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Basic Bible: God’s Promise to David

II Samuel 7:4-16

God’s ways are different from the ways of men. The text before us is given such that we may know and understand His ways and know Him.

The text opens with the words: “And it came to pass that night” (v. 4). These words introduce God’s response to the events recorded in verses 2 and 3. In verse 2, King David is troubled by what he perceived as an inequality. David dwelt in a house of cedar — a house of luxury— while the ark of God dwelt in the tabernacle (a tent). It is apparent that David’s sense of fairness prompted him to call upon the prophet Nathan for advice. Nathan reasoned that God had been with David and that David would do well to do what was in his heart. Nathan knew that it was in David’s heart to honor God. There is little doubt that the manner in which David intended to honor God was by building a structure that would house the ark.

It was not the Lord’s will that David should build a house to honor Him. God intervened such that future generations might know and understand His grace.

God spoke to Nathan on that very night and said: “Go tell my servant David . . .” In the message that followed, God presented a synopsis of Israel’s history from the time of Israel’s coming out of Egypt to David’s rise from a shepherd boy to become king of all Israel.

Why did God answer in this manner? God gave David (and us) a history lesson because the history of Israel and the tabernacle is representative of spiritual things that God would have us know and understand. It was God’s will that Israel should come out of Egypt with great gain (see Gen. 15:13-14). The Lord caused the Egyptians to heap jewels of gold and silver, and raiment upon the departing people whom they had held in bondage (Ex. 12:35). Israel was delivered from Egypt by God’s grace, and His grace alone. David, likewise, was elevated from tending sheep to become ruler of Israel by God’s grace alone.

Consider the tabernacle —a tent, a nonpermanent structure. In its innermost part was the Holy of Holies which contained the Ark of the Covenant. The ark contained the testimony of God. The ark held the ten commandments (God’s law), Aaron’s rod (symbolic of God’s power), and a container of manna (symbolic of God’s provision). The only light within the Holy of Holies was the Shekinah which is of God. The tabernacle (a temporary dwelling place) was the house of God by God’s choosing; it was not the house of God by an accident of history or by will of man. The tabernacle was fashioned from the abundance which Israel took from Egypt and all of it furnishings testified of that which God performed.

David’s rise from a lowly shepherd boy to king of Israel, like the dwelling place of God, was of God’s choosing —a choosing that illustrates spiritual things that God would have us know and understand. God told David that the day would come when He (God) would establish the kingdom of David’s seed, and, he (David’s seed) would build a house for my (God’s) name (v. 13). God also stated that this kingdom which He (God) would establish would be forever (v. 16).

God stated that these things would come to pass after David died. David’s son, Solomon, ruled from the throne of his father and Solomon constructed the temple. These things took place after David died. Solomon most certainly was the seed of David, and, Solomon most certainly built a house for God’s name (the temple), but Solomon’s kingdom was not the kingdom that God promised to establish. The promised kingdom would endure forever. Solomon’s kingdom did not last. It was immediately divided following Solomon’s death and ceased to exist in any form 2,600 years ago.

When God stated that He would establish the kingdom of one who would proceed from the bowels of David, was he speaking of Solomon or of Christ Jesus? Was God speaking of a spiritual kingdom or a physical kingdom? Bible believing Christians are now (present tense) members of the spiritual kingdom established by God. We await the day of Christ’s return when He physically shall sit upon the physical throne of David in Jerusalem. That physical throne is the throne of which God speaks in verses 13 and 16. God states that the throne upon which the promised seed shall sit shall be established forever. The everlasting throne and the physical throne will be one when Christ returns. The physical throne upon which Solomon sat when he built the temple was established before Solomon’s birth.

“I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men” (v. 14). These words of God the Father are not directed to the preincarnate Son who was with God and who was God from the beginning (see John 1:1). They are words which were for the ears of all who would follow David — a father-son relationship with the Lord awaited every king who would sit upon David’s throne.

A similar relationship is promised to New Testament believers (see Jn. 1:12-13). Let us claim the promise which He has given.

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