Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Promised to David, Fulfilled in Christ, Given to Us

From 2 Samuel 7:11–14:
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...
The events immediately preceding this covenant are interesting, and frankly, expose God as the gracious God that He is. David had recently been crowned King of all Israel, but he was ruling from the city of Hebron, a southern city in the region of Judah. David decided that Jerusalem would be a better place to rule because it was centrally located and geographically tough to take down. The only problem was that Jerusalem was inhabited by the Jebusites, and they taunted David, saying that even the blind and lame could keep him out of Jerusalem. David decided to have his men sneak through a water shaft at the city's wall and attack it from the inside. Obviously, it worked, and David sets up shop in Jerusalem as the new capitol. The only thing missing was the Ark of the Covenant. 

So David sends a convoy to bring the Ark to Jerusalem, which they do (after a 3-month pit stop at someone else's house). Once the Ark is back in Jerusalem, David pitches a tent where the Ark is to be kept and stored. But as he goes to bed one night, David is dissatisfied with this solution. "See now," he says to Nathan, "I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent." He wanted to build a house for God—a dwelling place.  

God answered through Nathan, "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..." God then goes on to say that He would instead build David an everlasting house. 

This is called the "Davidic Covenant," where God established an everlasting covenant with David. The fulfillment of this covenant, however, rests with Jesus. David is merely the type, a shadow of what would be the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant. 

Let's take a look at the particulars and how they point to God's fulfillment of the covenant in Christ. "I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his Kingdom." King Solomon came from David's body, and the Lord established his kingdom as one of the most prosperous times in Israel's history. Similarly, Jesus came from David's line, and God established his everlasting kingdom at his incarnation. 

"He shall build a house for my name . . . ." Solomon built a temple for God to dwell in, "a house for my name," when he completed the Temple at Jerusalem. In a much greater way, Christ built (and is building) a permanent house for God's name, that is, his people. The Bible says that in Christ we "are also being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit" (Eph. 2:22).

"I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son." This is talking about Christ, the coming Messiah, and the kingdom that he established when he came to earth in the form of a man (Heb. 1:3–5). And when Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, he ascended so that he would reign until God made all his enemies his footstool (Heb. 1:13). He is reigning. And He will reign forever. This is how the Davidic covenant is fulfilled—through the Lordship of Christ and the building up of the Church as the dwelling place of God.

As interesting as the story of the Davidic covenant is, it reveals much more about God's character and his love for his children. Look at David: he thought that God not having a permanent dwelling place meant that God lacked something. So he endeavored to provide for God by building him a house. Or, giving David the benefit of the doubt, he believed that it would be dishonorable for David to have a house but not God.

It was not an ignoble desire, but God had different plans. When David wanted to build a dwelling place for God, God desired to build David a house, which would ultimately become the dwelling place of God. What grace! David says "God, let me bless you," and God replies, "No, I will bless you and establish your house forever!" Why? Because God delights in making and keeping covenants with his people.

So what does this have to do with us now? It has everything to do with what we cannot do and yet God does. We walk around on this earth thinking that we are going to provide for God by the little houses we build for him and the deeds that we do for him, but God turns that on its head and instead gives such gifts to us. He makes us into his dwelling place, and he prepares for us good works that we should do to glorify him. We do not bless God out of the strength of our own hands. We are blessed by God in spite of our weakness and insufficiency. Therefore salvation is God's gift—and God's gift alone. He gives it to us from his good pleasure and out of an overflow of his grace, much like he did with David.

When David heard the words of the covenant, he wondered, "Who am I, O Lord, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?" Yes. Who are we, and what is our house, that you have brought us this far? We are no one, but it is God who establishes his house and his kingdom. There is no one like our God who could accomplish such things. And because of this, we can say together, "for you, O Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever." Amen.