‘“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 for ever. I will be his father, and he shall 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 shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.”’
David has just realised that he has built a palace for himself in Jerusalem, but the ark of God, which has just been returned to Jerusalem is in a tent. He feels a bit guilty about this and implies to the prophet Nathan that some sort of temple should be built for God.
However, Nathan then has a message from God for David. We could paraphrase it like this:
“You say that you want to build a house (temple) for me, but instead I will build a house (dynasty) for you.”
Here we have a play on words – ‘house’ can mean either a building or a dynasty. We also have different levels of timescale. On the one hand there is the near future, when David‘s offspring will build a physical temple for God. Although he has not yet been born, this part of the prophecy will be fulfilled through David’s son Solomon.
On the other hand there is the long-term future. Solomon went on to disobey God, his kingdom was divided and both parts eventually taken into exile. His kingdom did not last forever. So the words “Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever” apply ultimately to Jesus. Jesus was a descendant of David and his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
David might have been feeling pleased with himself at this time when his kingdom was established and his enemies had been defeated. But God’s plans were not just about the kingdom of Israel. God was looking ahead to an even greater kingdom, where Jesus would rule over people from all different nations across many generations. This passage is one of the turning points in the Bible, as we get a glimpse of how God’s plans for the people of Israel are linked with his plans to rescue the world through his son Jesus.
And God’s promise to David was a promise of grace. David didn’t have to work to build a house for God. God was promising to make a house for him. David didn’t become king because he deserved it. God chose him out of grace.
Let’s spend some time today thanking God for his grace in sending Jesus to rescue us.
The story of David: Part 8 Read 2 Samuel chapters 7 to 10.