In our overview of the Old Testament series, two weeks ago we saw the depths of leaders among the tribes of Israel. Instead of the planned takeover of the land of Canaan, the tribes splinter and flounder. The fitting epithet concludes the book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
With the line of promise through Ruth/Boaz, the hope continues that God will send a deliverer. Samuel anoints Saul as the first king of Israel; someone who is taller than all others. At first it appears that Saul will be that king that Israel has been looking for. But early on there is an indication that he is doomed to failure.
But certain worthless men said, “How can this one deliver us?” And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent. (Judges 10:27)
Not only are these men challenging Saul, they are ultimately challenge God’s judgment. And worst of all, Saul is silent.
Samuel later is directed by God to anoint David as King. David had proven himself in his work as a shepherd, taking on even “lions, tigers, and bears” so to speak. When everyone else in Israel’s army shrinks back from the threats of Goliath, he steps forward to fight against him and to defeat him. David’s leadership, courage, and his “heart after God’s heart” brings unity to the tribes, follows God’s directions, and he extends the boundaries of the nation.
This text for 11/25/2012 brings us to the highlight of the Old Testament Israel. Not only is David the premier king God promises him something greater: God will build a house to for David, and he will provide a descendant whose throne will be established forever. This prophecy points ahead to Solomon, certainly, but even more clearly to Jesus Christ. And there is the ultimate expression of what it means to be King of kings and Lord of lords.
2 Samuel 7:1–17 (GW)
1 While King David was living in his house, the Lord gave him peace with all his enemies around him. 2 So the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look, I’m living in a house made of cedar, while the ark of God remains in the tent.”
3 Nathan told the king, “Do everything you have in mind, because the Lord is with you.”
4 But that same night the Lord spoke his word to Nathan: 5 “Say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: Are you the one who will build me a house to live in? 6 I haven’t lived in a house from the day I took Israel out of Egypt to this day. Instead, I moved around in a tent, the tent of meeting. 7 In all the places I’ve moved with all the Israelites, did I ever ask any of the judges of Israel whom I ordered to be shepherds of my people Israel why they didn’t build me a house of cedar?’
8 “Now this is what you will say to my servant David: ‘This is what the Lord of Armies says: I took you from the pasture where you followed sheep so that you could be the leader of my people Israel. 9 I was with you wherever you went, and I destroyed all your enemies in front of you. I will make your name famous like the names of the greatest people on earth. 10 I will make a place for my people Israel and plant them there. They will live in their own place and not be troubled anymore. The wicked will no longer oppress them as they used to do 11 ever since I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. So I will give you peace with all your enemies. I, the Lord, tell you that I will make a house for you.
12 “‘When the time comes for you to lie down in death with your ancestors, I will send one of your descendants, one who will come from you. I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he will be my Son. If he sins, I will punish him with a rod and with blows inflicted by people. 15 But I will never stop showing him my love as I did to Saul, whom I took out of your way. 16 Your royal house will remain in my presence forever. Your throne will be established forever.’”
17 Nathan told David all these words and everything he had seen.
Other readings for this Sunday:
Acts 4:29–31 (GW)
29 “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that our ancestor David died and was buried and that his tomb is here to this day. 30 David was a prophet and knew that God had promised with an oath that he would place one of David’s descendants on his throne. 31 David knew that the Messiah would come back to life, and he spoke about that before it ever happened. He said that the Messiah wouldn’t be left in the grave and that his body wouldn’t decay.
Luke 1:30–33 (GW)
30 The angel told her,
“Don’t be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God.
31 You will become pregnant, give birth to a son,
and name him Jesus.
32 He will be a great man
and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his ancestor David.
33 Your son will be king of Jacob’s people forever,
and his kingdom will never end.”