God’s Time, God’s House, and God’s King

Scriptures: 2 Samuel 7:1-17; Luke 1:26-33

This chapter in 2 Samuel today records the establishment of God’s covenant with David. It is also known as the Davidic Covenant, which is God’s unconditional promise to David and his posterity. Now it’s not called a covenant here in 2 Samuel 7, but it is called a covenant in 2 Samuel 23, where David says of God, in part, “For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure.”

God’s covenant with David is an important key to understanding God’s irrevocable pledge of a king from the line of David to rule forever. It has been estimated that over forty biblical passages are directly related to these verses alone, primarily verse sixteen.

Thus this text is a major highlight in the Old Testament. The ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant with David, we believe, comes at Christ’s second advent, when he sets up his Kingdom on earth. So it still hasn’t been fulfilled.

Now in our Scripture reading today, King David has conquered all his enemies, and is now living in relative tranquility towards the end of his life. He has built himself a magnificent palace, but the ark of God, which represented the presence of God, did not yet have a permanent home. The ark of God still dwelt in a tent, or tabernacle.

David desired to build a house for God, in response, however. God promised that he would build a house for David instead. In this section of Scripture, there is a play on the word “house.” David wanted to build a house meaning a temple for God But God said he would instead build a house, meaning dynasty, for David.

The events portrayed in 2 Samuel 7 may rightly be understood as kind of the climax of David’s life, and the foundation for a major theme in the writings of the latter prophets. One commentator understands the section to be “the center and focus of the Deuteronomic history itself.”

Another commentator sees it as “the dramatic and theological center of the entire Samuel corpus, and in fact the most crucial theological statement in the Old Testament.” And still a third commentator says that “the Lord’s words recorded here arguably play the single most significant role of any Scripture found in the Old Testament in shaping the Christian understanding of Jesus.”

David wanted to respond to God’s blessing upon his life, by now building a beautiful dwelling for the ark of God, which symbolized the presence of God, as I noted. The great Puritan commentator Matthew Henry makes this somewhat quaint note at this point: “When God in His providence has remarkably done much for us, it should put us upon contriving what we may do for Him and His glory.”

What Matthew Henry is saying is that, when God blesses us as He blessed David, we should contemplate what we can do for God and His glory. It may be that God has blessed you with financial resources. Use them for the glory of God It may be that God has blessed you with time. Perhaps your children have grown and left the house, or you have retired. Use it for the glory of God. Or it may be that God has blessed you with skills and talents. Use them for the glory of God.

We have seen this time of David’s life. Let’s take a look at God’s response to David’s desire. God told Nathan to tell David, “I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not build me a house of cedar?’”

Now this question is a rhetorical question. It expects a negative answer. God had never asked any other leader to build Him a house, and He was not going to let David do it either. It wasn’t God’s planned time for a permanent resting place yet. God did not want a house at that time, and He did not want David to build it for him.

Elsewhere He tells them it’s because there’s blood on his hands. David spent most of his life at war, and he had killed so many people, and God was going to have somebody else do it. So instead God does something remarkable. God promises to build David’s house. Now what could he mean?

As we look at the Lord’s response, which was to build a house for David, God was going to do something for David first. And isn’t this always God’s way? God’s work always precedes our work. One commentator put it this way: “The Lord’s work of grace always precedes our work. The Lord is always the one who takes the initiative.”

Now God first promised David that he would grant his people a place of quiet and rest, saying, “And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and 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.”

And then God clearly said that he would build David a house. “Moreover the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.” But this is not a physical house, but, as noted earlier, rather a dynasty. It is like a royal family.

We have a number of royal families in our world, not in the U.S., but of course there’s the royal family in England, the Windsor family, and they are a dynasty. They’ve gone from generation to generation passing the throne of England from one to another. There are those people that just simply love to follow them everywhere they go, and trace their lines and lineage.

In a similar way, God spoke of how He was going to make the house of David into a dynasty, in that play on the word “house” that I spoke of earlier. God explained to David the promise of a descendant. Solomon is the one who would build a temple for God. He would also be the one through whom the house of David would be built.

His son would be disciplined but he would never be disinherited. And so we can look at this promise as referring to Solomon primarily, when Solomon was following God. Then when Solomon didn’t follow God, there was chastisement that came. But there is another promise that we see, a future promise that lies on a whole other level. God was pointing David to God’s kingdom and the future King of kings.

We see here the promise to David’s descendants. For God said to David, “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” The Lord promised to David that his descendants would never end. He promised an eternal kingdom with an eternal King on an eternal throne, but it would be God’s King for God’s kingdom.

We know that this promise couldn’t have been only for Solomon. Why? Well, Solomon died. The temple the Solomon built was destroyed. And then it was rebuilt again later on. And then was destroyed again.

God was speaking of something beyond the immediate. And the divine declarations proclaimed here through Nathan are foundational for major New Testament teachings about Jesus. The New Testament writers want us to understand that God’s covenant with David was to produce an eternal Kingdom.

Jesus was of the house of David from both sides. Mary was of the house of David, and the Jews’ figure family lines matrilineally. That means through the mother’s blood. But Joseph, his “adoptive” (for lack of better word) and legal father, was also of the line of David. This is made clear in Matthew and Luke.

So we have someone who is of the line of David on both sides. Royalty. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies regarding a Messiah who would be king. Depending on your source you can see anywhere from eight critical ones discussed, like in Evidence That Demands A Verdict, up to three hundred fifty. Many articles seem to take the three hundred plus as the rule, and talk about the statistical chances of anyone fulfilling that many.

David was a man after God’s own heart, and God calls David his servant in the passage today. But Jesus called God Abba, Father, and said, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me,” indicating a much closer relationship than David or even Solomon could ever have.

When he was on trial by Pilate, and Pilate asked him if he was a king, he said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my followers would come at you with swords and spears. But my kingdom is not of this world.” The kingdom that Jesus knew that he was setting up. The kingdom was the ultimate fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.

And so Christ came. And God, as He promised, is with His people. He set up a permanent home. And that home is not the Temple in Jerusalem. That home is in every one of our hearts. That home is in every one of our souls,who believe upon his name.

Paul says that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit resides within us, always and everywhere, Once we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We make him king and we become, through God’s grace, part of his kingdom. And the time is not finished yet.

I know that a lot of this may feel like a Christmas thing I was thinking this myself, as far as Advent. But that’s OK. I think we can talk about Jesus any time. God’s kingdom will come fully, here on earth, when Christ comes again. And what is primarily spiritual now, and what we show a foretaste of in our life as a community and the body of Christ here, will become a reality for all the world when Christ comes again. And that coming will fulfill the final part of the prophecies that Nathan gave to David at that time.

So we look at this interaction between David and God. And we can see that God has a timing that’s not necessarily our timing. God had a timing that wasn’t David’s timing. It wasn’t that what David wanted was bad. It just wasn’t the right time, and he wasn’t the right man.

And God has His own house or kingdom. And even though David wanted to build Him a house, God said, “I have a better one. And I’m going to give it to you.” And we find from this particular passage that, while David was a king and knew that his descendants would be kings, God said, “I have another King in mind, who will be even closer to me than you are.”

So we see the promise of God’s grace, and God’s perfect plan, shown in this one passage of Scripture. Is it any wonder that the commentators called it so important?

But a kingdom and a king are no good if there’s no one to follow him, no one to be a part of it. This is the invitation that God makes to you, to be a part of this everlasting kingdom, to be joined to this everlasting King.

It may seem like this is, again, old hat. Why do I need to hear about that? I took Jesus as my Savior however many years ago. But I think we need to remind ourselves sometimes. Because our lives are to be testimonies to our participating in the kingdom. And having Jesus as King. And in this world today it is so easy to go the other way.

There have been those that have said, “Evil triumphs when good people simply do nothing.” And that is what followers of Christ are being encouraged to do today by the world. If you would be a part of this kingdom, if you would have God’s King as the King of your heart and your life, then you cannot listen to the call of the world.

But instead in faith, you need to stand up for your God and your King, in the public square and the private square, and whatever parts of your life that you’re aware of. And when you do that, then even as God bless David with peace and prosperity, you too will know the assurance of that peace of God’s presence in your life and His power in your hands.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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