Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God!” – 2 Samuel 7:18-20 ESV
2 Samuel 7:18-29
David desired to build a temple for God. He had enjoyed great success and his kingdom had grown strong and prosperous. As a show of gratitude, he wanted to construct a suitable house for his God. But Nathan the prophet, under instructions from God Himself, informed David that he would not be building a temple. First, God made it clear that He had never asked for anyone to build Him a permanent dwelling place. “In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’” (2 Samuel 7:7 ESV). Not only that, God told David that He would build his house. But instead of talking about a dwelling place, God was speaking of David’s dynasty or lineage. God told David, “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 I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son” (2 Samuel 7:12-14 ESV). God was speaking of David’s son, Solomon. It would be he who would build the temple David envisioned. But it would be God who made it all possible, providing Solomon with a prosperous and peace-filled reign. And as a final word of promise to David, God said, “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16 ESV).
While David’s initial reaction to this news was probably disappointment, because he was not going to get to fulfill his dream of building a temple for God, his prayer reflects his amazement and gratitude at the grace of God. His immediate response was one of awe, leading him to ask, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” God had reminded David of how he had gotten to where he was. “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth” (2 Samuel 7:8-9 ESV). David’s rise to prominence had been totally God’s doing. He had taken an obscure shepherd boy and transformed him into a mighty warrior-king. And this reminder led David to wonder out loud why God would have ever chosen him as the recipient of such an amazing blessing. God had done great things for David and that fact had not escaped the king. And now God was promising David a dynasty – an ongoing, unbroken succession of kings who would be his own descendants. This was a first for Israel. Saul had been their first king, but David had succeeded him. Now David was being told, “your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16 ESV). This was an incredible piece of news for David. He was being promised by God that his throne or kingdom would have no end. David knew that for that to happen, it would have to be the work of God. No dynasty lasted forever. No earthly kingdom went on without interruption or end. So God was promising something extraordinary and seemingly impossible, and David reacted accordingly.
But little did David know what this covenant really meant. God had something far greater in store than even David could imagine. We know that Solomon’s reign would not end well. In fact, his disobedience to God would end up splitting the kingdom in half. The coming years would see a succession of kings, most of whom would not serve the Lord faithfully. Eventually, the northern kingdom of Israel would be defeated and taken captive by the Assyrians. Not long afterwards, the southern kingdom of Judah would fall to the Babylonians. And then there would be a long period of time where no king reigned over Israel. It would appear as if God’s promise to David had failed. But God was not done. It was all part of His divine plan of redemption. Because eventually, He would send His own Son, born to Mary, a descendant of David, making Jesus a legitimate heir to the throne of David. God made this clear to Mary when He gave her news of her unexpected and miraculous pregnancy. “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).
God had chosen an unknown shepherd boy and made him a king. He chose an obscure peasant girl and making her the mother of the Messiah. God is always the instigator. As Paul reminds us, “None is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 ESV). No one deserves God’s blessing. No one merits God’s salvation. All of us who have experienced the joy of forgiveness of sins and restoration with God through faith in Jesus Christ could say along with David, “Who am I?” We must never forget our own undeservedness and the reality that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV). Our salvation is the work of God and of His Son Jesus Christ. It is not our doing. Which is why we should never cease to be amazed that God chose to extend His love, grace and mercy to us.