By Dr. Mark Scott
In Florence, Italy stands the magnificent marble statue of King David. Michelangelo completed it in 1504, and it stands 17 feet high on top of its base. It is ginormous. But King David himself was taller still in regard to God’s covenant with his people.
Five hundred years had passed since the events in our lesson last week. In the time between the giving of the Law, Israel settled in Canaan, suffered through the era of the judges, and saw their requested first king of Israel, Saul, go belly up. The promise of God (Genesis 12:1-3) was all but totally compromised through Saul’s disobedience (1 Samuel 13 and 15). God would need a king after his own heart (13:14) with whom the covenant promise could continue so that the world might be saved.
2 Samuel 7:1-6
After the death of King Saul (1 Samuel 31:6) it took some time before David’s role as Israel’s second king was fully recognized. He began his reign in Hebron for seven and a half years, and then in Jerusalem for 33 years (2 Samuel 5:5). Our lesson picks up David’s story when his reign was firmly established in Jerusalem, the Ark of the Covenant had been brought to the home of Obed-Edom, and the marriage between David and Michal (Saul’s daughter) was compromised after David danced before the Lord (2 Samuel 6).
The text says that, in this city of stone, David’s palace was made of cedar. David had not yet reached his zenith (that would come in 2 Samuel 10), but God had given him rest from all his enemies around him. “Rest” here means peace. Later in our text it will mean death (Chapter 12).
David was embarrassed that his palace was prestigious, but God’s dwelling was in a tent. Enter Nathan the prophet. Perhaps speaking a bit presumptuously, Nathan gave David the green light to build God a house in which to dwell.
But in a nighttime vision God revealed to Nathan that David was not the one to build his house. David is called the “king” and the “ruler” in our text, but first and foremost he was God’s “servant” (mentioned twice in our text), so David would need to curb his desires to God’s.
God seemed no more excited to have a permanent place in which to dwell as he did for Israel to have a king other than himself (1 Samuel 8:6, 7). God seemed to enjoy mobility (2 Samuel 7:7). But if there was to be a permanent house for God, David was not the right person to build it. That task would remain for another.
David’s Legacy: His Own
2 Samuel 7:8-10
The Lord Almighty (Lord of Hosts) reminded David through Nathan that David was once a shepherd. God was responsible for David’s legacy.
God promised to make David’s name great (see Genesis 12:1-3). That testimony became true, as only Solomon surpassed David in power. But David’s legacy would also include his people. God, the real shepherd of Israel, would provide the people a place, a home, and peace. A key verse not in our printed text is verse 11. This verse sets the stage for the final section. It was from the line of David that God would make for himself a house.
David’s Legacy: Beyond His Own
2 Samuel 7:12-16
Good hermeneutics demands taking a text in its most natural sense first. So we should be thinking “Solomon” as we read this paragraph. But given the piecemeal nature of predictive prophecy one realizes that someone greater than Solomon was predicted (Matthew 12:42). Solomon would build the house for God’s name. But the true Son of David, Jesus, would build David’s kingdom forever (the word appears three times in the text).
God’s house, his kingdom, and his reign would go beyond the legacy of the covenant God made with David (Luke 1:32, 33). This would remain for the King of kings.
Dr. Mark Scott teaches Preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri.
Based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.