witnessing the Ark of God being moved and how incredibly joyous a celebration it would be to unite the Ark, which represented the presence of God, with God’s anointed ruler of God’s people Israel.  

For further reflection:  Locations matter.  They set the context of the story.  In your own life story, what locations have you lived in or been too?  What are the assumptions about those locations?  How does God show up in those locations, either as expected because of the location, or in spite of the expectations?  How has God’s presence, blessing, and faithfulness been made present in these locations?

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