David by Michelangelo
In our last blog, we began our exploration of the role of Jesus as King of Israel. We quoted at length 2 Samuel 7: 4-17. The kingship of David was built upon the foundation of the prophecies of Nathan. We will now explore that prophecy in depth.
As background, David has thought of building a house for the Ark of the Covenant. How does the Lord respond to this proposal? The Lord reminds David that the Lord has never dwelt in a house; the Lord has always dwelt within a tent and has moved from place to place with the Israelites. The Lord makes it clear that the Lord has never asked for a house to be built for Him. “Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”
The Lord is not angry with David for having such a thought. In fact, God is pleased with David’s intention to give God a gift. To God, the intention to give God a gift is greater than the actual gift to be given.
Nonetheless, the Lord still makes it clear to David that the Lord is in charge of all things. This is made clear for the Lord reminds David of David’s humble and pastoral beginnings. “‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel.’” In the last part of that verse, the Lord also reminds David of what he has become with the help of the Lord. The Lord has installed David as King. It is only through the Lord that David is King and he is King over God’s special, select, and chosen people. The Lord continues and reinforces that theme by stating: “I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you.”
Why has the Lord done this? He has done this for two reasons. First, such that the people of Israel, that is the people of God under the Covenant, led by their King David, may have a place, a home of their own, a nation unto themselves. Second, such that wicked people, that is the people who are not of the Lord, will not be able to oppress the Israelites. Thus, the Lord says: “I will also give you rest from all your enemies.”
While the Lord does not need David to build the Lord a house, the Lord is well disposed to David and will do great things for David: “Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth.”
Further, the Lord, being pleased with David’s intention to build the Lord a house, will grant David a house in return. But the house is not a physical house. The change in meaning is clear: The Lord will establish a dynasty for David. “The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom.” This promise is followed by another and perhaps great promise. The promise of the Lord is that, from David’s descendants, the Lord will choose one who will have great favor with the Lord. “He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
Who is this one to be chosen? “I will be his father, and he will be my son.” David’s house and David’s Kingdom will be forever. “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”
These promises from God have been foretold by other Prophets. For example both Jeremiah and Isaiah have utilized extremely similar language:
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute righteousness in the earth. . . Now this is His name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. . . Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it . . . from that time forward, even forever. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Clearly, this does not fully delve into all that can be said on this topic, but I feel that I given the reader enough to pursue the matter more fully on one’s own.
Matthew clearly cites a prophecy of Isaiah in Chapter 1, verse 23. We will examine that prophecy in our next blog.