2 Samuel 7:1-5, 11-17 (ESV)
Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? …
“‘And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 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. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
King David, finally settled in his cedar home, desired a house for the ark of God. However, the word of the Lord came to Nathan, telling David that instead of allowing him to build a temple, the Lord would establish the House of David, culminating in one who would “sit on the throne forever.”
Obviously God is not simply promising that he will ensure the continuation of David’s lineage as a sort of memorial to him — the common belief of many religions that we only live on in our descendants. He is promising to raise up his own Son from among the descendants of David, one who will bear our stripes and our iniquity.
How like God this is! We offer to him some grandiose plan of how we plan to honor him, and he counters with a completely counterintuitive plan, one in which he is glorified by becoming both king and substitute.
Thankfully, God reads our hearts and edits our plans and our prayers so that they are far more than we would have dared to ask or imagine. Pray, pray and pray, to the limit of your vision and faith, and then be prepared for God to do something even better.
O Lord, you are mighty and faithful. Let your righteousness and justice, steadfast love and faithfulness go before us. Allow us to walk in the light of your face and to exalt your name all day. Remind us of your covenant with David, how you built your throne for all generations with the wood of the cross. In Christ’s Name, Amen.