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Last updated March 21.

Feb. 17, 2014 issue

Tags: Bible

Water of baptism thicker than blood

March 2 — 2 Samuel 7:4-16; March 9 — Ps. 89:35-37, Isaiah 9:6-7, Matt 1:18-21

By Patrick Nafziger

We use words like suit­cases, don’t we? We pack each one carefully depending on where we intend to take it. We fold, tuck and cram bits and pieces of meaning into our words until, after awhile, they get worn out. A zipper breaks or a seam tears, and we find ourselves in need of a new piece of luggage.

One good example is the word “family.” It’s been used so heavily in recent years that I think its days of heavy lifting are over. Yet we continue packing and repacking this word with meaning depending on where we want to go.

We are the family of God. We vote on family values. We focus on the family. Grandparents love to show off their families. My favorite example is the picture frame with the deceptively scripture-like words of inspiration revolving around the edge: “Faith, Hope, Love, Family.”

And I thought the greatest of these was love.

This passage from 2 Samuel troubles me because it lends itself so well to perpetuating the myth that biological offspring are the keys to God’s kingdom. That our hope is in preserving the family line at any cost. That blood is indeed thicker than water — even the water of baptism.

Friends, this ought not be. Not even when verses like this one are so plentiful in our Bible: “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom” (2 Sam. 7:12).

We don’t need any more help in elevating the task of procreation. So let me offer an alternative understanding.

What’s going on in 2 Samuel is a magnificent reversal.

David plans to build God a glorious house — a temple. The prophet Nathan encourages him to do this. But then God speaks. God not only refuses to accept the gift David has planned, but he goes on to turn the tables, promising to establish David’s “house” instead.

How often are our own best-laid plans turned on their heads in the service of God?

continued on next page »


  • I like your idea of God establishing the 'house of David.' Interesting thought!

    You state that Solomon was not a legitimate son of David, born of an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba.

    I would offer that he was legitimate. The son born of the adulterous relationship died (2 Samuel 12:15-18). Solomon was conceived after they were married thus making him legitimate.

    - Daniel Wenger (feb 25 at 11:20 p.m.)

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