The House Builder (II Samuel 7:1-17)
Topic: II Samuel Passage: 2 Samuel 7:1–7:17
Crying for a King
The House Builder
II Samuel 7:1-17
September 8th, 2013
(One Lord: No One Like You)
I. Reminders of Christmas
Have you seen them? Did you notice them yet? In certain places, here and there, there are, even now, signs of Christmas. Sure it may be just a few shelves in a store. Some lights. Some decorations. But within just a matter of weeks, the reminders will be everywhere: aisles of gift wrap, trees, wreaths, presents, cards, popcorn tins...you name it.
But did you know, did you suspect, that there would signs of Christmas right here, this morning? Where are there? Well, let's continue with our ongoing study of II Samuel by looking together this morning at II Samuel 7.
II. The Passage: “He Shall Build a House” (7:1-17)
So what do we need to know before we dive into the first half of chapter 7. I think we simply need to remember two verses from II Samuel 5: verse 10 and verse 12:
And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him...And David knew that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
God has given David the crown. God has given David a capital. God has given David victory over his enemies. And as we saw in the last chapter, in chapter 6, even though David was careless the first time he tried to move it, God has allowed David to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Remember, the Ark represented the presence of God among His people.
A. Building a House: David's Plans for God (7:1-3)
So in light of how God has been establishing David, listen to what the writer of Samuel tells us about something that is bothering David:
Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies,  the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.”  And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you.”
What is bothering David? It's right there in verse 2. It's the disparity between his residence and the Ark's residence. He's got a beautiful house built of cedar, courtesy of Hiram, king of Tyre. But the Ark is just sitting under a tent. But why does this bother David?
Is it because he thinks God deserves better? Is it because he thinks he's letting God down, or that God will eventually punish him for the disparity...maybe like he punished Uzzah at the beginning of chapter 6? Well, we just don't know exactly what is motivating David here.
But he seeks some advice from a man named Nathan. We're told here that Nathan is a prophet of God, but there is no indication that Nathan's response is from God. Nathan is just giving his own opinion, as a subject of the king, maybe as a friend.
Given that God has blessed David in almost every project or venture that David has attempted, it seems that Nathan thinks this is a 'no brainer'. If the king wants to build a house, that is, build a temple for God, what could be better than that. How could God not be pleased?
B. Building a House: God's Plans for David (7:4-17)
But as it so often does, God's revelation corrects even our most sanctified reasoning. God is going to speak to Nathan. He is going to respond to David's plans, David's intentions in terms of building a house. Now we find that response in verses 5-16. But before we look at that passage, let me suggest that there are three parts to God's response to David through Nathan. Let's look at those three parts.
1. God's Corrective to David (vs. 4-7)
For example, when we look at verses 4-7, I believe the focus is God's corrective to David.
But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan,  “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in?  I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling.  In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’
Do you see what God is saying in verse 6 and 7? When it comes to the issue of building a house, building a temple, David does need to restore something that once was and should be again. David does not need to meet a requirement that God has placed on his leaders, some sort of expectation for a temple that every other judge or king failed to meet.
Where the people went, God went with them. And where did that Tabernacle, that Tent of Meeting come from? Was that something Moses thought up? No, God commanded Moses to build it. He even gave Moses the exact specifications. So is God upset with David, because David is trying to initiate something that God has not commanded? Well, listen to what David's son Solomon tells us many years later about David's desire:
“Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.  But the LORD said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart.  Nevertheless, you shall not build the house...'” (I Kings 8:17-19)
So on one hand, God was pleased that David was so concerned about the things of God. But on the other hand, God wants to remind David to not get ahead of him. Just because God has blessed him in so many ways, it doesn't mean all of his plans will be blessed. It doesn't mean all of his ideas will be established. He needs to slow down and listen to God. It's an important reminder for David, and an important reminder for us, isn't it?
2. God's Comfort for David (8-11a)
But in the next several verses, I think the focus shifts to God's comfort for David. Listen to verses 8-11a...
Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel.  And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.  And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly,  from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies.
Notice how verse 8 is clearly a new section of God's message to David. I think verses 8-16 represent the real 'meat and potatoes' of God's word to David through Nathan. But in this first part, God wants to do two things: he wants to remind David of how He has BEEN faithful and he wants to encourage David in regard to how He WILL BE faithful.
You could look at this and conclude that God is trying to deflate David's ego. “Who do you think you are, trying to call the shots? Don't you remember how you got to this point, little shepherd boy!?” But I don't think that's where God's coming from in verses 8-11. I don't God is trying to deflate David's ego. I think He is going to inflate David's spirit.
David feels like he is not honoring God the way he should be, since the Ark is still in a tent. And clearly he's uneasy about that disparity. But God is comforting him here. He is pointing the pattern of blessing, the pattern of faithfulness, the pattern of grace that has marked David's life. Do you see that? And then God switches in verse 9 and encourages David by promising him that the pattern will continue.
God will continue to exalt David, but not simply for David's sake. God's blessings on God's king always flow down to God's people. (2x) God promised to bless Abraham and his offspring. God made a covenant with Abraham's offspring through Moses, that they would enjoy peace, safety, and prosperity in the land of promise, IF they would obey God's voice. And so, as David obeys God as king, and thus leads God's people in obedience, God's blessings on the king mean God's promised blessing for His people.
3. God's Covenant with David (11b-17)
But look at the rest of verse 11, to verse 17. There is one final part of God's message to David, and this is the biggest part of all, in fact, one of the biggest parts in the entire Bible.
Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.  When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,  but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.  And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’”  In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
Do you see the amazing reversal here? We started the chapter with David's intention to build a house for God. But ten verses later we read, not only will that NOT happen, but that God is going to build a house for David. But wait a minute. David already has a house. What is God talking about here? Well, the rest of the verses explain whats God is talking about. The house God is going to build is a family; to be more specific, a family of kings.
What is the focus here? The focus is God's covenant with David. Even though the word covenant is not used, the Bible is very clear that God has given David a covenant promise here. Listen to Psalm 89:3, 4...You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:  ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’”
In his excellent commentary on II Samuel, pastor Dale Ralph Davis describes the unalterable, unassailable, unstoppable nature of God's promise to David. He writes, “Yahweh's promise to David is [unalterable] because, death does not annul it (vs. 12, 13), sin cannot destroy it (vs. 14, 15), and time will not exhaust it (v. 16).”
Do you see that there? God's blessing on David's kingship will not be stopped, even by death, because David's son will also be under God's blessing. And even if that king disobeys God, God will reprove him, but not reject him (as God did to Saul). And how long will David's house endure? Until the death of his son? No! Verse 13: “forever”. Verse 16: “forever”. Verse 16 again: “forever”! What does that mean? At the very least, it means God will, in some way, always have a king from David's line ruling over God's people.
Listen to how the writer of Psalm 89 conveys the firmness of God's promise:
Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David.  His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me.  Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” (Psalm 89:30-37)
And if we were to look forward into the book of Kings, we would see the fulfillment of these very words. We would read about Solomon, the son of David, building a house for God, for the Ark of the Covenant. And we would also read about the kings that would come from David's line. And we would discover that even in the worst of times, even when David's royal offspring was “committing iniquity”, God was faithful to His word:
Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever. (II Kings 8:19)
III. To the Praise of His Glorious Grace
As we think about what God wants us to take away from this passage, I think it's important to understand something about the cultural background of this passage, specifically, of these themes of kingship and temple building. You see, in the ancient near east, during David's time, and well before David's time, a king who had been blessed by his god would often embark on a major building project and erect a temple in order to, not only honor his god, but also to secure further blessings from that deity.
But Yahweh, the God of Israel is not like the false gods of the Sumerians or the Assyrians or the Egyptians. Even though David does not appear motivated by a desire to get something from God, God turns the common temple building pattern of the day on its head and demonstrates that His blessings are ultimately all about grace. God wants to make abundantly clear that it isn't about what David can do for God. It's about how much God has done, is doing, and will do for David...as the Apostle Paul would later write...to the praise of His glorious grace (Ephesians 1:6).
You see, David, who wanted to be the house builder, could never be tempted to believe he did something to earn God’s amazing favor. Even his son Solomon, who would be a house builder, had to point to God’s promise instead of his own initiative. God wanted to make it abundantly clear that He is, in every way, at all times, THE house builder.
It is a good thing to want to give to God, to bless God, to love God. But you can never out-give God. I can never out-bless God. You can never out-love God. What He has done, is doing, and will do for you should always drive us away from temptations to boast in our religious or spiritual efforts and draw us to humility, gratefulness, and worship in light of His amazing promises.
But there’s more to this than simply the fact that the God of David is the God we worship as well. Some might be tempted to believe that this is simply a promise to one family related to old crowns, old thrones, and long-destroyed kingdoms. And who has time today to worry about old politics when it’s hard enough to keep up with new politics.
But II Samuel 7 is much more than an interesting, but isolated promise to a ancient king. It is a reminder of Christmas. Just listen to both the prophet’s hope and the gospel’s fulfillment:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.  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,  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33)
The fullness of God’s word to David was realized in the fullness of Immanuel, “God with us”. Jesus was not simply another king in a perpetual line of covenant kings. Jesus was the destination. Jesus was where the promise was headed. There are no kings after Jesus, because death cannot end the reign of Jesus Christ, the king who conquered death. And His reign, His rule has extended, is extending, and will extend beyond any long-forgotten borders. Jesus is Lord of all! How does this…how can this affect you? Well, remember…
God's blessings on God's king always flow down to God's people.
When you come to this king, to Jesus, He gives you, like David, grace upon grace upon grace. Jesus wants you to know THE house builder. He wants you to enjoy, to be blessed by this covenant God. What does it mean that God is THE house builder? It means that God is the One who gives promises of favor forever, even though that is the last thing we deserve.
Three simple things to take away this morning: 1) if you have not received the blessings of God’s king, reach out to Jesus in faith this morning. He died to open wide the covenant to everyone who comes in faith. 2) If you have trusted in Christ as your only hope, rejoice in the promised grace that was given, is given, and will be given to you, forever. And 3) guard your heart against ever allowing what you have done, are doing, or want to do for God to draw you into a false sense of pride. Don’t get ahead of God. Cling to His word. Stay humble. Stay grateful. Savor His promises.