Kings David – Dwelling with God 2 Samuel 7 Pastor Pat Damiani August 6, 2017 This week I ran across this picture on Pinterest and I’d like to get your opinion on it. [Show picture with this caption: “When you take care of God’s house, God will take care of your house.”] I’m not going to ask for a show of hands, but I’d like for all of you to think about that statement for a moment and determine whether you think that statement is true or not. Here’s another one that is similar, but slightly different: [Show picture with caption: “Build God’s House, God will build your House.”] How does that one strike you? [Pause]. Now let me show you the entire picture. Does that change your opinion at all? Some of you are probably already asking why does this even matter? What harm could possibly come from that kind of thinking? After all, shouldn’t we be in the business of building God’s house? I want you to keep these sayings in mind as we look at God’s Word this morning and then I’m going to show them to you at the end of the message and see if your opinion has changed at all. In order to help us evaluate these statements in light of what the Bible has to say, we’re going to look at the account of someone who seemed to believe that these statements were true and see how God responds to his way of thinking. A couple weeks ago we left off with the account of Israel’s first king, King Saul. Because of his partial obedience, which was viewed by God as disobedience, God told Saul that the kingdom was going to be taken away from him and his family and given to another. And that’s exactly what happened. Shortly thereafter, God summoned Samuel to go the house of Jesse, where God directed him to anoint Jesse’s youngest son, David, to be king. However, David did not actually become king over all Israel until nearly 25 years later at the age of 37. After he became king, David led the Israelites to victory over the Philistines and the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem, which David had established as the capital. God then gave the Israelites a period of rest and during that time David built his palace there in Jerusalem. That brings us to the passage that we’ll look at this morning – 2 Samuel chapter 7. Many commentators have referred to this chapter as the most important chapter in the Old Testament. And I think we’ll be able to see why as we look at this chapter this morning. [Read 2 Samuel 7:1-3] David looks at the splendor of his own palace and compares that to the tent where the Ark of the Covenant is housed. So he decides that he wants to do something for God and build a house for God. This is the first time we are introduced to Nathan the prophet who had apparently become one of David’s trusted advisors. Most of you know that Nathan will continue to play an important role in David’s life when he later confronts David about his adulteress relationship with Bathsheba. And Nathan, without consulting God, tells David to go for it because the Lord is with him. Before we proceed any further, let me just say that I think that for the most part David’s motives and his judgment are good. He wanted to do something for God, perhaps even out of gratefulness for what God had done for him. Certainly nothing wrong with that. And he also sought counsel from a prophet, which is also to be commended. But as we’re about to see, there is one fatal flaw in David’s reasoning here, the same one that we are prone to make. Before we identify that fatal flaw, we need to point out that in these first three verses the stage is set for a couple of word plays that will be woven all throughout this chapter. The first word that will be used throughout this passage is the verb “dwell”. However, what may very well be the most important use of that verb in this passage is difficult to see in our English translations, because it is translated differently there. I’ll point that out when we get there. That verb is used three times here in the first three verses: v.1 – …the king lived (Hebrew yasab) in his house (Hebrew bayit)… v.2 – …I dwell (yasab) in a house (bayit) of cedar, but the ark dwells (yasab)… The second is the word “house”. As you can see that word appears twice here in the first three verses and it is also implied here that what David wants to do is to build a house for God’s ark. [Read 2 Samuel 7: 4-9a] The fatal flaw here is that neither David nor Nathan had asked God what He wanted. But don’t you just love the way that God deals with David here? He treats him with grace and mercy and takes time to explain why He doesn’t need David to build a house for Him. Obviously, God can never be confined to any structure. But from the time God had delivered His people from bondage in Israel, He had chosen to reveal Himself to His people in the tabernacle. God had specifically directed Moses to build a portable tabernacle and not a permanent temple because as the people moved around, He could manifest His presence in the midst of the people wherever they were. While we can’t know for sure what was on David’s mind here, I think is it fair to deduce from what God said that David somehow had the idea that by building a permanent temple, he could keep God in a box, so to speak. God seems to be addressing that kind of mindset when He reminds David that He had taken David from the pasture, made him king, given him success and been with him every step of the way. In the middle of verse 9, you’ll notice a change in the verb tenses. From verse 4 through the middle of verse 9. God uses past tense verbs to recount what He has already done for David and or Israel. But in the middle of verse 9, He begins to use future tense verbs. [Read 2 Samuel 7:9b-17] Even though the word “covenant” is not used in this section, it is often referred to as the “Davidic Covenant”. In our journey through the Old Testament, we’ve already encountered four previous covenants that God made with His people: • The Adamic covenant in Genesis 3, where God promised that one day Adam’s offspring would overcome the Evil One • The Noahic covenant where God promised to never again completely flood the earth • The Abrahamic covenant where God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars and that through his descendants all the people of the earth would be blessed. • The Mosaic covenant, a conditional covenant where God promised to bless Israel if they obeyed Him. The Davidic covenant builds on each of the prior four and in it God provides further revelation about how He is going to fulfill the promises He made in those covenants, We talked earlier about the word play around the word “house”. In this covenant, God basically says to David, “I don’t need you to build me a house. Instead I promise to build a house for you”. But the house He is going to build for David is not a physical structure but rather an everlasting kingdom in which a descendant of David will sit on the throne. And with that covenant, God reveals what He wanted David to know and what we also need to know. Dwelling with God is not a matter of me building a home for Him, it is a matter of God building His home in me. God doesn’t need anyone, including David, to build Him a house because He can never be confined to any structure or be “put in a box”. On the other hand, David is 100% dependent on God to build a house for Him. Go back for a second to verse 8 and scan the section through verse 17 again. You don’t need to count them up, but notice how many times God uses the first person pronoun “I”. I’m not sure I didn’t miss one or two, but I counted twelve times that God uses the pronoun “I” to indicate either something He has done in the past or something He will do in the future. That is all God’s work and He is fully capable of carrying it all out without any of David’s help. Let’s take a little bit of time to summarize some of the important aspects of this Davidic covenant. IMPORTANT FEATURES OF THE DAVIDIC COVENANT 1. It has both a near-term and far-term fulfillment We have talked about this often before. Much Hebrew prophecy has a dual fulfillment. Certain aspects are fulfilled in the short term and other aspects await future fulfillment. We see this quite often with the prophecies about Jesus where part of the prophecy applies to His first coming and part applies to his second coming. Probably the best example of that is when Jesus goes to the synagogue in Nazareth and opens the scroll of Isaiah and begins to read from chapter 62. But He stops reading in the middle of verse 2, sits down and tells the people that the Scripture had been fulfilled in their hearing. That’s because the second half of verse 2, which addresses the day of vengeance, won’t be fulfilled until Jesus returns to the earth a second time as judge. It was only the first part of that chapter that revealed Jesus as Redeemer that He would fulfill in His first coming. There are some parts of the Davidic covenant here in 2 Samuel 7 that clearly refer to David’s son Solomon, who is yet to be born. As we see in verse 13, Solomon, unlike David, will build a house for God’s name. And then in verse 14, we see that when Solomon sins, God will discipline him, but He won’t take the kingdom from him. So that part of the covenant will be fulfilled in the near term. But other parts of the covenant can’t possibly refer to Solomon. His kingdom won’t be established forever. In fact, after the Babylonian captivity about 400 years later, David will no longer have a descendant on the throne. So that part of the prophecy has a long-term fulfillment that comes almost 600 years after that and roughly 1,000 years after God makes this covenant with David. Luke records the fulfillment of that part of the prophecy in his account of the words the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary: 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 1:31-33 ESV) That is the far-term fulfillment of God’s promise to David. Although David could not possibly have understood all the implications of that promise, that long-term fulfillment would reinforce the principle that God was making known to David here: Dwelling with God is not a matter of me building a home for Him, it is a matter of God building His home in me. David wasn’t capable of building a house for God because nothing he could construct could possibly contain an infinite God. Knowing that, God had come to him and made a home in David’s life. He had chosen David to be king when there was nothing David had done to earn that privilege. God had been with David every step of the way and given him victory and success, not because David deserved it, but just because God is full of grace and mercy. And that’s exactly what his offspring, Jesus, would do nearly 1,000 years later. He would come to dwell with us because we’re not capable of making a home for God through anything we can do. Again, it is only God’s mercy and grace, and not anything we can do. that makes it possible for us to dwell with God. 2. It promises a physical dwelling place for Israel God promises David that one day Israel will have a physical place where they will live in peace. While Israel does have its own land again after it gained its independence in 1948, it certainly does not live in peace today. So that part of the covenant awaits a future fulfillment. I won’t spend a whole lot more time here other than to say that there is no reason not to take what God says here literally. Unfortunately, there have been attempts by some so say that the church has now replaced Israel and therefore this promise applies to the church as a whole and not just the Israelites. But, in my opinion, that idea runs contrary to passages all throughout the Scriptures – Old and New Testament – where God does make promises that apply only to Israel and not to the entire church. And others have tried to spiritualize this promise or treat it figuratively and claim that God isn’t speaking of an actual physical place here on earth. But again, that just doesn’t line up with the many places in the Bible that God promises to restore Israel to a physical land where they will live in peace. 3. It involves a Father-Son relationship In verse 14, God reveals that David’s offspring will be like a son to Him. While that could certainly apply to Solomon to a degree, based on what we find in Hebrews 1, where the author quoted from this chapter, the more important Father-Son relationship is that between God the Father and His Son, Jesus: For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? (Hebrews 1:5 ESV) Since the author of Hebrews is clearly writing about Jesus in that chapter, we can conclude that God is primarily referring to Jesus here in 2 Samuel 7 when He calls Him a son. It seems that God is also pointing ahead to the time when His Son, Jesus, will make it possible for all who have faith in Him to have an intimate relationship with the Father in which they become His sons and daughters. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface here, but I hope that you’re beginning to see why so many have called this the most important chapter in the Old Testament. Here we have one of the clearest pictures in the entire Old Testament of Jesus. God didn’t need David to build a hose for Him, but David did need God to build a house for Him. And God promised to build David a house that would last far longer than the temple his son Solomon would eventually build. And God wants to do the same for all of us. So now do you see why I said earlier that… Dwelling with God is not a matter of me building a home for Him, it is a matter of God building His home in me. So if that’s the case, then it seems to me that it’s important to know if what I can do to cooperate with God as He builds His home in me. And I think we find that answer to that question in the last part of the chapter, beginning in verse 18, but before we do that, I want to ask you to think for a minute about how you would have responded to God if you were in David’s position. I can think of at least a few ways I would have been tempted to respond: • I might have been mad at God. And it might have gone something like this. “God, here I am trying to do something nice for you and you’re going to reject my gift. Just see if I ever do anything for you ever again.” • I might have tried to assert my authority. “God, maybe you don’t realize who I am. I’m the king of Israel, Your people. You need to listen to me.” • It’s also possible that I might just ignore God altogether and just carry out my plans anyway. Perhaps you can even think of some other possibilities. But fortunately, David was a whole lot more godly than me and as a man who had a heart for God, he chooses a different path. [Read 2 Samuel 7:18a] Remember I said earlier that I would tell you when we got to the most important use of the verb “dwell” because it would be hard to see in our English translations? Well, here it is. Every single English translation I looked at reads something like “David… sat before the Lord…” But the verb “sat” in that verse is the exact same Hebrew word that has been translated “live” or “dwell” everywhere else in this chapter. David didn’t just stop by for a quick chat with God. He dwelled with God for a while. So when God denied the building permit for the temple. David didn’t pout, he didn’t get mad at God. In fact, his focus wasn’t on himself at all, it was on God. • When God said “no”, David worshiped. Let’s see how he did that. [Read 2 Samuel 7:18b-29] There is so much we could learn from this prayer, but let me just briefly point out a couple characteristics of David’s prayer. o He humbled himself I need you to help me out here. In verses 1-3 how is David referred to? [The king]. His name is not mentioned even once there. I think that probably indicates that at least to some degree David was pretty impressed with himself and his position. Now look at God’s response to David in verse 4-17. How does God refer to David? [My servant]. God, who had put David on the throne, isn’t quite as impressed with David’s position. So when David begins to pray, he has to make a choice. Is he going to pray as king or as God’s servant? Which does he choose? [Servant]. o He responded to God’s revelation He prayed to God about what God had just revealed to him. I am convinced that if we could just learn to do this better, it would completely revolutionize our prayer life and our worship. How many times to we read God’s Word, or hear a sermon and then we just ignore everything that God just revealed to us and start thinking and praying about everything except what we have just heard from God. I think we can all do a much better job of connecting our prayers and our worship to what God reveals in the Bible. o He exalted God At the beginning of the chapter, David is focused on what he wants to do for God. But now, his prayer is completely focused on exalting God. Time after time, he calls Him “Lord God”. He proclaims the greatness of God and recounts all that God has done for him and for Israel. None of David’s focus is on himself, it is all on God alone. We’ve talked about a lot of things today, but if we could just apply these three things to our own worship, I’m convinced it would radically transform both our personal and our corporate worship. Now that we’ve looked at God’s Word, let me once again put up the pictures that I showed you at the beginning of the message. [Show images] Has your opinion of those sayings changed at all now that you understand that… Dwelling with God is not a matter of me building a home for Him, it is a matter of God building His home in me. [Prayer] Just like David did, we all need to respond to what God has revealed to us through His Word this morning by taking a “next step”: • It is possible that some of you here have never entered into a relationship with God because you’ve been trying to base that relationship on what you can do for God and not what God has already done for you. You’ve been trying to build a home for Him when He wants to come and make His home in you through faith in Jesus alone. If that is true of your life, we invite you to make that decision today. • Some of you here today may need to learn from the way that David worshiped God and commit to developing one or more of those three aspects of worship in your life. • Perhaps some of you here this morning have been busy doing things for God that God never asked you to do. You just decided on your own without consulting God that is what you were going to do. If that’s the case, I want to encourage you to take some time this week to seek God’s opinion about those things by spending time in His Word and talking to Him about it in prayer. Discussion Questions for Bible Roundtable 1. We looked at these two statements this morning: • “When you take care of God’s house, God will take care of your house.” • “Build God’s House, God will build your House.” How could those statements help us in our walk with God? How could they hinder us? 2. How is the Davidic covenant related to God’s prior covenants? How is it different? 3. When God tells you “no”, what are some ways that you tend to respond? Which of those responses is healthy? Which ones are not? 4. Is it always wrong to do something for God that God has not specifically called us to do? If not, how do we determine when it is right and when it is wrong? 5. Which of the three aspects of worship that David engaged in is the hardest for you? What practical steps could you take to improve your worship?