- The Explore the Bible lesson for June 24 focuses on 2 Samuel 7:8-21.
With the celebration of last week’s text in the not-so-distant rearview mirror, David began to settle in as the new and rightfully anointed king. This was a “long day a’comin’” both for him and his kingdom.
In his prayer that precedes chapter 7, we see David was amazed by his role as king. “Who am I, O Lord God, what is my house, that you have brought this far?” (2 Samuel 6:18b). With this in mind, we move to chapter 7 where David, still in awe of his status, was ready to plan his first order of business.
Ask: If you found yourself in a higher place than where you are now, what would be your first action? Consider how David responds in the opening verses of our text today, and see how your answers compare. In this case, David gives us a God-glorifying example.
Rest (2 Samuel 7:8-11a)
David’s desire to build the Lord a “house” certainly was honorable. It was so honorable, the prophet Nathan did not hesitate to say, “Go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you” (2 Samuel 7:3). This was a humble request of the new warrior king, but it was not what God had in mind.
In turn, God made his case, saying he had never asked for a house. Why would God possibly laugh at the idea of people building him a house to dwell in? Even when it came to the tabernacle of the Exodus, God did not permanently reside in the tent. Yet, the tabernacle was a place where God could be among his people.
David’s success was because of God and for this purpose—to provide a home, a permanent place for his people. The “nation’s security, not mere possession of the land, is in view” (Robert B. Chisholm Jr., 1 & 2 Samuel, 220). God did not need a house, because the earth cannot contain God, but his people needed an established place of rest and belonging.
Rule (2 Samuel 7:11b-17)
Verse 11b shows us how God “turns the tables” on David. The king wanted to build a house for God, but God promises to build him a house or dynasty (Robert B. Chisholm Jr. 1 & 2 Samuel, 218). David’s humble desire for God revealed God’s extravagant desire for David.
Notice verses 13-16 especially. These words were prophetic of the kings who would follow David’s line. Most would rebel against God, and God would “punish (them) with the rod of men,” but God’s promise would not be null and void. How significant is it that God’s promises can be so long and enduring?
This declaration of David’s established rule also would come into play much later when Jesus arrived on the scene in the lineage of King David. What God says will be established forever, and it will last forever. Why is this significant to us today? What does David’s eternal promise mean for us?
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Rejoice Over (2 Samuel 7:18-21)
Perhaps the text’s most beautiful image is this line: “King David went in and sat before the Lord” (2 Samuel 7:18a). The words we have read so far were second-hand lines from Nathan. In response, David went to sit before God and revel in his goodness. We would do well to approach God similarly.
Like the prayer at the end of chapter 6, David asked God why he would be given such favor. When we are astounded by God’s work in our lives, we should be moved to such gratitude and awe. Ask: What is the most recent amazing thing God did in your life, and how did you respond?
Verse 21 brings into view that David realized God had a purpose in all this. We always must remember that what God both does and does not do has a purpose within his plan. John F. Kennedy once said, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” Everything God does and calls us to do has a vision and purpose that meets his will.
Psalm 89 is a unique psalm, not attributed to David, that speaks to the king’s established throne forever. While the psalm takes a turn to ask about God’s rejection of his people during their exile, it still is understood that God was eternal and so were his promises. Later it would say, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of (God’s) throne” (Psalm 89:14a).
What makes this chapter significant is that God’s promises are eternal because he is eternal. He is the only one who can uphold his promises, and he is the only one who can fulfill his words. How does this both encourage us and cause us to tremble?
God establishing David’s throne has been referred to through the ages since these words were spoken from Nathan’s lips. It is significant, but not because of David. Because God is eternal, his words also are eternal. The good news is David was not was the only one to receive an eternal promise; we also can be bearers of the eternal promise of salvation.
Heath A. Kirkwood is lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Lorena.