2 SAMUEL 7:1-29
Series: Kingdom & Exile - Part Five
Pastor Stephen Muncherian
September 10, 2017
We are at 2 Samuel 7 - starting at verse 1 - verses 1 to 3 focus us on David’s Desire.
Verse 1: Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
Over the last several Sundays we’ve seen David as a warrior - taking on Goliath and the Philistines. We know from Scripture that David had his struggles with Saul - who was psychotic at times.
What we’re seeing here is different. David is now the king. God has given David rest from his enemies. That didn’t happen a whole lot in David’s life. These are good times in the kingdom.
Its not hard to imagine David sitting at home - in his cedar paneled palace - cedar being a serious upgrade in a construction industry based on rocks - meaning the royal palace is pretty sweet. Maybe David is propped up in his Barcalounger - reading a good scroll by the fire.
As David’s sitting there he gets an idea - a vision - that he shares with Nathan. Nathan who’s a close friend - a counselor - a prophet - a man of God. “Nathan, its not right for me to be living in such luxury while the ark of God is sitting out there in a tent.”
The ark was a box - that may have looked like this - a rectangular prism - that God had given specific instructions to Moses on how to assemble it and what to put in it - symbols of God’s relationship with His people. God had designed the ark to be a unique focal point of His relationship with His people.
The cover of the ark was called The Mercy Seat. On either side of the cover - the mercy seat - are golden cherubim - or angels - same word different language - cherubim - angels - facing each other with wings outstretched toward each other over the mercy seat.
God had promised to meet His people at the mercy seat.
According to God’s instructions - once a year - on the Day of Atonement - the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies - the innermost room of the Tabernacle - the tent complex - where God’s ark was suppose to be. The High Priest would sprinkle the blood of a sacrificed bull and a sacrificed goat - sprinkle their blood on the mercy seat - this place of God meeting with His people. That blood symbolized the temporary covering of sin - that the guilt of sin was temporarily removed from God’s people.
All of which was a foreshadowing of the Messiah’s blood shed for us - God in His mercy covering our sin with His own blood so that our sins would be covered - once for all time - our relationship with God restored through the blood of Jesus Christ.
That was what the instructions said and what God is working at. But the original Tabernacle had probably been destroyed back in 1050 BC when the Philistines overran Shiloh. So now this unique focal point of the Holy God’s relationship with His people is sitting in a tent that David had set up for it in Jerusalem.
To David’s credit he gets it - the inequitable wrongness of the situation. The luxury of David’s house verses where the ark is being housed. David’s idea - His vision is to build a structure without equal - a temple to house the ark - a temple worthy of the Holy God Who has this unique relationship with His people. To God alone be the glory.
David’s heart and his desire are in the right place. What God blesses us with isn’t about us but to be used for His glory.
Nathan’s response makes sense. “David, your heart is the right place. Go for it.”
Coming to verses 4 to 17 - God’s response to David is God’s Promise to David. What is hugely significant to David - and to us.
Verse 4: But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in?
Uncomfortable spot to be in. Isn’t it? Nathan - God’s prophet - the king’s confidant - Nathan tells David, “Go for it. God is with you.” Now he’s got to go back and tell David he - Nathan - jumped the gun. Humbling.
God responding to David - God begins with a history lesson which touches on what we’ve been looking at since January. God creating everything out of nothing. God creating mankind in His image. Adam and the fall. God at work in and through the lives of real people living in real places in real time - people like Noah and Abraham and Joseph and Moses and Joshua - through prophets and judges - some good and some not so good - even kings like Saul - God working His plan - God and His work of redemption.
In all that Moses and the Exodus are a pivot point in the history of God working to preserve and prepare His people. Redeeming and delivering them. Establishing them on the Promised Land. God forming a nation and teaching that nation what it means to live life with the living God.
In the midst of all that - Moses and the Exodus - in the midst of all that God gives assembly instructions for the Tabernacle. The tent that God that has constructed to house the ark that God uses to demonstrate His presence - His relationship and working with His people.
In all that God never asked for a temple. The timing of this - the implementation of this - all this is David’s desire. Not a bad desire. But - the point of the history lesson is this: God is the one with the plan and this just isn’t God’s timing. This isn’t how David fits into what God is doing.
Verse 8: Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 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.
In verse 8 God’s history lesson gets personal - what God is doing in and through David.
David - the youngest son of Jesse - David was a shepherd sent out to pasteurize the sheep while everyone else had more important things going. Seemingly not much was expected of David.
“David, I took you out of the pasture that you should be prince over my people.” Who choose David? God. Who establishes David as the ruler of God’s people? God. This is personal. God and David.
And David - wherever you went I was with you. I cut off your enemies.
Which God did. Yes? There are very few people in history that are remembered like David is remembered - and in a good way - for good things. David - a man after God’s own heart.
And God plants His people on the Promised Land - a place of God’s provision and a place for God’s people to dwell with God. Unlike during the time of the Judges God’s people no longer need to live in fear of their enemies. But, they can live in rest - an absence of hostilities and conflict.
David - the king - and God’s people at rest - because of what God has done in and through David.
Going on in verse 11: Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house - house meaning a royal linage - a line of kings. Future history. The history lesson of what God has been doing with mankind and His people and in and through David is now about what God will do down the line of history.
Verse 12: When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers - meaning all this will take place after David dies - future history - I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He - who we know is Solomon - He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. - meaning God’s relationship with Solomon is going to be very intimate and enduring despite how we know Solomon is going to mess up and God is going to discipline him - And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David - meaning this isn’t something Nathan made up but it is the word of the God to David.
We know - because we’re looking backwards through history at what God did - we know that Solomon continued the line of David - had an amazing relationship with God - and built the Temple. When Solomon built the Temple he gave credit to his father David for having the desire and putting together all the materials. And Solomon gave glory to God for making it all happen - God alone Who worthy of all praise and glory for all that God is and all that God has done.
It is important for us to see that there are promises here that for the next 400 years those promises were fulfilled through David’s immediate descendants. But we need to also understand that what God is promising here goes way beyond the scope of David and his immediate family.
This is a really extreme oversimplification of the Covenants to the point of bordering on inaccuracy. But the point of having those up there is to give us a basic big picture idea of where God has been going up through David and to give us an idea of how David might have been processing this.
In the Garden of Eden God made a covenant with Adam and Eve called the Edenic Covenant - where God provides the Garden as a gift for humanity and we get to be God’s divine representatives overseeing His creation and living by trusting in God’s knowledge of good and evil. And we blew it - trusted ourselves not God. (Genesis 1,2)
Then there was the Adamic Covenant - which contains the first promise of a redeemer. God beginning to lay out what He is going to do in history to restore our broken relationship with Him. (Genesis 3:14-17)
The Adamic Covenant is followed by the Noahic Covenant that God made with… Noah. After the flood with the rainbow. God promising - despite our sin - that God isn’t going to destroy us or the world with a flood. Instead the world is going to be a stable place for the long haul of history while God works out His plan of redemption. (Genesis 8:20-9:6)
Then there’s the Abrahamic Covenant in which God selects… Abraham out of all the peoples of the world and God promises Abraham a ginormous family that God promises to give a land to and through which God is going to bless all the nations of the earth - us. (Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8)
Then there’s the Mosaic Covenant - God rescuing His people from Egypt and promising to bring them to the land promised to Abraham and to dwell with His people on that land and to make them into a nation that God is going to use to demonstrate Who He is to the world. The terms of which - what that relationship is to look like - is contained in the laws given by God at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 20-31)
Which brings us to David and what we’re reading here in 2 Samuel 7 - which is God promising to establish David as the king over Israel and promising that the promises He made to Abraham will be fulfilled through David’s house - his royal lineage. Which goes way beyond what God has done - the history lesson - what God has done in and through David - personal history - and reaches forward into future history - us.
The Davidic Covenant is God promising to use a future descendant of David to bring about God’s kingdom justice and peace over the nations - forever. The redemption God promised to Adam - that God preserved and affirmed through Noah - the blessing that God promised Abraham and the relationship that God clarified through Moses - God promises to accomplish through the royal line of David. (2 Samuel 7:4-17)
If we’re hearing Jesus in that then we’re tracking with God. Where God is going with all these promises - covenants.
What we know is the work of Christ on the Cross and our own salvation and eternity with God.
Imagine David hearing that and processing just what God is promising. David is an integral part of that. We are a part of that. That’s staggering.
Verses 18 to 29 bring us to David’s Response. If we’re David, how do we respond to what God is promising?
Verse 18: Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant's house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it.
David’s response - first David goes in to what was probably the tent - he goes in before the ark - before God. He gets alone with God.
“Who am I?” is a self-deprecating - self-abasing - phrase that was used when someone came before someone of higher rank.
“O Lord God” translates two words for God used together: “Adonai” and “Yahweh.” Used together the idea is of the sovereign God - master of His creation - the God who redeems and chooses to establish a relationship with His people. In short: The Sovereign Lord. 7 times in this prayer - 7 times David uses that combination: “O Lord God” “O Sovereign Lord.”
10 times David refers to himself as the Sovereign Lord’s “servant.” The Hebrew word is “abad” - meaning slave - the lowest form of humble servant.
David gets it. Who God is. Who David is. “Before the unimaginable indescribable awesomeness of Who God is, who am I?”
God is concerned with how David got to where is David is in his life. And the sovereign Lord of creation is concerned with David’s future. God intimately knows David - the details of his life. God has plan and purpose for David. Humbling?
David’s response is like child sitting before Abba - Father. “Who am I that You took me from being an insignificant shepherd leading a little flock of sheep and have given me this throne that endures forever.”
We need to do this every now and then. Probably more now than then. To sit before God and realize just how greatly He has blessed us. Who are we? That God blesses us with clothing and warm homes and food on our tables and health and strength? That God sustains us employed or unemployed? To have the families we have? Our spouses? The opportunities? This congregation to be a part of? Salvation? Forgiveness of sin? Life with God now and forever because of Jesus?
“Who am I that You the Sovereign God should bless me so?”
Verse 22: Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
David contemplating the awesomeness of Who God is. “You are great. There is no other God like You.”
And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God.
David contemplating God’s sovereign power. “No other God could do or would do what You’ve done. And its all about You. To God be the glory.”
Verse 25: And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. And your name will be magnified forever - do what you will with us that You God would be glorified - saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying, ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.”
We know that - when God redirected David’s Temple building desire - David went on to prepare everything necessary help his son to be successful in what God had called his son to do - to build this glorious Temple worth of the Sovereign Lord.
I’m not suppose to build it. But, I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure my son is successful in fulfilling what God has called him to do. And then, I’m going to step back and let you O Sovereign Lord glorify your name through the work of another - my son.
That’s the humble heart of a servant on display. The ambition of a godly man or woman is to glorify God - not self. Regardless of who gets the credit - regardless of what needs redirecting - God is sovereign and I will follow His plan for my life. To God be the glory.
Chuck Swindoll writes this: “God does not call everybody to build temples. He calls some people to be soldiers. He calls some people to do the gutsy work in the trenches. He calls some people to represent Him on foreign soil, but He doesn’t call everyone. God has all kinds of creative ways to use us - ways we can’t even imagine and certainly can’t see up there around the next bend in the road.” (1)
Godly ambition is focused on glorifying God. Not our vision for our lives. Not what other people think our lives should be about. But humble obedience to God’s plan for our lives - even if that means giving up what we desire in order to pursue what God desires for us.
Processing all that…
First: The humbling implications of Who God is and who we are - the implications of that for us - individually and as a congregation.
God is our creator - Who creates all of whatever exists out of nothing - Who created and holds together the very atoms of our existence. God Who is the Sovereign King of kings and Lord of lords Potentate of His Kingdom - everywhere having authority and dominion over His creation.
The sovereign Lord God Who is Holy and without sin and morally separate from His creation - Who has every just right to condemn and eternally pour out His wrath on us. God Who deeply in love with us - relentless in His loving pursuit of us - Who is faithfully and purposefully working through history - through covenants and patriarchs and prophets and kings and kingdoms - what God’s promise to David reveals and points towards - God’s work to rescue, redeem, and restore us - even to relationship with Him forever. God - Who takes on our humanity and sacrifices Himself in our place to deal definitively and completely with what separates us from Him.
God Who calls us to that relationship - Who gathers and enables us to serve and to worship and honor and glorify Him Who alone is worthy of all worship and honor and glory. Even the privilege of gathering here as Creekside - which we cannot take lightly.
The implications of that are astounding.
Our being here isn’t about us. Being Creekside isn’t something we add in to our overcommitted lives or that we serve or show up because we’re on some schedule. Being here isn’t about what floats our boat - our comfort zone. Being here isn’t about our vision for why we’re here or not.
Being here is way bigger than any of us and all of us. And yet it’s a personal as each one of us. Our being here isn’t because of us - it’s because of God. The Sovereign Lord God who creates and calls and gathers us. For His eternal purposes and glory.
The Sovereign Lord God provides for us - even the daily stuff of life. That we’re upright and breathing independently is an act of God. Food on the plate and a roof over our heads and clean water to drink and money to pay the bills is all because of God. Just having hours in a day is because of God. That’s not random. Right?
God’s calling David out of a pasture with sheep to a palace as king prepping a Temple looking forward to the Messiah wasn’t random.
Our being parents or grandparents - or students - or whatever we do - or whoever we are - you are not random. And all that isn’t about you. Its because of God. To God alone be the glory.
God is looking for men and women who are deeply spiritual - willing to be passionate about what He is passionate about - that are humble willing servants - who aren’t trying to fake life with God. Men and women who’s from the heart desire is to live completely surrendered to Him. That God - THE God - will work through to accomplish His eternal purposes.
The challenge - and the awesome privilege - is to respond to the Sovereign Lord God - with the total surrender of our lives - with total dependence by faith on Him - so that in whatever He has created and called us to - He alone gets the glory.
This week find a tent - some place to get alone with God. We’re all running 25/8/366 - but just do it. Take time to praise God for who He is - His majesty - His power - His awesome sovereignty.
Take time to get alone with God and to review God’s work in your life. To review God’s past graciousness and mercy - His deliverance. To praise God for all that He - the sovereign God - has done and is doing in your life.
Take time to renew your commitment to Him - your total surrender - your utter dependence - your complete trust. In whatever circumstances you’re in. In however He may change your vision of your life. In whatever He may open up to you.
God alone is trustworthy. God - the Sovereign Lord - Who is enthroned in Heaven - awesome and beyond comprehension - Who deeply loves each one of us.
1. Charles Swindoll, David: A Man of Passion and Destiny
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.