Scripture reading – 2 Samuel 7

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Today’s Scripture reading parallels events recorded by the historian in 1 Chronicles 17 and follows the arrival of the Ark of God in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6).

David’s Passion to Build a Temple (2 Samuel 7:1-3)

The early years of David’s reign were the “golden years” for Israel as a nation. In the opening verses of today’s Scripture, we find the king enjoying a season of rest and reflection (2 Samuel 7:1). David had earned a well-deserved reprieve; however, it would be short-lived. 2 Samuel 8 recorded a string of battles Israel, and the king faced, but in 2 Samuel 7 “the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies” (2 Samuel 7:1).

Contemplating the rich appointments of his cedar palace, the king confided to the prophet Nathan a discomfort. David was troubled that while he enjoyed the luxury of his palace, the “Ark of God dwelleth within curtains” (the tent or tabernacle he had prepared for the Ark, 2 Samuel 7:2). Nathan neither approved nor affirmed David’s desire to build a temple, but instead encouraged the king, “Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee” (2 Samuel 7:3).

God Prohibited David Building a Temple (2 Samuel 7:4-17)

 

The LORD then came to Nathan, commanded the prophet to reason with David, and forbade him to build a Temple. He revealed He had not commanded nor expressed a desire for “an house for me [the LORD] to dwell in” (2 Samuel 7:4-5). The LORD had commanded Moses to fashion a tabernacle that sheltered the Ark during the wilderness years and throughout the Judges’ era (2 Samuel 7:6-7).

Therefore, Nathan was commanded to go to David and remind the king that he was a servant of the LORD. The prophet was to remind David what the Lord had said concerning his beginning: “I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel” (2 Samuel 7:8). Though he was king and his name and fame had grown exponentially, nevertheless, David was to be reminded that his success had come from the LORD (2 Samuel 7:9-10). In contrast to the king’s desire to build a house for the Ark, God promised David through His prophet, “The Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house” (2 Samuel 7:11).

The verses that followed prove the house of the LORD was not made with hands and formed out of cedar and stone, but it was a royal household, a lineage and dynasty of kings (2 Samuel 7:12). David was promised that his son [Solomon] would build a house, a temple to the LORD (2 Samuel 7:13). The LORD promised he would love him [Solomon] like a father loves a son (2 Samuel 7:14), and would He bestow His mercy upon him.

A far-reaching messianic prophecy is found in this passage, fulfilled in Jesus Christ. God promised the king, “I will stablish the throne of his [David’s] kingdom for ever” (2 Samuel 7:13). The promise was repeated in 2 Samuel 7:16, where we read, “Thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16). 

Nathan was a faithful prophet who fulfilled God’s command and delivered His words to the king: “According to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David” (2 Samuel 7:17).

David’s Response to Nathan’s Prophecy (2 Samuel 7:18-29)

 

Rather than dwell on the LORD refusing his desire to build a Temple, David embraced the prophecy that his throne and kingdom would be forever (though not fully understanding the breadth of its fulfillment). Humbled by the LORD’s promises, I believe David rose from his throne and made his way to the Tabernacle where he “sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” (2 Samuel 7:18).

David had been reminded that he was a lowly shepherd when the LORD chose him to be king (2 Samuel 7:8). He reflected on the knowledge that God had given him fame and power over his enemies (2 Samuel 7:19). David then asked a profoundly humble question: “20And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord God, knowest thy servant” (2 Samuel 7:20).

Consider that statement: David confessed, “LORD God,” you know I am a lowly servant. The LORD is great, and no god is like Him (2 Samuel 7:22). He is great in mercy, grace, power, and deeds. Israel’s history was a testimony of the greatness of God, for He had chosen and redeemed them out of Egyptian slavery (2 Samuel 7:23-24).

David believed and accepted the LORD’s will (2 Samuel 7:25-29). Rather than permit the king to build a Temple, the LORD promised to build through David’s seed a perpetual dynasty. Trusting God’s grace, David’s prayer concluded with rejoicing in God’s goodness (2 Samuel 7:28) and requesting His blessings on himself and his seed (2 Samuel 7:29).

Closing thoughts –

 

God’s way is always best. David had a good heart, and his desire to build a temple for the Ark was righteous; however, he accepted that responsibility and privilege belonged to his son and heir.  

Nevertheless, by accepting the LORD’s prohibition, David inherited a far greater promise. He believed the LORD and the king’s name, throne, and kingdom was established by the LORD forever” (2 Samuel 7:16). That great promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Lesson – Though you will not always understand why the LORD says, “No,” you must trust Him and accept—

His Way is Perfect! (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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