This excellent chapter is the same with 2 Sa. 7. It will be
worth while to look back upon what was there said upon it. Two things in general
we have in it:I. God's gracious acceptance of David's purpose to build
him a house, and the promise he made thereupon (v. 1-15). II. David's
gracious acceptance of God's good promise to build him a house, and the prayer
he made thereupon (v. 16-27).
Let us observe here,
I. How desirous and solicitous good people should be to serve
the interests of God's kingdom in the world, to the utmost of their capacity.
David could not be easy in a house of cedar while the ark was lodged within
curtains, v. 1. The concerns of the public should always be near our hearts.
What pleasure can we take in our own prosperity if we see not the good of
Jerusalem? When David is advanced to wealth and power see what his cares and
projects are. Not, "What shall I do for my children to get portions for
them? What shall I do to fill my coffers and enlarge my dominions?" But,
"What shall I do for God, to serve and honour him?" Those that are
contriving where to bestow their fruits and their good would do well to enquire
what condition the ark is in, and whether some may not be well bestowed upon it.
II. How ready God's prophets should be to encourage every good
purpose. Nathan was no sooner aware of David's good design than he bade him go
and do all that was within his heart (v. 2), for he had no reason to doubt
but that God was with him in it. Ministers should stir up the gifts and graces
that are in others as well as in themselves.
III. How little God affects external pomp and splendour in his
service. His ark was content with a tabernacle (v. 5) and he never so much as
mentioned the building of a house for it; no, not when he had fixed his people
in great and goodly cities which they builded not, Deu. 6:10. He commanded the
judges to feed his people, but never bade them build him a house,
v. 6. We may well be content awhile with mean accommodations; God's ark was
IV. How graciously God accepts his people's good purposes,
yea, though he himself prevents the performance of them. David must not build
this house, v. 4. He must prepare for it, but not do it; as Moses must bring
Israel within sight of Canaan, but must them leave it to Joshua to put them in
possession of it. It is the prerogative of Christ to be both the author and
finisher of his work. Yet David must not think that, because he was not
permitted to build the temple, 1. His preferment was in vain; no, "I
took thee from the sheep-cote, though not to be a builder of the temple, yet
to be ruler over my people Israel; that is honour enough for thee; leave
the other to one that shall come after thee," v. 7. Why should one man
think to engross all the business and to bring every good work to perfection?
Let something be left for those that succeed. God had given him victories, and
made him a name (v. 8), and, further, intended by him to establish his people
Israel and secure them against their enemies, v. 9. That must be his
work, who is a man of war and fit for it, and he must let the building of
churches be left to one that was never cut out for a soldier. Nor, 2. Must he
think that his good purpose was in vain, and that he should lose the reward of
it; no, it being God's act to prevent the execution of it, he shall be as
fully recompensed as if he had done it; "The Lord will build thee a
house, and annex the crown of Israel to it," v. 10. If there be a
willing mind, it shall not only be accepted, but thus rewarded. Nor, 3. Must he
think that because he might not do this good work therefore it would
never be done, and that it was in vain to think of it; no, I will raise up
thy seed, and he shall build me a house, v. 11, 12. God's temple shall be
built in the time appointed, though we may not have the honour of helping to
build it or the satisfaction of seeing it built. Nor, 4. Must he confine his
thoughts to the temporal prosperity of his family, but must entertain himself
with the prospect of the kingdom of the Messiah, who should descend from his
loins, and whose throne should be established for evermore, v. 14.
Solomon was not himself so settled in God's house as he should have been, nor
was his family settled in the kingdom: "But there shall one descend from
thee whom I will settle in my house and in my kingdom," which intimates
that he should be both a high priest over the house of God and should have the
sole administration of the affairs of God's kingdom among men, all power both
in heaven and in earth, in the house and in the kingdom, in the church and in
the world. He shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of
peace shall be between them both, and he shall build the temple of the
Lord, Zec. 6:12, 13.
We have here David's solemn address to God, in answer to the
gracious message he had now received from him. By faith he receives the
promises, embraces them, and is persuaded of them, as the patriarchs, Heb,
11:13. How humbly does he here abase himself, and acknowledge his own
unworthiness! How highly does he advance the name of God and admire his
condescending grace and favour! With what devout affections does he magnify the
God of Israel and what a value has he for the Israel of God! With what assurance
does he build upon the promise, and with what a lively faith does he put it in
suit! What an example is this to us of humble, believing, fervent prayer! The
Lord enable us all thus to seek him! These things were largely observed, 2 Sa.
7. We shall therefore here observe only those few expressions in which the
prayer, as we find it here, differs from the record of it there, and has
something added to it.
I. That which is there expressed by way of question (Is this
the manner of men, O Lord God?) is here an acknowledgment: "Thou
hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree. Thou hast
made me a great man, and then treated me accordingly." God, by the
covenant-relations into which he admits believers, the titles he gives them, the
favours he bestows on them, and the preparations he has made for them, regards
them according to the estate of men of high degree, though they are mean and
vile. Having himself distinguished them, he treats them as persons of
distinction, according to the quality he has been pleased to put upon them. Some
give these words here another reading: "Thou hast looked upon me in the
form of a man who art in the highest, the Lord God; or, Thou hast made me
to see according to the form of a man the majesty of the Lord God." And
so it points at the Messiah; for, as Abraham, so David, saw his day and was
glad, saw it by faith, saw it in fashion as a man, the Word made flesh,
and yet saw his glory as that of the only-begotten of the Father.
And this was that which God spoke concerning his house for a great while to
come, the foresight of which affected him more than any thing. And let it not be
thought strange that David should speak so plainly of the two natures of Christ
who in spirit called him Lord, though he knew he was to be his Son
(Ps. 110:1), and foresaw him lower than the angels for a little while,
but afterwards crowned with glory and honour, Heb. 2:6, 7.
II. After the words What can David say more unto thee, it
is here added, for the honour of they servant? v. 18. Note, The honour
God puts upon his servants, by taking them into covenant and communion with
himself, is so great that they need not, they cannot, desire to be more highly
honoured. Were they to sit down and wish, they could not speak more for their
own honour than the word of God has spoken.
III. It is very observable that what in Samuel is said to be for
thy word's sake is here said to be for thy servant's sake, v. 19.
Jesus Christ is both the Word of God (Rev. 19:13) and the servant of
God (Isa. 42:1), and it is for his sake, upon the score of his meditation,
that the promises are both made and made good to all believers; it is in him
that they are yea and amen. For his sake is all kindness done, for his
sake it is made known; to him we owe all this greatness and from him we are to
expect all these great things; they are the unsearchable riches of Christ,
which, if by faith we see in themselves and see in the hand of the Lord Jesus,
we cannot but magnify as great things, the only true greatness, and speak
honourably of accordingly.
IV. In Samuel, the Lord of hosts is said to be the God over
Israel; here he is said to be the God of Israel, even a God to Israel,
v. 24. His being the God of Israel bespeaks his having the name of their
God and so calling himself; his being a God to Israel bespeaks his
answering to the name, his filling up the relation, and doing all that to them
which might be expected from him. There were those that were called gods
of such and such nations, gods of Assyria and Egypt, gods of Hamad and Arpad;
but they were no gods to them, for they stood them in no stead at all, were mere
ciphers, nothing but a name. But the God of Israel is a God to Israel;
all his attributes and perfections redound to their real benefit and advantage. Happy
therefore, thrice happy, is the people whose God is Jehovah; for he will be
a God to them, a God all-sufficient.
V. The closing words in Samuel are, With thy blessing let the
house of thy servant be blessed forever. That is the language of a holy
desire. But the closing words here are the language of a most holy faith: For
thou blessest, O Lord! and it shall be blessed for ever, v. 27. 1. He was
encouraged to beg a blessing because God had intimated to him that he had
blessings in store for him and his family: "Thou blessest, O Lord!
and therefore unto thee shall all flesh come for a blessing; unto thee do I come
for the blessing promised to me." Promises are intended to direct and
excite prayer. Has God said, I will bless? Let our hearts answer, Lord,
bless me, 2. He was earnest for the blessing because he believed that those
whom God blesses are truly and eternally blessed: Thou blessest, and it shall
be blessed. Men can but beg the blessing; it is God that commands
it. What he designs he effects; what he promises he performs; saying and doing
are not two things with him. Nay, it shall be blessed for ever. His
blessings shall not be revoked, cannot be opposed, and the benefits conferred by
them are such as will survive time and days. David's prayer concludes as God's
promise did (v. 14) with that which is for ever. God's word looks at
things eternal, and so should our desires and hopes.