Our first glimpse of God’s eternal kingdom

From our daily Bible reading: 2 Samuel 4-7
April 6, 2019

 

Today’s reading tells the story of David finally becoming king over all of Israel, after having ruled over Judah for about seven and a half years. The elders of Israel finally agree to accept David, and once he is anointed he accomplishes two significant tasks.

David captures Jerusalem

The first is that he goes and finally takes possession of Jerusalem from the Jebusites – we read back in 1 Samuel that when David slew Goliath, he had taken the head of Goliath to Jerusalem, but this took place well before he had ever assumed control of the city, and most believe he did this as a way of intimidating the people there. David had seen Jerusalem as an important conquest target for a long time, and there had been a number of battles between the Hebrews and the Jebusites for control.

Because of its central location and its high elevation and walled city, it was an idea fortress against invasions as well as a suitable central point in the land of Israel. So David’s first act as king – for whatever reason – was to go lay claim to what would be known as “The city of David”, and the holy city of God’s people.

David brings the Ark to Jerusalem

Once that city was obtained, and David defeated the Philistine army in a decisive series of battles and brought peace to the region, David then brings the ark to Jerusalem. The ark  has been essentially in isolation for something like 50 years at this point, since it was sent back to Israel by the Philistines. And we can see the joy surrounding this time, as David is described as dancing before the Lord as the arc is brought back.

And so in chapter 7, after all this has taken place, we come to one of the most important chapters in all the Bible. David sees the country at peace, he sees his own beautiful house, and he says “see now I dwell in a house of cedar but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And he determines to build a house for the Lord.

But God responds with the most significant promise since the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, speaking not directly to David as had been the case then, but through the prophet Nathan, telling David in verse 11: “The Lord will make YOU a house.”

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” 2 Samuel 7:12-16

When my plan isn’t God’s plan

One of the lessons we frequently learn in the scripture is that what seems appropriate to us, what seems the right way to please God, and what seems like perfectly clear reasoning, isn’t always what God is thinking. And in this case, while it fits our thinking that David would naturally build a temple at this point, God had something else in mind. God was focused on building a much surer, more eternal house, and using David and his seed to establish it. Not a house built with wood and gold that would decay, but an eternal dwelling, an eternal kingdom.

We know of course that Solomon provides a literal and immediate fulfillment of this prophecy, as he indeed succeeds David, and is given the task of building a temple to God, but the promise ultimately concerns the coming of Christ, as we read in Luke 1:32-33 “he will be great and called the son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Have a great weekend and we’ll be back with the next installment on Tuesday!

Next reading: 2 Samuel 8-18 (Sunday through Tuesday)

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