Advent Devotional Day 7: 2 Samuel 7.11-16
The Ideal David
…I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you. “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, 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 a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, by My lovingkindness shall not depart form him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”
The Lord spoke all these words through Nathan the prophet to David in response to David’s desire to build a temple for the Lord to dwell in. At that point, the glory of the Lord dwelt in a tent, the tabernacle, the same tabernacle that went with the children of Israel through the wilderness and into the land of promise. The presence of God amongst His people, and His permanent presence (signified through the permanent structure of the temple) were clearly something that David, the king and man after God’s own heart, was consumed with. Ultimately the Lord tells David that he will not be the one who will build a house for the Lord in the land. Instead, he gives David a much more glorious promise. The Lord responds to David with a sense of irony: “You want to build Me a house? No. I will build YOU a house.” This turns the attention of our minds to the glory and majesty of the Lord. We cannot do anything to help him, as if He needed anything from us. Rather, He is the fountain of all blessing toward His people. He is the all sufficient One.
This promise had its initial fulfillment in Solomon, David’s son. Many who read this passage will jump right to Jesus immediately without recognizing that this promise was worked out through generations of kings in David’s line before the Messiah came. This is interesting because often times with prophetic texts that deal with God’s promises, there are initial fulfilments in the immediate future of those to whom the promises were made, and then there is the ultimate fulfillment of the promise in the coming of Christ Himself. This paradigm holds true for this passage as well. We can see that there will be an initial fulfillment of this promise in Solomon through the words “when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men..” This plainly cannot refer to the Lord Jesus who “knew no sin.” (2 Cor. 5.21) That does not mean this text isn’t Christ centered though. This text is totally centered on the future coming of the Messiah! In order to delight in Christ rightly through this passage, we need to understand a few of the themes at play. These themes are peace for God’s people, God’s presence with His people, and David’s eternal throne.
Peace for God’s people is seen in the opening words of the text above. “I will give you rest from your enemies.” This happened in an initial way in the reign of David and Solomon. The land of promise was greatly expanded and during the height of the reign of these two kings, the land of Israel was at peace as David conquered the peoples surrounding Israel. However, one only needs to keep reading the story of the Old Testament to know that this peace doesn’t ultimately last, the land of Israel is split into kingdoms north and south. The northern kingdom is conquered by Assyria and the southern kingdom is carried into exile by Babylon. The kings that immediately followed David never brought ultimate peace to God’s people. There must be a greater King coming.
God’s presence with His people is seen through the realities of the temple and the tabernacle. Even though David would not be the one to build the temple, the temple would be built as the land dwelt in peace during the reign of Solomon. Solomon built a house for the Lord as he reigned over the land in peace, justice and prosperity. However, that temple was eventually torn down brick by brick as Yahweh Himself judged His people for their faithlessness and idolatry. God’s presence no longer inhabited the land through the temple, and the land lay desolate under the wrath of God. There had to be One coming who would bring God’s presence eternally and indestructibly.
David’s eternal throne is clearly promised in this text, beginning with the perpetual line of kings through Solomon. However, from the Babylonian captivity onward, Israel had no Davidic King reigning over her, rather she was ruled most of the time between the captivity and the coming of Christ by client kings like Herod, puppets of the occupying governments that were placeholders to keep peace in the land. David was promised a throne that would never pass away, but we see that throne topple as Yahweh Himself causes it to crumble underneath the weight of Babylon’s might. There had to be a King whose throne would never come to an end.
The Lord Jesus Christ, born of a virgin into David’s line, is this King. Jesus is the greater David and the greater Solomon because He is the King who builds the house of the Lord forever, brings eternal peace to God’s people, and reigns without end over His Kingdom. He brings peace to God’s people forever by crushing their ultimate adversary. This is where we see that the promises to David and the protoevangelium in Genesis 3.15 connect. The Davidic Covenant is the further outworking of that promise at the beginning of human history that the Seed of the Woman would crush the head of the Serpent. He is the “prince of peace” (Isiah 9.6) because through His death and resurrection He crushes our ultimate enemy. When he returns in the final judgement, he grants relief to his afflicted people as the “Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.” (1 Thess. 1.7) The Lord Jesus’ coming, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return are one great Gospel of His defeat of our enemies that surround us, bringing us eternal peace in His presence.
He brings God’s eternal presence to His people because He Himself comes to them as “mighty God.” (Isaiah 9.6) In Solomon’s day, the presence of God dwells in the temple with the people. In the coming of the Lord Jesus, God’s presence comes to us as God the Son takes on humanity Himself. In eternity, the Lord Himself dwells with His people and there is “no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Rev. 21.23) In John 2.19, when the Pharisees challenged Jesus, He told them “tear down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up!” Jesus calls his own body the temple. Jesus is saying that God’s presence is among them in His Person. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of God’s presence through His “house” because in His virgin birth, He comes to us as God in the flesh. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 2.14)
David’s eternal throne is taken hold of by Jesus because He is the One who came from David’s line to rule the nations. He is the “shoot from the stump of Jesse,” who reigns filled with the Spirit of God. (Isaiah 11.1) He is the “child born to us” upon whose shoulder the government of all the universe rests. (Isaiah 9.6) The reign of kings prior to him ended through death and judgement. His reign never ends because having died once, bearing the curse of God for His people, He has been raised to incorruptible life forever to reign over all things. 2 Timothy 2.8 says “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David..” Paul wants to emphasize in this text that Christ’s right to reign forever comes through His status as David’s greater Son who is also David’s “Lord.” (Psalm 110) His ability to reign forever comes through the reality of His treading death under His feet and rising from the grave.
The purpose of these devotions, walking through themes from the Old and New Testaments in relation to the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, is to do exactly what Paul urged his readers to do. “Remember Jesus Christ.” Know Him as all the promises of God find their fulfillment in Him. Meditate deeply on His Person and Work. Worship Him in Spirit and truth. Glory in Christ Jesus. Delight in Him. He is the only One worth our greatest adoration.