July 11 - 2 Samuel 7:1-16

Thursday, July 11, 2013

After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.” 

Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.” 

But that night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying:  “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’ 

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. 

“‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ ”

This passage is a little long, but there is so much in it that fills the imagination.  First of all, we find David, who has become highly successful and as King of Israel has settled into a glorious palace in Jerusalem.  One day it occurs to him that that battered, ragged Tabernacle (in comparison to his wonderful house made of cedar) was not worthy of being God’s home.  It didn't seem fair.

At first, Nathan, the prophet who counseled him, told David that he should do what he wanted, but then God came to Nathan and said, “Wait, when did I ever say I needed a house in which to live?  Oh and by the way, are you sure you are the one to do this job?”

The beautiful thing about this passage, though, is not what happens regarding the house David wants to build for God, but the kingdom God wants to build for David and his children … Israel.  God sets a physical temple aside.  That’s not what is important or what he wants David to hear from Nathan.

God begins to tell David (through Nathan) that there is a bigger purpose for him than simply building a place to house the Lord’s presence.  That will be saved for someone else.  No, as King of Israel, God sets forth a covenant with David that while David is alive, Israel will see rest from battle.  They will not face any more enemies, but will live in peace.

It is better than that, though. After David dies, God will establish the throne of his kingdom through the line of David.  It will be God’s son who will sit on the throne and it will be David’s throne. David’s house and his kingdom shall always be before God.

What began as a request to build a place for the Lord to dwell was transformed into a covenant that God established with David; to make his throne eternal and to set God’s own son on it to rule forever.

Only God could make that transformation.