David rose from obscurity to prominence through the work of God, who took him from leading sheep to leading an entire nation. In 2 Samuel 7 David expressed his desire to build a temple for God. God’s desire, however, was to establish a dynasty, a house of rulers to sit on the throne of Israel for generations to come. The Lord fulfilled His promise, both literally and spiritually. Spiritually speaking, the house of David still exists today in the person of Jesus Christ, who rules over all things and will one day return to inaugurate His eternal kingdom.
From this remarkable account, believers today can learn several truths about the way God fulfills His purposes in and through our lives.
God Has a Purpose for Every Believer
In response to David’s desire to build a temple, God made it clear that He had much greater plans. Ironically, while David wanted to build a house where God could dwell, the Lord already had a dwelling through which He worked—David himself. God’s purpose and promise were to make a name for David (see 2 Sam. 7:8-9).
The word for ruler in verse 8 is sometimes translated prince. In this way David was reminded that the Lord was the true King of Israel. His was the unseen hand of power, and God wanted David to remember that the Lord had established him. When we put our confidence in what the Lord has done for us, not in what we’ve done for ourselves, we align ourselves with His purposes.
God Wants Believers to Experience Rest
Under David’s rule God promised to give the people rest from all of their enemies (see 2 Sam. 7:10-11). This was the golden era in Israel’s history because the Lord’s blessing was on David’s leadership. It would turn out to be transitory because of human sinfulness, but it nevertheless served a great purpose. The rest that the people enjoyed under David (see v. 1) painted a picture of a future perfect era of tranquility and security grounded in God’s mercy (see Jer. 31:1-9).
God Fulfills His Promises
The Lord’s message to David included a description of what would take place after David’s death (see 2 Sam. 7:12). The Lord promised that He would raise up one of David’s descendants to rule in his place after his death. In the New Testament both Peter and Paul saw in this verse a messianic foretelling of Jesus’ resurrection (see Acts 2:30; 13:23). The early church understood this descendant of David to be Jesus, whose followers trusted in Him as the Messiah of God.
God Established His Eternal Kingdom through Jesus
The kingdom of Solomon would be the immediate fulfillment of God’s promise in 2 Samuel 7:13-17, but Jesus would be its ultimate fulfillment (see Ps. 89:29-37). The One greater than Solomon (see Matt. 12:42) reigns forever because God has established His kingdom (see Heb. 1:8).
The “faithful love” (2 Sam 7:15) of the Lord would continue with David’s descendants in spite of their sinfulness and disobedience. God always brings to pass what He promises. We live by promises, not explanations. David could have only partially grasped how this would come to fruition. He had to take God at His word by faith. How much more should we, then, on the opposite side of the cross, do likewise?
Believers’ Response to God’s Fulfillment of His Promises Should Be Humble Thanksgiving
Second Samuel 7:18-21 records that David was overwhelmed by the revelation God gave him about establishing his kingdom. This amazement was heightened by God’s knowledge of David’s shortcomings and propensity for sin. The same is true of each one of us. The One who knows us best loves us most. The only appropriate response to this amazing truth is humble thanksgiving to the Most High God for all His blessings, the greatest of these being deliverance from and forgiveness of sin.
By His grace God has established us in His kingdom. A response of humility, courage, and obedience allows us to join His purposes in the world.
This article is an excerpt from the Bible study Explore the Bible: 2 Samuel, Chapters 1–12 by Jason K. Allen. Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers®. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.