As we come to 2 Samuel 7, we come to the theological center of the book. Over the last few chapters we have seen the Lord establish the rule and kingdom of his anointed, David. Enemies are defeated, Zion is established at the hub of the kingdom, and the Lord has come into Zion as seen through the arrival of the ark of the covenant. David has humbled himself before the Lord, to the dismay of Saul’s daughter.
The King (7:1-3)
As chapter 7 opens I want us to see the repetition of the word “king” in the first three verses. The king is in his house and the Lord has given the king rest from all his surrounding enemies. This is the fulfilling of God’s promises that he would give this promised rest (Deuteronomy 12:10; 25:19). The kingdom has been established under the reign of David. But this rest leads to David having a concern for the Lord’s house. David sees that he lives in a cedar house but the ark of God lives in a tent. We are given a picture of the king’s heart for God. You might remember that the nation of Judah is criticized by the Lord for living in their paneled houses and not having concern for the Lord’s house being in ruins. David looks at the Lord living in a tent while he lives in a cedar house and his heart is for God’s glory. Nathan the prophet tells David to do what is in his heart because the Lord is with him.
The Heart of God (7:4-7)
But the Lord has a different message for David that is given through Nathan that night. The message begins with, “Go and tell my servant David” (7:5). This is already notable because God did not call many people his servant up to this point. Previously, only Abraham, Moses, and Caleb have been called his servant by name. Now we see the king, the Lord’s anointed, will be the servant of the Lord (cf. Isaiah 53).
But God has a question to David. Are you the one who should build me a house? This is not a rejection of building a house, as seen in verse 13. This is a rejection of David as the one to build his house. This is also house 1 Chronicles 17:4 records it. “It is not you who will build me a house to dwell in.” But before explaining what the Lord means by this, the Lord speaks to his own heart and his own humility. God has not lived in a house the whole time he has been with Israel, since the exodus from Egypt. He has been moving about in a tent with his people all that time. Did God ever speak to any of the judges or leaders of Israel asking why they have not built him a cedar house? God has never lived in a house and has never asked to live in a house. God does not care what is built for him. God does not glorified through physical buildings. This is an important statement in a religious world that thinks God is honored by building extravagant structures in his name. God does not care. God has never asked for a physical building and is not glorified through buildings made by human hands. God pictures himself as desiring to move with his people. God cannot be constrained to one place. He is a free God and is not confined to a location. This is the problem with building God some kind of structure. It causes people to think that God is living in the building. This is a pagan way of thinking about the Lord.
What God Will Do (7:8-16)
Now God reminds David of what he has done for David and what he will do for David. God reminds David that he took him from following sheep and made him prince over the people. God has been with David everywhere he has gone and has cut off all his enemies. In verse 9 God declares that he will make David’s name great, paralleling the promise made to Abraham that his name would be great (Genesis 12:2). Further, a promise is made about the reign of the anointed. The Lord will provide a place for his people where they can be planted. Wicked people will no longer oppress them and they will no longer be disturbed (7:10). This promise of planting God’s people goes back to the words of Moses in Exodus 15:17. What I want us to see is that God is promising a future security and rest. God will plant his people securely and will give them rest (7:11). This means that though God had given David rest from his enemies (7:1), the full promise of rest and security had not been achieved yet. David seems to think that the kingdom has now arrived. But God is making promises which reveals that he has far more in mind about what he will do in the future.
But the end of verse 11 is truly the turning point of God’s response. In fact, it is important to note that this is the longest speech the Lord makes in scriptures since Mount Sinai. David says that he wants to build a house for the Lord. Look at the Lord’s response at the end of verse 11. The Lord is going to build a house for David. God has a purpose that will go far beyond David. The life of David will not be the termination of God’s plan. When Saul died, his house was exterminated. But when David dies, this will not happen. The Lord will raise up David’s offspring and the Lord will establish his kingdom, a kingdom that will never be destroyed. He will build a house for the name of the Lord and the throne of his kingdom will be established forever. A beautiful picture of the intimate relationship God will have with the king is seen in verse 14. “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me.” David’s offspring will be God’s son. Further, sin is not going to thwart this promise. He will be disciplined for his sins but the dynasty will not be removed like it was from Saul’s house. For this to happen, the promise cannot depend on the righteousness of the people or the righteousness of David’s sons, but on the righteousness of God.
Pictures of the Anointed
There is so much in this text that we will need to spend a couple of lessons grasping all that God is promising and what these things mean for us. This promise that God makes to David is crucial to the New Testament. When Mary is pregnant with the Christ, the angel refers to the words of this prophecy to explain what Jesus will do.
30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30–33 ESV)
Jesus is directly connected to the throne of David and the rule of his kingdom having no end. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 also connects to this prophecy. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus, the Anointed, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
The writer of Hebrews shows that this promise would ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus. The writer of Hebrews makes the point:
For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?
Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? (Hebrews 1:5 ESV)
Jesus refers to this text when he makes the offer for the weary to come to him and he will give them rest (Matthew 11:28). Jesus went around in his teachings declaring that God did not care about physical buildings. Jesus declared the destruction of the Lord’s temple but access to the Father would come through him instead. A Samaritan woman asked Jesus where they should worship and for Jesus to solve the argument between the Jews and the Samaritans. Jesus declares that the location does not matter but worshiping in spirit and truth does matter (John 4:21-26). So we must look at what God promised to David and see that when he spoke about David’s offspring, God was speaking about the whole lineage that would come from David’s son.
Verse 12 tells us that it will be an offspring of David that will come. He will build a house for the name of the Lord. Certainly, we see Solomon building a physical temple to the Lord. But Jesus comes along and fulfills this prophecy in a bigger way, as he would be the place where the Lord is accessed. Jesus said that no one can come to the Father except through me (John 14:6). The Lord says he would establish his throne forever, which is seen in the reign of Jesus, who will continue to reign until all enemies are put under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Look at verse 14. While the Lord would be a father to Solomon, a very special relationship as God blesses him greatly, there is a greater picture. Jesus was truly the Son of God, so much so that when you saw Jesus then you saw the Father himself. Continuing in verses 14-15, Solomon would sin but the kingdom would not be removed from him. God would fulfill his promises to Solomon even though Solomon would fail. But there is a bigger picture for when Jesus comes, the very Son of God, he would not sin at all. This doubles down on the proof that God will fulfill every promise made. Jesus will not break any aspect of the covenant made but will perfectly obey his Father. He always does his Father’s will and thus would never be forsaken (John 8:29). The steadfast love of the Lord will always be with him and never leave him.
Message For Today
But this prophecy is also applied to us and you may be surprised by this. Sometimes when we read this prophecy we only see two people: Solomon and Jesus. But the prophecy is for the offspring of David. God made a promise for Abraham and his offspring and that promise is being given greater clarity when it is declared to David and his offspring. The future of kings that would come after David also could hold on to this promise. Listen to what the Lord tells Jeroboam, who would be king over the northern nation, Israel.
37 And I will take you, and you shall reign over all that your soul desires, and you shall be king over Israel. 38 And if you will listen to all that I command you, and will walk in my ways, and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did, I will be with you and will build you a sure house, as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you. 39 And I will afflict the offspring of David because of this, but not forever. (1 Kings 11:37–39 ESV)
The same promise was given to Jeroboam about the Lord building him a sure house and to rule over Israel. We also see the descendants of David experiencing this promise also.
1 Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 3 And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father. 4 Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem, 5 because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. (1 Kings 15:1–5 ESV)
The kings that follow Solomon do not overthrow the promise of the Lord, despite their unfaithfulness, because God made a promise to David. The hope for the people was that the promise of God was not erased even though these kings sinned. The Lord would be a father to them and they would be sons to him for the sake of the promise made to David.
This is hope for us also. Friends, we are the offspring of Abraham and we are the offspring of David when we belong to Jesus. Notice this point is made by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16.
I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:16)
This quote comes from 2 Samuel 7. The promise is to you. God has built you into a house for the Lord. Go back to 2 Corinthians 6:16-17. We are the temple of the living God that he has made us to be. God is having an intimate relationship with us, walking among us, being our God, and we being his people. Come out and be separate from the world and enjoy this relationship. Or look at 2 Corinthians 7:1.
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV)
We have these promises and it is to cause us to live differently. Let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement and grow toward holiness because we have these great and precious promises. Cleansing comes from seeing who we are and the relationship with have with the Lord. The hope for us is that it is never too late. Even when we fail, God will take us back to be his children and continue a relationship with him. This text in 2 Samuel 7 is pivotal to the work of Christ and what it means for those who belong to him.
But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3:6 NIV)