This chapter shows us David’s love and commitment to God, but it also reveals God’s love and commitment to David. It contains what is known as the “Davidic Covenant”, one of the most theologically significant, far-reaching passages in the Bible. It began when David was enjoying a quiet day in his new palace in Jerusalem, the new capital city.
David called in the prophet Nathan to propose an idea that revealed the good heart of the king. The Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s presence and the focus of Israel’s worship that had journeyed with the people since the days of Moses, had made its final move to its permanent location in Jerusalem. But when David compared his own new home of stone and cedar to the tent that housed the Ark, it just didn’t seem right. Nathan immediately affirmed David’s desire to build a temple for the Lord and encouraged him to proceed with the Lord’s blessings. But Nathan spoke too soon — God had another plan.
In a nighttime vision to the prophet, God gave a life-changing message for the king. The crux of the prophecy was that David wanted to build a house for God, but instead God would build a “house” — an eternal dynasty — for David (v.11, “the Lord will make you a house”). There was a reason beyond David’s own lifetime for the meteoric rise of the shepherd-king and the unprecedented blessings on his leadership (v.8): a descendant of David would rule forever.
This magnificent promise should be understood on two levels. First, Israel’s history affirms that David’s family, beginning with his son Solomon, became a dynasty that reigned for many years. After Nathan passed God’s promise on to him, David received it by faith, as demonstrated by his beautiful prayer of gratitude in verses 18-29. But more importantly, this promise would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the saving king of Israel and all the world. I don’t think David was completely aware of this long-range fulfillment of the promise, but the early Christian community of the New Testament certainly did. Taking their cue from Jesus, they understood God’s promise to David to extend far beyond the rule of David’s physical offspring and into the realm of the spiritual reign of the Messiah. If you re-read verses 12-16 with Jesus in mind you will see that Jesus’ earthly parents were descendants of David (v.12); Jesus did build a “house” for His Father, the church (v.13); Jesus was indeed the Son of God, conceived without the involvement of an earthly father (v.14); Jesus did suffer punishment for sins, though they were not His own (v.14); and Jesus currently reigns as Lord of all, the King of an eternal kingdom (v.16)!
Like David, stop and pray a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s promise that was (and is) fulfilled in Christ. Thank Him for the grace He has shown you in salvation. Pray a prayer of fresh surrender to the rule of King Jesus in your life. As you pray, use the words of David in verse 22: “You are great, O Lord God! For there is none like You, and there is no God besides You.” Amen!