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When things are going our way, we want to build God a house. But God says no, let me build you a house. This is God’s way of doing things, and this is what justification by faith alone is all about.
“And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies; That the king said unto Nathan the prophet . . .” (2 Sam. 7:1-29).
Summary of the Text
The Lord gave David rest round about from his enemies, and so the king sat in his house (v. 1). The king said to Nathan that he lived in a house of cedar, while the ark was in curtains (v. 2). Nathan, apart from a word from God, thought it was a good idea to build a temple (v. 3), but that night a prophetic word came to Nathan (v. 4). He was told to tell David, shall you build Me a house (v. 5)? Has God needed a permanent house up to this point (vv. 6-7). God took David from his role as shepherd (v. 8), and God has made David great (v. 9). God promises that He will plant Israel, and not move them around as before (v. 10). He then comes to the great promise—He will make David a house (v. 11). First, he will establish a line, a dynasty, unlike Saul (v. 12). David’s son will build the temple (v. 13). He will receive fatherly discipline (v. 14), but will not ever be rejected as Saul was (v. 15). God will establish the Davidic throne forever (v. 16). This was the word of the Lord through Nathan (v. 17).
So David went into the tabernacle (of David) and sat before the Lord (before the ark) (v. 18). “Who am I?” he said (v. 18). What is this? (v. 19). What can I say? (v. 20). God did this for His Word’s sake (v. 21). There is no God like the Lord (v. 22). And related to this, there is no nation with a history of deliverance like Israel (vv. 23-24). As Mary said, so let it be as you have said, so also David (v. 25). Let God’s name be magnified in His faithfulness to the house of David (v. 26). David’s prayer this way is based on God’s promise (v. 27). God has promised goodness to his servant (v. 28).
A Servant on the Throne
When David was established in his rule, and had been given rest from his enemies round about, we see this described as him sitting (v. 1). After Nathan’s word to him, he goes into the tabernacle and sits before the Lord there (v. 18). This is the only time in the Bible where sitting is described as a posture of prayer, but it is fitting. It is a coronation prayer—David is being enthroned.
But at the same time, it is a servant king who is being enthroned. The word servant is used eleven times in this chapter. This is a covenant-making occasion (Ps. 89:19-37; Ps. 132:10-12). Keep this in mind whenever you are thinking about Romans 13—where civil magistrates are described as God’s servants, God’s deacons.
One of the great tragedies of our time is the refusal of modern Christians to allow the New Testament to interpret the Old Testament for them. We often start to go down that road, but then pull up short.
First, Hebrews 1:5 quotes from our text, and applies it to Jesus. The promise to David included Solomon, and the rest of the Davidic kings (“when he commits iniquity . . .”), but it does not stop there. The throne of David is forever because Jesus is enthroned on it (Luke 1:32).
But we need to be prepared to be staggered the way David was—even though it is hard to be prepared for something like that. Our passage is also quoted in 2 Cor. 6:18. “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” He shall be my son includes, in the original context, many sons. But here Paul makes it explicit, and includes all of you in this room. “Ye shall be my sons and daughters.”
Remember how in David’s grateful prayer, he included God’s goodness to Israel, and His goodness to the house of David, mingling them together. It is the same here. You are a called and separated and holy people (2 Cor. 6:16-17). Come out, come out.
Jesus is the Public Person
If God fulfills His promises through Jesus, then He is also fulfilling all His promises through those who are in Jesus. If Jesus is the seed of Abraham, and He is (Gal. 3:16), then we can be the seed of Abraham, and we are (Gal. 3:29). If Jesus is king and priest, and He is (Rev. 1:5), then we can be kings and priests (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). If Jesus rules the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 12:5; 19:15), then so can we (Rev. 2:27).
In Jesus Christ we find that all of God’s promises find their yes and amen.
“For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor. 1:19-22).
Jesus is the Bridegroom, which means that all the accounts are joint accounts. Everything He has and is has been given to you.
Come to Jesus
In business jargon, the “come to Jesus” talk refers to the time when you finally talk to wayward employees, telling them to get with the program. This is a faint shadow of the come to Jesus appeal at the end of a hot revival meeting in a tent in east Texas. But there is more we must say. That is a faint shadow of the come to Jesus that we see in New Testament. To come to Jesus is to come to everything. To come to Him is to come to height and breadth and depth. It is to come to all things made new, and to all things now put right. It is to respond to the message that the Church has been given by the Spirit. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come” (Rev. 22:17).