God's Promise to David
2 Sam. 6:1-7:29
At this point David has consolidated his power and his kingdom. There are no rivals to his throne on the horizon. Moreover, he has established the ancient Jebusite city of Jerusalem for his capital. He has soundly defeated the greatest military threat to his kingdom, the Philistines. David, though, does not rest upon his laurels. David knew from the beginning that God was the One who had set him upon the throne of Israel. By going to God in prayer during the Philistine invasion, he had proved that he desired to follow God in all his ways. To give more visible proof that God was to be the center not only of his life but also of the life of the nation, he now brings the ark of the covenant into the City of David, Jerusalem.
Two things need to be noted here. First, David fails to fall into the same trap that Saul fell into and that many of us fall into. Saul knew that God had appointed him king; however, he failed to realize that God wanted to operate through Saul. Instead, he felt that since God had made him king, that he was the one to be calling the shots; he was the one to be operating in his own strength and power. God, however, was not going, "I am so grateful that Saul agreed to take the throne. I don't know what I would do without Saul!" That was Saul's attitude, though, because Saul refused to consult God during his ministry. (In fact one of the primary distinctive between the reign of Saul and the reign of David was that worship played a prominent part of Davidís reign while it fell into neglect during Saulís reign. God was only a nuisance as far as Saul was concerned, a far different attitude from the one David had towards God.)
We need to be careful whenever God blesses us and puts us in positions of leadership. God gives us children. It was not by our own power and might that we produced them: God gave them to us. We act like they are ours to do with however we wish. God gave us a job or a business, and we feel that the job or the business is ours to conduct in our own human wisdom. Do we consult God when there is a conflict going on between a church activity or non-church activity? I see most people acting like they had no other choice except to attend the non-church activity. (That's bogus; no one can force you to do one or the other. The reason we do the other is simply that we want to or simply because we don't want any conflict.) Simply because we get a good job opportunity somewhere else does not mean that God is giving us that opportunity. What is important is that we seek God's face and that we then do what God lays upon our heart. God may tell us to take the job, attend the non-church function, etc.; when I have prayed through and asked His will, I am then sure that I am doing what God desires. When we refuse to do this, we really cop the attitude that we and not God know what is best for our children, for our jobs, our own personal lives, etc. That is not simply arrogance; it is stupidity.
Second, where has the ark been all this time? Approximately 50 years earlier during the ministry of Eli the high priest (who served just before Samuel), the Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant during a battle with the Israelites. When the ark proved to be too hot for the Philistines to handle (the image of their god Dagon fell facedown before the ark), they delivered it over to a Benjaminite named Abinadab who lived in Kireath-Jearim in the land of Benjamin (1 Sam. 4-7). For 50 years it had stayed there neglected during the reign of Saul. David, wanting a religious kingdom in addition to a political one, now arranges with 30 thousand of his warriors to bring the ark from the house of Abinadab to Jerusalem.
BRINGING THE ARK TO JERUSALEM (2 Sam. 6:1-23)
All of Jerusalem turns out for the coming of her king with the ark. The people have assembled with a variety of musical instruments to play in order to greet the coming of the ark: tambourines, castanets, harps, lyres, etc. With thousands of people playing the instruments, it must have been a festive, joyous occasion. Abinadabís sons (or grandsons) Ahio and Uzzah place the ark upon a cart and bring the ark to Jerusalem with Ahio leading the cart and Uzzah following behind. As they enter the city, the oxen pulling the cart slip thereby tipping over the cart. In order to protect he ark, Uzzah reaches out to keep it from hitting the ground. When he touches the ark, God strikes him dead.
Why did God do this when Uzzahís intentions were so good? Was he not trying to keep the ark from being desecrated by touching the ground? No matter the reason, Uzzah violated specific instructions God had given the Israelites regarding the way they were to transport the ark of the covenant. In order to ensure that the people would not touch the ark, God had instructed Moses when he had the ark built to fasten rings along the side of the ark. The Levites (not just anybody) were to slip rods through the rings, lift the rods on top of their shoulders, and carry the ark this way. This allowed for flexibility in carrying the ark which the cart could not provide.
This principle is still valid today. For most of us all that matters is sincerity. If a person claims that they are sincere in their relationship with God, then they have done all that is necessary to be right with God. Thatís simply not so. If I enter a chemistry lab and think that that I am about to drink a cup of water when it is in fact a cup of sulfuric acid, that acid is going to eat away my mouth no matter how sincere I was. Take an airplane mechanic who though sincere accidentally forgets to tighten some nuts. Even though he did his best and even though no one could fault him, because the nut was not securely tightened, the engine fell off the plane, sending it careening down to the ground, crashing and killing all 300 people on board. God has given us specific instructions on the way we are to live the Christian lifeófollow the leadership of Jesus on a daily consistent basis. Doing anything else even though when done with a good motive and sincere heart may end in disaster.
David is incensed when he sees what has happened. He too had been sincere in trying to honor God; yet, he had failed to discern the proper way to carry the ark and he too was in a major way responsible for what had happened. He commands the people to leave the ark right where it had fallen, the residence of Obed-Edom. Then he begins to tremble with fear at what has just transpired. He wonders now how he will ever be able to bring the ark into Jerusalem.
Three months pass. During those 3 months the Lord blesses the house of Obed-Edom. It could be that God blessed this home simply because the ark was there and blessing attended the ark wherever it went. More likely though, God was trying to communicate to David that the problem was not that David wanted to bring the ark into Jerusalem but that he had transported it in such a way as to desecrate the ark. If transported properly, the ark would bring great blessing to David and Jerusalem.
David understands the message that God is trying to communicate to him and decides to try once more to bring the ark into the City of David. This time David and the rest of Jerusalem carry out Godís instructions in bringing in the ark, resulting in a successful transportation of the ark. David is exuberant and expresses his delight in the Lord by dancing in the streets of Jerusalem in the procession which brings the ark to the top of Mt. Zion. David does not appear in his royal garments but rather wears a simple ephod which was a knee-length white linen tunic. His wife, Michal, the daughter of Saul, observes him from a window in their palace. At the conclusion of the procession, David blesses the people and sends them away with various kinds of fruit breads.
David then returns home to bless his own household. What greets him startles him. Michal is furious with him and sarcastically accuses him of exposing himself to all the young maids in Jerusalem in this unbridled, undignified manner of worshipping God. Although she had loved him in the past, it was probably due more to the fact that he was to be the king rather than to any personal trait about himself. Now that he was acting in an unkingly manner, she pours out her scorn upon him. David, though, stands his round and informs her that if she thought that was embarrassing, she had not seen anything yet. Before his God, David was willing to abase himself to the greatest degree. There was nothing he would not do in order to honor the Lord. If it meant pleasing the Lord, he would rather humiliate himself before servant girls than find honor in her eyes. As for her, who was she to criticize him? She was nothing more than the daughter of Saul whom God had rejected as king and whose family God had rejected as the royal family in favor of David himself. It really is a slam in Michal.
Davidís attitude must have really impressed God. I believe it goes a long way in helping us understand the reason God is going to bless David in such a remarkable manner in the next chapter. One thing that really impressed God about Jesus was His humble, obedient attitude. Because He humbled Himself to an unparalleled degree, God exalted Him to the status of Lord over the universe. The same attitude to a large degree is present in David. It will result in tremendous blessing upon David and his family.
From that day forward, Michal never had any children. This could have been from God shutting up her womb because of her hateful attitude towards David and also towards God who in her eyes did not deserve such respect from her husband David. On the other hand, it is likely that David decided to cut off all sexual relations with Michal. From this act, Godís Word concerning Saul and his family is finding fulfillment. Saulís sons are dead; the grandson Mephibosheth is a cripple, and Saul will have no heirs through Michal. The house of Saul is dissolving.
GODíS PROMISE TO ABRAHAM (7:1-29)
Davidís Plan for Godís House (7:1-3)
After David had succeeded in quelling his foreign adversaries and domestic opposition, he devotes his full attention to God. From his perspective it seems completely unjust that he, a mere mortal king, should dwell in a luxurious house made of cedar wood, while the King of the universe should dwell in a tent. He approaches Nathan, the prophet of God, about building a house suitable for the Lord. From Nathanís perspective, this looks like a great idea. He endorses Davidís plan and tells him to proceedówithout consulting God first.
Nathan, though, has made a serious mistake which many men of God have made from time to time. Davidís request was not evil; it was actually a good request. The only problem was that it was not what God wanted. If you were to build me a house, then I would probably want some say in it. Lance Watkins might want to build me a 30-bedroom home, 4 stories, 15 bathrooms, a formal dining and living room, a spacious den, with a 3-car garage, and lavish landscaping on the outside. The only problem is that Nancy would not want o clean that large of a house. We could not afford the water bill! If you are going to do something for me, then you probably need my input in the matter. The same holds true with the Lord. It is the Lordís house that David wants to build; therefore, he needed to consult with the Lord first before building it.
The same applies to everyday life at the church. I know that a lot of us have wonderful plans and dreams for FBC Corsicana; however, the last time I checked I saw that FBC belonged to the Lord (as does EVERY CHURCH!) and not to anybody else. When people in the church speak about ďownership,Ē they need to be talking about the Lord being owner. All our plans and dreams, etc., may be wonderful, but they need to be under the Lordís direction. Iíve seen a real misuse of Experiencing God among Christians. They have misunderstood Blackaby when they act like anything they want is what the church should do. God speaks through His people, not just through the ministers; therefore, when somebody gets up to share, he needs to be sure that he is sharing what GOD had laid on his heart and not what he has laid on his own heart.
Godís Plan for Davidís House (7:4-17)
God rejects Davidís plans for His house. In a night vision to Nathan, God asks David if he is the one to build Godís house. The implied answer is ďNo, you are not the one! I checked in my diary, and I didnít see where I had asked you to build Me a house.Ē God had never asked him to do such a thing. The last time God had checked, He saw that in His relationship with David that He was the leader and not vice versa. It was not Davidís role to initiate in his relationship with God; it was his role to follow Godís initiative. Second, God gives David and Nathan a quick survey of the history of Godís dwellings. For centuries God had dwelt in the Tabernacle and God did not recall even once during those past centuries asking the people to build Him a house. So where was David getting this idea from? (Later on his deathbed, David will say that one of the main reasons God rejected him as the builder in favor of Solomon was that David was a man of war; God wanted a king of peace like Solomon to build His house.)
In Davidís defense, I feel like God was touched by Davidís plan because it revealed a heart for God. I believe that in a large measure because of Davidís abandonment to the Lord and because of his great desire to build Godís house, God now does something wonderful for David.
God now turns the tables on David. David had made such ďgrandioseĒ plans for God. God, though, had grandiose plans for David. God was going to build a house for David, not one of gold and silver, but a house, a dynasty which would last forever and ever. (The way God uses the word ďhouseĒ here is similar to the way the English use it to describe their familiesóthe House of York, the House of Windsor, etc. It is used this same way in the Harry Potter books.) God would give David a son who would build His, Godís, house. God would be like a father to him, while he would be like a son to God. If Davidís son got out of line, God would discipline him as a father would discipline his own son in similar circumstances. Moreover, God would establish his kingdom (which would also be the kingdom of David) forever.
The passage has a dual reference. First, it refers to Solomon, Davidís immediate descendant. Solomon did build a house for the Lord, a house made of stone, cedar, gold, brass, etc. God did treat him like His son. When Solomon got out of line by marrying pagan foreign women, when Solomon worshiped other gods, God disciplined him severely by dividing his kingdom into 2 parts, the northern and southern kingdoms.
The second reference, though, is what ultimately concerns us. This passage is one of the most important in all the OT in our understanding of the relationship between Jesus and the OT. When we studied Abraham, we saw that Abraham was the great man of the OT and that Godís covenanting with him was the primary event in the OT. This is probably the second most important event and covenant in the OT. In fact, it is a subsidiary of the covenant God made with Abraham. God told Abraham that God would bless the world through one of his sons, Jesus. Now God goes into greater detail with David about his Son who is to come. The Son God promised to Abraham is the same Son God is promising to David here. He too will build a House of God, the house being nothing less than the kingdom of God. Second, in this passage God promises that Jesus, Davidís descendant, will ascend to the throne of David and reign forever and ever. One of the main reasons the 1000-year reign of Christ is so important is that it consummates the reign of Christ. After the 100-year reign of Christ though, Jesus does not step down from the throne when His Father descends from heaven with the New Jerusalem. No. According to John, both the Father and Jesus sit upon the throne forever. Finally, if ever God had a flawed son, it was Solomon; however, with Jesus, God got the perfect Son, God the Son..
Just a note here. This passage cannot be referring exclusively to Solomon because Solomon did not reign forever and ever. Jesus' kingdom is eternal. What is even wilder is that this passage shows that Jesus, the Son promised to David, had to be resurrected from the dead. Since Jesus was David's son, He had to be mortal (besides being divine). Well, mortal men die; therefore, Jesus had to die. Yet how was Jesus to reign forever if He was to die? Simple. By rising from the dead. The resurrection then actually became a necessary qualification one had to meet in order to be the Messiah, David's son. (This is actually part of Peter's argument on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.)
Davidís Response (7: 17-29)
David is naturally overwhelmed by what God promises to do. ďWho am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that Thou has brought me this far?Ē Itís that sense of total unworthiness for all that God is and for all He wants to do in my life. You see, David had it backwards. He wanted to do something grand for God. We get so enamored with our own plans. We really think that our plans for our own lives are far more wonderful than anything anybody else, including God, could dream, up. How sad. The dream that David had conceived for his kingdom paled in comparison with the dream that God had for David and his family. Instead of David building a petty structure to house the ark of the covenant, God was going to build an everlasting house, an everlasting kingdom from the line of David. We need to quit thinking so small and allow God to do the wonderful things through us He wishes to do.
Next, he ďinformsĒ God that He is going to do this because He wants to show all that His word is true, and trustworthy, and that He is a God of love. Anytime we can legitimately appeal to the honor of Godís Word and to His love, He responds. When I enter a critical situation, I remind God but primarily myself that for Him to desert me at his time would result in Him backing off His Word, something He will never do. I can also appeal to His love. If I, a flawed father, do good things for my children because I love them, how much more will my heavenly Father do good things for me because He loves me even more.
Finally, David prays that God do exactly what He plans to do. This is the highest form of prayer. Other forms of prayer which ask God for toys, our creature comforts, etc., are legitimate forms of prayer; however, they pale in comparison with this form of prayer. Prayer that seeks to determine what God wants in each and every circumstance not only is the highest form of prayer but actually the only kind of prayer guaranteed to be answered positively. This is praying in the name of Jesus, praying for the exact same things Jesus would have us pray for. As a result of Davidís request, Christ descends physically from David. It is Davidís Son now who reigns from heaven and who will one day reign forever and ever upon the earth.