This week, we’re going to look at King David and see how God’s promise to him points clearly to Jesus. By the time of David, the people of Israel are firmly settled in the land promised to Abraham. Under David’s rule, Israel is prosperous and has victory over neighbouring enemy nations. The ark of the covenant – symbolic of God’s presence with his people – had been captured by the Philistines, but after defeating the Philistines at the Valley of Rephaim, David brings the ark back to Jerusalem. This sets the scene for the next big promise God made to his people.
When David looked at the splendour he himself lived in, he was stirred to build a dwelling place for God. However, the prophet Nathan told him that, while he wouldn’t be the one to build the temple, God had something even greater planned for him.
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. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
2 Samuel 7:11-13
God promises that he will make David’s name great and that Israel will have a place to live where they won’t be disturbed or oppressed by enemy nations. In these promises, we see a direct echo of the covenant made to Abraham. But next, God makes a promise that extends even further. While David had wanted to build a house for God, God instead declares that he will build a house for David. It always comes down to what God gives us in his grace, rather than what we can give Him. And what God gives us is greater than we could hope or imagine!
The word ‘house’ here doesn’t only refer to a physical dwelling place, but a dynasty or family line. From this point on, the ruling line of Israel would come from David’s family. The promise, though, speaks of one particular descendant. He would be the one to build a house for God. He is also described as having a very special, father-son relationship with God. He will be chastised when he sins, but God’s love will never be taken away from him.
At first glance, much of this promise seems to be fulfilled by David’s son Solomon. He built the physical temple in Jerusalem. He sinned against God, yet God’s love for him remained faithful. There is, however, one part of the promise that absolutely could not be talking about Solomon. The promised descendant of David would have his throne established forever. He would be the one anointed by God, or the Messiah – God’s special, chosen ruler. In Jewish thought, the hope of the Messiah continued even when they were in exile or under Roman rule. Isaiah 11:6 speaks of a king from Jesse’s line who would reign forever, with great wisdom and care for the poor.
Let’s now think about Jesus in light of this promise. When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he said that Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob forever. This immediately identifies him as the promised king from the line of David, the one who will rule eternally with wisdom and justice. The one that the people of Israel had been hoping for all these years.
How is Jesus able to keep this eternal throne, when every other king’s rule was cut short by death? Through his resurrection, death has no power over him! He has now ascended to heaven where he sits, exalted in the highest place. Jesus has defeated the power of death and now reigns in eternal life. And this eternal life, he also offers to us as we live with him as king.
We’re halfway through A Holy History! If you like what you’ve read, please download your free PDF booklet!