Descendant of David: Hope for Something Permanent - 2 Samuel 7:12-17
Yesterday, Pastor Stacey continued Good Shepherd’s study of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah and preached from 2 Samuel 7:12-17. From the passage, we learned three things:
I. God provides His permanent protection through a king who reigns forever.
II. God provides His permanent presence through a house that stands forever.
III. God provides His permanent love through a covenant that lasts forever.
You can listen to the sermon below, or keep scrolling to read the sermon notes:
There’s a temporary nature to everything in our lives.
It seems that at some point everything we do will be undone and must be done again. You clean your house, but before long you have to clean it again. You fix all the problems at work, but inevitably more problems arise. Things break or wear out and have to be repaired or replaced. Even the things that bring us the most excitement and joy are temporary. Children hope desperately for a certain Christmas gift, only to receive it and eventually lose interest. We hope for the perfect job or the perfect home, but neither can last forever. We won’t be strong and healthy forever. We won’t have our full mental capacity forever. Family and friends grow older and pass away. Life itself comes to an end.
And we naturally put our hope in things that are only temporary.
But at some point, all people wonder: are there any permanent things in which we can hope?
The Scriptures tell us that through the birth of Jesus, God gave us something permanent.
In a world full of temporary things, God provides permanent things that can satisfy the longings of our hearts. And so we should place our hope in those things. But what are those permanent things?
On page 6 of your worship guide, there’s a list of three things that 2 Samuel 7 describes.
God provides his permanent protection, presence, and love.
His protection through a king who reigns forever, his presence through a house that stands forever, and his love through a covenant that lasts forever.
To understand this prophecy of the messiah, it helps to know the circumstances at the time. What we call the “context.” This took place about 1000 years before the birth of Jesus. David was the king of the nation of Israel. He had succeeded an evil king named Saul after a long conflict. Because of Saul’s wickedness, God had rejected him as Israel’s king and chose David to take his place. So Saul was jealous of David and had repeated attempted to kill him. But at this point in history, Saul is dead. He was defeated in battle and took his own life. And David has been anointed king over all of Israel, which existed as 12 tribes of people. They were united under David. And David begins to correct things done wrong under Saul. From the time God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt, he intended that they wouldn’t be like the other nations of the world. But 1 Samuel 8 says they wanted to be “like all the nations…that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” But this had always been the role of God, if they would only trust him. But they wouldn’t. And God gave them Saul, the kind of king they asked for, and now he has given them David.
What has taken place with the installation of David as king is a continuation of the covenant promises made to Abraham and developed further with Moses. A covenant is more than a promise. It is a commitment with blessings for keeping it and penalties for breaking it. God can initiate a covenant with man, but man cannot initiate a covenant with God. The people of Israel are the great nation that God promised would come from Abraham. Then later God gave the law to Moses, which further organized Israel as a nation. But further development was still in store.
Israel was established as a free nation, but you perhaps know that didn’t last forever. David would die and his son Solomon would be king. After him, the nation would split and eventually each side would be conquered by rival nations. All of it was foretold by prophets as they warned the people that this would happen because of their rebellion against God. So we need to read this in the present day with knowledge of what happened before and what would happen after.
We also have to read it understanding that like many other prophecies, there would be partial fulfillment and later complete fulfillment. This is sometimes misunderstood when people read biblical prophecy. For instance, with the promise to Abraham that from his offspring would come a great nation, the OT nation of Israel was a partial fulfillment of that promise, but as the NT book of Galatians explains, the complete fulfillment of that promise is all those who are saved by faith in the one offspring of Abraham who is Jesus. The promise was partially fulfilled through Abraham’s son Isaac, partially fulfilled when God brought Israel out of Egypt and made them a nation with his law, and fulfilled further through this promise to David and his earthly descendants. But ultimately, Jesus Christ would be the fulfillment of these promises to David. So let’s look at the promises of these permanent things that God provides through Jesus.
First, God provides his permanent protection through a king who reigns forever.
Under King David, the nation of Israel was united, strong and secure. They were free from the tyranny of other nations. Other nations always wanted to conquer Israel. David knew he wouldn’t live and rule forever. But God promises him that he will have a descendant who will reign forever.
Verse 12: “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 God tells him, “I will establish his kingdom,” and verse 13 “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever,” and verse 16, “your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” For someone to reign forever, he would have to be immortal. Did David understand that he would have an immortal descendant? The apostle Peter says yes. In Acts 2, Peter states of David, “he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ.” Peter refers to David’s writings in Psalm 16 and Psalm 110. A king who would live forever, who could permanently reign over and protect God’s people.
It is believed that the early Native Americans had an extraordinary custom for training young braves when they became teenagers. A boy would be blindfolded and led deep into the forest. When he removed the blindfold, he would be alone and lost in the woods, where he would have to remain all night. Fear would fill the heart of the young brave, who had never been away from his tribe. All night long, the boy would cower in fear, startled by every noise and vulnerable to whatever might be lurking in the dark. But in the morning, when the dawn broke and he could see his surroundings clearly, he would see the shape of a man close by, holding a bow and arrow. It was his father, who had been there all night, watching over the boy.
Don’t you often feel like that young boy, unable to see the future and vulnerable to whatever lurks in the darkness? No one knows what the future holds. We try to plan and protect what is ours. The father of the young brave could attempt to protect his son through the night, but he’s still a man. He isn’t sovereignly powerful. And he won’t be there forever. Jesus governs all things. He’s in total control. In Luke 12, Jesus told his disciples, “my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.  But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!  Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.  Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Jesus is the permanent protector of his people, both now and forever. Can you rest in this? Do your actions and your words reflect that you believe this? Does the way you use your time and your money demonstrate that you believe that Jesus is Lord over every square millimeter of the universe? Are you controlled by faith or by fear? Jesus mercifully calls you to admit your fears and rest in his permanent protection.
Next, God provides his permanent presence through a house that stands forever.
David states earlier in 2 Samuel 7 that he wants to build a permanent house for God. The first verses two verses of 2 Samuel state, “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.” The ark of the covenant, which held the tablets of the law and other pieces, was kept in the portable tabernacle of worship. The ark was a symbol of the presence of God. The tabernacle was established by God as the place of his presence with the people. David felt that God deserved a permanent house rather than one that was mobile.
But Nathan tells David, verse 11, “the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.”
David just said he has a house. What does God mean? Verse 13, God says this permanent king, “shall build a house for my name.” A permanent house, verse 16, “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever.” It’s a house for David but also for God’s name. What did this mean? In those times, “house” was synonymous with “dynasty.” A dynasty is an era in which power and rule belong to one family. God promises David that he is the first king of a dynasty that will never end, that was clear from God’s statements about the permanent kingdom. God’s permanent presence will be with that everlasting dynasty. But we learn something else about the permanent place of God’s presence on earth. You may know that David’s son Solomon did build a temple, but it was eventually destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again. Therefore, God would have no permanent temple or house, no permanent place for his presence on the earth. But this becomes clear in the New Testament also. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul writes to believers, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” The permanent house of God is the church.
Not a building, but the people in whom his Holy Spirit lives. In Ephesians 2, Paul tells the church, “you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” The house that will stand forever, filled with the presence of God, is his church whom Jesus justified, sanctified, and glorified. It has nothing to do with the brick and mortar structures that people call “churches.” When you see word “church” in your Bible, it does not mean “building.” The Greek word simply meant “public assembly.” Jesus added to the meaning but using the word to describe the community he was establishing on the earth and the structure he was giving to that community.
Edmund Clowney states this well. He says, “When Protestants speak of going to church…they are not thinking of a building but of a congregation. The congregation, not the building, is holy. The church is holy because the congregation is the house of God.” We don’t have a building of our own. But we are church, because we are community of people who are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit and trust in Jesus Christ.
Do you recognize the necessity of the local church? Not the local building, but the local community of believers in whom God’s Spirit lives? In the present day, the individual’s relationship with God has been elevated in such a way that some people think that the church is unnecessary for the Christian life. Again Ephesians 2, we are “built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” We need to gently correct people who profess to be believers but think they don’t need the church. Jesus envisioned and established local bodies of believers that would worship together and care for one another as a family, that would be led by shepherds who meet certain qualifications, and that would encourage each other and spur each other on to tell of God’s grace and demonstrate his love.
And finally, God provides his permanent love through a covenant that lasts forever.
Again, with prophecies, there was often a partial fulfillment and a complete fulfillment. For instance, the Genesis 3:15 prophecy that Satan would be destroyed was partially fulfilled at the cross and will be completely fulfilled when Jesus returns. We understand this 2 Sam 7 prophecy to have both partial and complete fulfillments. As I said earlier, Solomon did build a house for God—the temple in Jerusalem. And after David’s death, there were other kings from his line who ruled before Israel was exiled to captivity in Babylon. They were David’s “house.” But verses 14-15 help us see another aspect of partial and complete fulfillments, Nathan quotes God as saying of David’s descendant: “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.” God had a special, enduring relationship with the kings in David’s dynasty, and God had a special, enduring relationship with the people of that kingdom. We see the complete fulfillment of this prophecy in the coming of King Jesus, but looking at verse 14, Jesus did not commit iniquity or sin. And therefore Jesus did not deserve to be disciplined “with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men.”
The kings who came after David needed discipline. Some of them were bad kings.
But sin could not dissolve the relationship. This is because of God’s covenant. Again, a covenant is more than a promise. It is a commitment with blessings for keeping it and penalties for breaking it. Only God can initiate this covenant. Man cannot initiate a covenant with God. In fact, all of these promises in 2 Sam 7 form this special covenant that God makes with David. And like all the covenants before it, this part of the covenant reflects the grace of God, because, as God says in verse 15, “my steadfast love will not depart from him.” The king represented the people, so the love of God would not depart from the people, even though they sinned.
This “steadfast love” is very important to understand here. The Hebrew word is “hesed.” H-E-S-E-D. It refers God’s unwavering covenant faithfulness toward the people he has redeemed. It’s the favor that he extends to them, not because of their good works, but because of his grace—his unearned favor. The fact that God has pledged “hesed” to them insures that he will never abandon them. Yet because God is a just God, and he must punish sin, the wrath that sin deserved had to go somewhere.
The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews, arguing that Jesus is greater than the angels, quotes Psalm 2 and Psalm 89, and he writes, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? (that’s Psalm 2) Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?” (that’s Psalm 89). The writer of Hebrews, like the other New Testament writers, saw by the power of the Holy Spirit that these Old Testament writings referred ultimately to Jesus. David and his sons knew God in this way, but like Adam is described in Romans 5, David was a type or a pre-cursor to Jesus. Ultimately Jesus endured the discipline of the rod of men and bore the stripes of the sons of men in his death on the cross. And he paid the penalty for the sins of those who lived before him and looked for him, and for those who lived during his life and after his life on earth and trust in him.
In his book The Five Love Languages, author Gary Chapman describes “covenant love.” He writes, “Covenant love…is intentional love. It is commitment to love no matter what…It does not wait for the encouragement of warm emotions but chooses to look out for the interest of the other party because you are committed to the other’s well-being.” Here in 2 Sam 7, we see God committed to the well-being of David and his people, even when they don’t deserve it.
Here at the Lord’s table this morning, we have a visible picture of God’s love and his permanent commitment to our well-being. In sending Jesus to live, die, and rise again, God has given us things that will last. No rebellious plot can overthrow Jesus, our protector. No siege can destroy the place where his presence dwells. And no failure on our part can remove his love. The Christmas season reminds us to rejoice in this great hope, that God the Son was born as a man, a descendent of king David, to fulfill these promises God’s permanent protection, presence, and love.
Let’s pray together.