By Dr. Hal Brady
Lesson Scripture: 2 Samuel 7:4-16
During this third quarter, our focus will be on the connections between Jesus and the Hebrew Scriptures. As one pastor/scholar suggested, we will look at these connections from three different perspectives: how Jesus relates to God’s covenant with David, prophecies concerning Jesus, and the ways in which Jesus used Scripture.
Unit 1, which contains four sessions, deals with “Jesus and the Davidic Covenant.” In these four sessions, we will look at a variety of biblical passages that make connections between the reign of King David and the Lordship of Christ. Our first lesson is entitled “An Eternal Kingdom.”
More specifically, our theme is how do people seek to build a legacy. Our focus in on what we can learn from King David (2 Samuel 7:1-17).
The connections between the house David wanted to build for God and the house God promised to build for David.
David has been king over the twelve tribes of Israel long enough to feel comfortable and secure. He has captured the Jebusite City of Jerusalem and made it his new capital. Additionally, he has built his palace there and moved the Ark of the Covenant there.
One day, David realizes a great inequality. He is living in a lovely home, while the Ark, which represents God’s presence, is still being kept in a tent. To his credit, David senses the wrongness of this and proposes to the prophet Nathan his plan to build a home (Temple) for God.
Nathan, who appears for the first time, notes the rightness of David’s heart and issues him a building permit for the Temple. But suddenly, the prophet Nathan has spoken prematurely. And so, under God’s direction, Nathan has to cancel the permit. There is no reason given for the cancellation, but if we read the later retelling of the story (1 Chronicles 22:6-8), we will discover that it’s because David has “spilled blood” in his earlier battles.
At this point, God reminds David, through Nathan, of Israel’s history. Several centuries before David, God has led his people out of bondage in Egypt and through the wilderness under Moses. God had instructed Moses and the people to build a Tabernacle- a portable place of worship that could travel with the people as they moved toward the Promised Land. And what had been established then under Moses continued to be the dwelling place of God’s presence until that very day. You see, God had not authorized any of the other shepherds of His people, now including David, to build a Temple.
As Old Testament scholar, Walter Brueggemann explains, “Yahweh argues that a permanent residence is unacceptable because it violates Yahweh’s freedom.” No religious arrangement will hold this God in place.
Having reminded David of Israel’s history, God also reminds David of his own history. David had begun as an anonymous shepherd boy out on the Bethlehem hillsides. And it was God’s choice, not David’s merits that caused David to become the shepherd of God’s flock. It was also God who was responsible for David’s successes and who still had greater plans for David. Verse 9 says, “Now I will make your name great – like the name of the greatest people on earth.” One scholar adds, “Three thousand years later, the star of David still stands as the emblem of the State for Israel.”
We resume the story at verse 11, “And the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make a dynasty for you.” The situation has changed. David will not build God a house (Temple), but God will build David a house (dynasty). Not a bad deal, a physical structure for a lasting dynasty beginning with David.
Grace is written all over this story. God has already blessed David, but now he plans a greater blessing.
So God promises to raise up offspring for David and establish a dynasty for his son. God pledges himself to solidarity with David and David’s family. Furthermore, God pledges that this offspring will build a house for God (Temple) and that his throne will last forever. And, as you know, it was David’s son, Solomon, who built the Temple and reigned over his people.
Now it’s true that in the immediate moment God’s promises are recognized in Solomon. But for the duration, it is not difficult to understand how the community around Jesus recognized God’s promises as even more true through Jesus Christ.
Adjusting Our Plans
A medical student applies to a medical school and is rejected. In his determination to be a physician, however, he applies to another medical school and is accepted. What do you know? In the second medical school, he not only does well, but he also meets his wife.
Here’s a situation that at first didn’t look so good in the eyes of that medical student. But in the end, things worked out better than he could have ever imagined.
Think about David! His outcome, with the promises of God, was certainly better than his original plan. For sure, David’s plan to build the Temple was good and carefully envisioned. But David discovered that God’s plan was better. One scholar observed, “The Temple in Jerusalem has been built and destroyed several times throughout history, and it hasn’t stood for nearly two thousand years. On the other hand, what God promised to build for David continues to endure.”
Like David, our challenge is to always throw our lot in with what God’s building even it means changing our own plans.
The Inadequacy of Seeking a Name for Ourselves
God says in verse 9, “Now I will make your name great…” God is making a promise to David.
So many moderns try to make a name for themselves. With a goal to get ahead, they work overtime at self-promotion. Yet, as we have been reminded, “the irony is that there is very little actual fame and importance in this world.” Today’s celebrities and trophy winners often become tomorrow’s trivia questions.
I reiterate, God’s promise was to make David’s name great…” (2 Samuel 7:9). So where was David when we first heard of him. He was an anonymous teenager tending his father’s sheep on a hillside. David began with almost nothing and just think of what he has become. Even three thousand years later this unknown teenager continues to be known and venerated the world over.
Now, if David had sought his own fame, he would probably would have achieved some temporary notoriety and power and then faded from view. However, is the providence of God, David became the standard by which all other kings in Jerusalem would be measured. But most important of all, David’s name is eternally linked to the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” even Jesus Christ. Jesus states in Revelation 22:16, “I am the root and descendent of David, the bright morning star.”
1- Have you ever felt that God’s plans for your life were different from your own? Please share.
2- Discuss several ingredients of a good legacy.
Dr. Hal Brady is a retired pastor in the South Georgia Conference. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.