Jesus the King - 2 Samuel 7

This is a sermon by Tom Hutton from the Riverside Church service on 24th December 2006.

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Introduction

I want to begin by asking you a question. If you are a Christian here today do you ever feel a tension when you look around the world today and then think about the promises that God makes in the Bible? War in the Middle East, famine in Africa, huge social problems in our land, often right on our doorstep. In the light of all the promises that God makes to his people why do things seem so wrong? Why is the world still so messy? Why are there so many famines and wars? Why do we still have to fight our sin? Why is life just sometimes so hard? I thought being a Christian would solve all my problems. And we can begin to wonder; will God really keep his promises?

The Promise of the King

This is the situation that God’s people found themselves in almost 3000 years ago. We heard in our reading about all the promises that God made to David. Well, as Israel’s history progressed they would have been wondering whether God would keep the promises that he had made to David. So if you’re not already in 2 Samuel 7 then you may find it useful to turn there now. And look with me at verse 1:

‘After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent.”’

Well, we’re a couple of hundred years on from what we were looking at last week when the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land. Now they have entered the land, and after several up and downs we have reached a high point in Israel’s history. As we see from v1 it is a time of peace. Under the leadership of King David, God has granted them victory over all the surrounding nations. And life is pretty good. But David still has a dilemma. You see here he is living in his nice palace but the Ark of God was still in a tent. The Ark was where the law written on stone tablets at Sinai was stored and the ark lived in the most sacred place of the tabernacle, the forerunner to the temple. The place where God symbolically dwelt with his people. So do you see David’s problem? He had a nice house but God didn’t.

And being a good king he decided to build a house for God. It seemed like a good idea, and the even the prophet Nathan thought so. But here comes the surprise v4:

‘That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying: “Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?”’

God says to David through the prophet Nathan a resounding No. David is not to build a house for God. It had seemed like a good idea, with well-intentioned motives. But God has other plans in mind. After all we see from verses 8-11 it was God who chose David to be king. It was God who gave them the land that they dwelt in. It was God who had given them rest from their enemies. Who was David to be so presuming to build a house for God? After all, God had other plans.

And sometimes that is the way God acts. We make plans. They seem good plans. Made with good intentions. But sometimes our plans come to nothing, because God in his sovereignty knows better. He has other plans.

And that is certainly the case here with David. And God’s plans are far grander and more important than anything David can think of. For God goes onto to reveal his plan to David and he makes some huge promises to him. So half way through v11:

“‘The Lord declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you”’.

So rather than David building a house for God, God is going to build a house for David. It’s not talking about a literal house. David already has his palace. It’s talking about a dynasty, a line of kings. Much like today our Queen is from the House of Windsor.

So what’s this dynasty going to be like? Well we’re a told a bit from v12 onwards as to the identity of David’s offspring.

1)      First of all this heir will be from David’s line. From ‘his body’. This seems an obvious point to make but as we shall see later on it is quite important. And it would have been an important promise to David then. Because after all as verse 15 reminds us the kingdom was taken away from Saul. So it would have been a great comfort for David to know that not only would the throne not be taken away from him. But neither would it be taken from his family.

2)      Secondly, it is David’s heir and not David himself who will build a house for God.

3)      Thirdly, as a result of this God will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

4)      And finally God will be like a father to him and he will be like a son. And this will include fatherly discipline.

Now its easy for these promises to just wash over us with out really taking in the magnitude of what has been promised here. God has promised to David that his house will last forever. So unlike Saul who had the throne taken away from him when it was given to David, David will never have the throne taken from this family.

And it’s no wonder then that David responds the way he does in the rest of the chapter. Praising God for his amazing plan. You see he prays in the light of what God has just told him. He has complete confidence in what God is going to do. After all it was God’s sovereign plan to chose David and to make these promises to him.

And God’s people are no different today. Like God has revealed his plan to David, he has revealed it to us. Except we are at an advantage because after the first Easter we can see God’s plan more fully. But David didn’t have that. So I guess the question we need to ask ourselves is. Do you have confidence in God’s promises? Do you believe that God will accomplish all that he says he will? Well, I hope that in the next part as we see how God kept his promises to David it will encourage you to trust His promises.

The Promise of the King fulfilled

So the big question then is: Who is this promised king? Ever since the time of David the Israelites were waiting for this promised king. The one who would rule them. Would give them rest from their enemies. Who would make a house for the LORD’s Name. The one who would be an even greater king then David had been.

Who could this king be? Could it be David’s son Solomon? Was Solomon the promised king? Well to a certain extent, the answer to the questions is Yes. Solomon is an answer to these promises. If you flick quickly over to 1 Kings we find that Solomon is a great king. And under Solomon’s reign Israel was a great nation. Surrounding nations paid tribute to Solomon. He is certainly from David’s line. And in the early chapters of the book we see that it is Solomon who builds a temple for the Name of the LORD. Lets look at 1 Kings 8 verse 17:

“My Father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel (Then on to verse 20) The LORD has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel.

So, Yes, Solomon is the fulfilment of the promises that God made to David. Yet there something not quite right here. For as we read on in the book of kings all is not as it should be. For within a few chapters of Solomon having built the temple to the LORD we see that his heart turns away from God. And as a result God disciplines him, as he promised to David. He does this by saying that after Solomon’s death part of the kingdom will be taken away from the line of David. And for the rest of Solomon’s reign he faces rebellion from some of his subjects and after his death just as God promised the kingdom splits.

Now can this really be the big promise that God had made to David? Is this really what drove David to his knees in praise and adoration of his LORD? You see it doesn’t seem quite right does it? And as we read about the kings of Judah who followed Solomon we read ‘He did evil in the sight of the LORD’ Again and again. So surely this can’t be the fulfilment of the promise, especially when after many years of rebellious kings Judah is taken into exile. David’s line is no longer on the throne. Have God’s promises been broken? Was Solomon the real fulfilment of the promise?

Turn with me to Luke chapter 1 verse 29 where the angel Gabriel is visiting Mary:

Mary was greatly troubled at his word and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and his kingdom will never end.’

This is massive news. The angel Gabriel was telling Mary that the baby she was going to have is the promised king. Jesus is the perfect fulfilment of what God had promised to David almost one thousand years earlier.

Firstly, he is from the line of David. Jesus was descended from David.

Secondly he will build a house for the name of the Lord. Remember in our sermon series from John how Jesus had proclaimed to the Jews ‘Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days.’ And that the disciples had remembered that Jesus was talking about his body. Jesus was the temple. In Jesus God dwelt with his people not only in a symbolic way but in a physical way. Jesus was God with a human face.

Thirdly, we’re told in Luke’s Gospel that Jesus’ reign will never end. Just as God had promised to David. Jesus’ kingdom is a never-ending kingdom. What an encouragement that it is for God’s people. Never will this kingdom be overturned. Jesus will always be on the throne. He will always rule.

So what sort of king is Jesus? Well again if you cast your mind back to our sermon series in John if you were here. You might remember that John 6 after Jesus had just turned a couple of loaves of bread and a few tins of tuna into a fully satisfying meal for five thousand verse 15:

Jesus knowing that they intended to make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.’

You see Jesus was not that type of king. The Jews were expecting a military leader like David who would free them from the Roman oppressors. But Jesus was not a military leader. He was not that type of king.

So what type of king was he? Well you may have noticed that I didn’t mention the final part of God’s promise to David. The bit about God being like a father and the king being like a son. And remember that it included fatherly discipline when the king went astray like king Solomon. Surely that can’t be speaking about Jesus. After all, he never did anything wrong. Well, that is right. But I think that in the 2 Samuel passage we see a glimpse of the cross. For it was on the cross that God did in fact discipline his son. Because although Jesus was himself without sin, on the cross God viewed Jesus with our sin and so disciplined him instead. He took the punishment we deserve.

So, Jesus was a king who served his people. He was the king died for his people. But it didn’t end there because as promised three days later Jesus did rise from the dead and now he reigns at his Father’s right hand. But if Jesus reigns then why do we still feel that tension that I mentioned at the beginning. Why does it appear that so much of the world is not subject to him? Well just as in the reign of king Solomon there was a now but not yet aspect to the promise. It was partially fulfilled but there was more to come. Likewise for us although Jesus is the fulfilment of the promise. He is the promised king there is still more to come. Because Jesus promises a time when he will come back. When everyone will bow the knee at king Jesus. And that tension that we feel that I mentioned at the beginning will finally be resolved.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of ‘Seeds of Jesus in the Old Testament’ and you’ve seen a bit more about how Jesus fulfils the Old Testament. Jesus is our priest, prophet and king. And if you come back next term during our Family services as we do a Bible overview, it should help it all make more sense as we see more of how Jesus fulfils the Old Testament.

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