Whole Life Whole Bible Day 16
2 Samuel 7:11-16 (NASB)
11 even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you. 12 When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”
15: King for a day?
Israel’s struggle to take the land, and the destructive spiral of the period of the judges, pave the way for the monarchy. Thus begins the shift from a tribal society to a central government, where the focus of attention moves from the nation to the king.
With kingship comes the ambivalence of the political order and human rule that we know so well — its necessity alongside its tendency to corruption. The writers of the biblical records do not hide the negative details of Israel’s kingship, the person of David included. But with kingship comes a further reminder of God’s gracious willingness to get his fingers dirty with politics, society and culture; his determination to work through human foibles and failures; his ultimate oversight as the covenant relationship with his people is played out and preserved in the history and politics of real life.
At this point in the story, David has been crowned king, has defeated Israel’s enemies and has moved the ark of the covenant to the newly secured capital city, Jerusalem. Concerned that his own royal palace is more lavish than God’s dwelling, David is determined to build a temple for God. As it turns out, though, he is not allowed to build a ‘house’ (temple) for God, and instead is told that God will build a ‘house’ (dynasty) for him, giving him the promise of a kingdom that will last for ever, in which true kingship will be marked by faithfulness to God.
God’s covenant with David adds a new dimension to the biblical story. Now we have a royal representative of the people — God’s ‘son’, no less — with the promises of the covenant focused on Mount Zion, the place where God will be seen to dwell with his people as their true king. This language is echoed in many of the psalms, where the king’s reign is celebrated as marked by wisdom and righteousness, providing a visible center of God’s rule for the sake of the nations.
As we might expect, then, God’s commitment to David has implications beyond Israel and stands in continuity with the promise to Abraham of blessing to all nations, itself tied to God’s purposes for creation. David and his sons will take center stage in the story of God’s dealings with men and women, so that through his line—through his anointed ‘Son’—the Lord may restore and bless the whole world.
For further reflection and action
Resonances of 2 Samuel 7 are found in Psalms 2, 72, 89, 132; Isaiah 9:6–7; 11:1–5; Jeremiah 23:5–6; 33:14–26; Ezekiel 34:20–24. Pick a few of these passages to read. How do they fill out the details of what ideal ‘kingship’ should look like?
How does this passage illuminate our understanding of Jesus, descendant of David? Check out Luke 1:30–33; Acts 2:22–36; 13:32–36; Romans 1:2–4.
If possible, share and discuss with someone else the pattern we have seen in the biblical story so far, where there is a move from the ‘particular’ to the ‘universal’. The Lord singles out one person (Abraham) for the blessing of the nations, and one nation (Israel) to be a light to the world, and now he singles out one king (David) and one place (Zion), for the sake of the extension of his rule to the ends of the world. In what ways is it possible to see Christians singled out in order to bless others? What examples of this have you seen in your own life?
Visit LICC to find out more or get an overview of the Biblical narrative and the ways it can shape us by reading the Introduction to Whole Life, Whole Bible from the Whole Life, Whole Bible book.