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David Forbidden to Build God a House
v. 1. Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, after his victories had given him a period of comparative, quiet, that David said to Nathan, the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, the fine royal palace which the friendly bounty of King Hiram had made possible, but the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord remaineth under curtains. The thought that he was more comfortably and splendidly housed than the ark seemed unnatural, contradictory, to him; his idea and purpose was to erect a temple to the true God.
v. 2. Then Nathan, giving merely his own opinion, not the revealed will of the Lord, said unto David, Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee. To his merely human judgment the plan of David seemed very good.
v. 3. And it came to pass the same night that the word of God came to Nathan, in a direct Revelation saying,
v. 4. Go and tell David, My servant, Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not build Me an house to dwell in;
v. 5. for I have not dwelt in an house, in a building of solid construction, since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day, but have gone from tent to tent and from one tabernacle to another; for the Tabernacle had been put up in a great number of places since it had first been constructed, and its curtains and coverings had undoubtedly been replaced several times, due to ravages of time and ordinary wear and tear.
v. 6. Wheresoever I have walked with all Israel, spake I a word to any of the Judges of Israel, whom I commanded to feed, to take care of and rule, My people, saying, Why have ye not built Me an house of cedars?
v. 7. Now, therefore, thus shalt thou say unto My servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the great Jehovah Sabaoth, I took thee from the sheepcote, even from following the sheep, from the lowly life of a humble shepherd, that thou shouldest be ruler over My people Israel;
v. 8. and I have been with thee whithersoever thou hast walked, a God not confined to a single habitation, but with His children at all times and in all places, and have cut off all thine enemies from before thee, and have made thee a name like the name of the great men that are in the earth, His unmerited blessings had attended David's entire career.
v. 9. Also, I will ordain a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, give them a sure and abiding place of habitation, and they shall dwell in their place, and shall be moved no more; neither shall the children of wickedness waste them any more, as at the beginning,
v. 10. and since the time that I commanded Judges to be over My people Israel, including the whole period from Joshua to Saul. Moreover, I will subdue all thine enemies. All that David and Israel had they owed to the mercy of the Lord. Even so God, in the Gospel, gives all spiritual gifts to men without any merit and worthiness in them, expecting, in return, only that men will use His blessings with proper thanksgiving.
David Accepts God's Promises With Thankfulness
v. 10. Furthermore I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house. (Cf with the entire passage 2 Samuel 7:12-29, and note that the peculiarity of prophecy to combine thoughts near at hand with those afar off is very marked in this paragraph. )
v. 11. And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, to await the great resurrection of the dead, that I will raise up thy Seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish His kingdom. The nearest reference is probably that concerning Solomon, but the Messianic idea comes out more strongly as the announcement progresses.
v. 12. He shall build Me an house, and I will establish His throne forever. The thought clearly looks forward to the house of the Church, the kingdom of the Messiah, and not only to the building of the Temple.
v. 13. I will be His Father, and He shall be My Son. And I will not take My mercy away from Him as I took it away from him that was before thee, Saul having been rejected on account of his disobedience;
v. 14. but I will settle Him in Mine house and in My kingdom forever; and His throne shall be established forevermore, not only through the nearest line of David's posterity, but, in the person of his greatest Son, to all eternity.
v. 15. According to all these words and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.
v. 16. And David the king came and sat before the Lord, in the Tabernacle erected by him, over against the ark, and said, realizing that the Lord's promise went far beyond a mere promise of establishing a dynasty, Who am I, O Lord God, and what is mine house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto? Cf 2 Samuel 7:18-29.
v. 17. And yet this, all the temporal blessings which had been given to him from his early youth, was a small thing in Thine eyes, O God; for Thou hast also spoken of Thy servant's house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O Lord God. The exact text may here be rendered: "Thou hast let me see what Thou hast determined concerning a man who out of the height is Jehovah God. " It was the greatness of this honor which caused such unusual expressions of humility on the part of David, the fact that his house was to be the bearer of the Messianic blessing.
v. 18. What can David speak more to Thee for the honor of Thy servant? For Thou knowest Thy servant. God knew that David in himself was utterly unworthy of the honor bestowed upon him, but He vouchsafed it out of pure grace.
v. 19. O Lord, for Thy servant's sake and according to Thine own heart hast Thou done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. The entire matter, therefore, redounded to the glory of God alone.
v. 20. O Lord, there is none like Thee, neither is there any God beside Thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. To this conclusion and confession David was driven by the consideration of God's unparalleled mercy.
v. 21. And what one nation in the earth is like Thy people Israel, including the spiritual Israel of God's people of all times, whom God went to redeem to be His own people, to make Thee a name of greatness and terribleness, one which would be feared by the enemies, by driving out nations from before Thy people, whom Thou hast redeemed out of Egypt? The deliverance from the bondage of Egypt has always been a picture of the greater deliverance and salvation of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
v. 22. For Thy people Israel didst Thou make Thine own people forever; and Thou, Lord, becamest their God, the spiritual Israel, the Church of God, holding this same truth to this day.
v. 23. Therefore, now, Lord, let the thing that Thou hast spoken concerning Thy servant and concerning his house, the wonderful Messianic promise, be established forever, and do as Thou hast said.
v. 24. Let it even be established that Thy name may be magnified forever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel; and let the house of David; Thy servant, be established before Thee.
v. 25. For Thou, O my God, hast told Thy servant, literally, "opened the ears of Thy servant," that Thou wilt build him an house, the fact that chiefly a spiritual temple is meant again standing out here; therefore Thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before Thee.
v. 26. And now, Lord, Thou art God, and hast promised this goodness unto Thy servant;
v. 27. now, therefore, let it please Thee to bless the house of Thy servant that it may be before Thee forever; for Thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed forever. Cf Psalms 33:9. The temple to which reference is chiefly, if not exclusively, made, is that of the Christian Church, of the communion of saints. The Church is a habitation of God through the Spirit, it is the kingdom of Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself lives and rules in this kingdom throughout eternity, and all His saints, who have here tasted His mercy, will there partake of His glory, world without end.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 17". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany