We continue to look at God’s covenant of grace. We have seen that Enoch walked with God. We have heard that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Abraham is called the friend of God. What is the covenant of grace? It is the relationship of friendship established by God with His elect people in Jesus Christ.
Today we come to a new era in that covenant of grace, for that covenant of grace is developed throughout the unfolding of God’s covenant history with His people. With David, God makes a most beautiful promise—a promise of his throne and the kingdom that is everlasting. That we are dealing here with God’s covenant of grace, one covenant, we read in II Samuel 7:14, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” And toward the end of the chapter (v. 23): “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself.” And in verse 24: “For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, Lord, art become their God.” On this same history, we read in I Chronicles 17:22, “For thy people Israel didst thou make thine own people for ever; and thou, Lord, becamest their God.” We read in Psalm 89:3, 4: “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.” So, we are going to look at God’s promise of a throne and an everlasting kingdom.
We are going to see, first of all, David’s godly desire to build a house for God. We read in II Samuel 7 that David had rest from the enemies all around him. Then the king was sitting in his house of cedar. But we read in verse 2 that the Ark of God “dwelleth within curtains.” That did not seem right to David at all—that he is sitting in this beautiful, gorgeous palace, and the Ark of God is resting in a tent. Why is it in a tent? You will remember that Moses had the tabernacle built on their wilderness wanderings when they were at Mount Sinai at God’s command. In the tabernacle was the Ark of the covenant with the mercy seat. It was a sign of God dwelling in the midst of His people.
But you probably remember that history when the evil sons of Eli, in order to defeat the Philistines, thought they could force God to go with them, and they took the Ark of the covenant out of Shiloh into the battlefield. The Philistines conquered and took the Ark into their own land. They put that Ark of the covenant into the house of Dagon, and their god, Dagon, fell down before the Ark. They are alarmed by the boils that came upon the people. They want to get rid of the Ark of the covenant and they send it back to Israel. And it rests for awhile in the house of Obededom. David takes that Ark back to Jerusalem. First, he does it incorrectly. He puts it in a cart, and you remember the story how the oxen stumbled and the Ark was tumbling off the cart and Uzzah took his hand and he held it in place. And he died. David, later on, goes back down there and correctly brings the Ark of God up to Jerusalem and sets it in a tent.
So David comes to Nathan and says, “I want to build a house for God.” And Nathan agrees with him. He says, “Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee” (v. 3). But God comes in the night to Nathan and says, “Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?” (v. 5). David’s desire is to build a house for God, but God says (v. 11), “I will build a house for you.”
What is that house that God makes of David? This is explained for us in verses 12-14: “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” God is going to set up David’s seed after him. And God says, “I’m going to establish his kingdom.” That seed of David is going to build a house for God. “I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.” We have here God’s promise concerning David’s everlasting throne.
What an amazing promise is made to David, an everlasting throne. We will see at the end of this message that what we are really speaking about is the throne of the Messiah, which is an everlasting throne. So, as God develops His covenant of grace, we find Him giving a promise of a king with an eternal kingdom.
David had conquered all his enemies. God gave him rest. And now there is the promise of an everlasting kingdom. What an amazing characteristic of that kingdom! And David reacts with excitement and with joy. We read in verse 18: “Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” Amazing thing. May our response be like David’s, that of humility, and for the desire of God’s glory.
David had rest from his enemies. Sitting in his house, he wants to build a house for his God. That was a godly desire. But God makes a glorious promise: “No, David, you will not build that house. You will not receive the glory for building my house. Only God can build that house.” God says, “I will establish My kingdom.”
We read in the unfolding of God’s covenant that God, in His electing grace, selects Judah to be that scepter, that is, to hold the kingship in Israel. The tribe of Judah leads in the going through the wilderness. And when they are ready to go into the land of promise, the wicked prophet Balaam sees a king amongst God’s people. God Himself is going to establish that kingdom. You will remember that the people of Israel wrongly wanted a king like the other nations. And God gave them that kind of a king, King Saul. He was a wicked man. But over against Saul, God had in mind a righteous king, a man after His own heart. And so David was crowned king.
After his victories, David wants to build a house. God says, “No.” There are several reasons why. First of all, David’s enemies are not all subdued. Yes, he had a temporary rest. But even in his own household he will have enemies against his throne. You will remember his son Absalom. No, David is not going to build that house. But there is a son of David who will build that house. It is Solomon, who has peace and prosperity. There we begin to see the fulfillment of God’s promise. Oh, what a kingdom it was. Even the Queen of Sheba came and said, “The half has not been told me!” But Solomon is also sinful. His peace will not last either, will it? You will remember that when Solomon dies and his son Rehoboam comes on the throne, ten of the tribes leave. There is only a small remnant left.
No, we need to look beyond a David and we need to look beyond a Solomon to see who the real king is. God is going to save a remnant, a small group of the line of David. They are preserved, not because of the godliness in that line. Oh, there were God-fearing kings, were there not? There was Asa, there was Jehoshaphat, there was Hezekiah, Josiah. But there were more ungodly kings in Judah. We think of Athaliah and Ahaz and even Manasseh. Israel would go into captivity, chastened for their sins. And it seems as if the kingdom completely fails, because King Zedekiah is the last king on the throne. It seems as if the wicked have prevailed. But God would not forget His promise. God brought back a small remnant to the land of Israel, or Canaan. There seemed to be no more kingdom. Yet the godly still seek Him.
Who has this kingdom and this throne that is everlasting? Think a moment. David, a king for only forty years. Solomon his son was a king for only forty years. The kings in the line of Judah come and go, and finally there is only the stump of the house of Jesse. Where is this king who is going to sit on his throne forever and ever? Beloved, God’s promise of this everlasting throne and kingdom is found only in Jesus Christ. John the Baptist comes to his people in his day and he says, “Behold, the kingdom of God is at hand.” You will remember the angel who came to the virgin Mary. We read in Luke 1:30ff., “And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” And Zacharias says concerning the birth of the forerunner of Christ (vv. 68, 69), “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.”
David was a type of Jesus, of the greater one who is coming, but the types always fail. David was a man of war. David was a sinful man who even had warfare in his household because of his sin. Solomon is a type of Jesus because he had a kingdom of peace and prosperity. Solomon did build a house for God—the Temple, where the Ark of the covenant would be placed in the Holy of Holies, where God was pleased to dwell with His people. But even King Solomon is a faulty type, is he not, which he must be. We need to look for someone greater than a Solomon. Solomon, through his sin, brought Israel into trouble and ten of the tribes left.
Jesus Christ is the perfect son of David. Imagine this a moment. God sent His own Son down into this world, born of a woman, born in the line of David, of the house of David, so that He could establish His throne. And He did establish it by His death and His resurrection. It is not an earthly kingdom, but rather it is a heavenly kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom that is established in the hearts and the lives of God’s people. Jesus Christ is that promised King who sits on His throne. He ascended into heaven and all the earth is made His footstool. And Christ rules. He rules His church in His grace and in His love and in His mercy. He conquers all of His enemies—not only those enemies that would prevent His kingdom, but even you and me who by nature are opposed to God. He breaks our stubborn hearts and He establishes His throne in our hearts. Christ has an everlasting throne. Christ’s is an everlasting kingdom, a righteous kingdom.
We read in Ephesians 2:19-22: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
God said He was going to build a house for David. A house is a picture of a family dwelling together in fellowship—a father and mother with their children. God builds that house in Christ Jesus, where we are brought into this relationship of close friendship, a family—sons and daughters of God. Not only of the Jews but, as the apostle Paul wrote those words to the Ephesians in chapter 2, also to the Gentiles. He says: “Wow! You and I are Gentiles, strangers and foreigners really to God’s covenant, but we are made fellow citizens with the saints of the household of God. We are citizens of the kingdom by God’s grace. We are that building where God lives and dwells with His people. The author of Hebrews writes in chapter 12:22ff., “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
Jesus Christ is the long-awaited King who established His kingdom in His coming to earth, suffering and dying for our sins, raised to life, ascended into heaven. And Jesus Christ is now continuing to reign in His kingdom, bringing in citizens to that kingdom from all the nations and tribes of the world. It is Christ Jesus who builds the house of God. It is in Jesus Christ that God dwells in our midst. His kingdom is far more glorious than that of a David or a Solomon. Of that kingdom we read in Revelation 21:2: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” And John is told then, “Come hither. I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
So, let me get back to the question I asked way earlier: What is this house that God is going to build for David? The answer is, my friends, It is the church of Jesus Christ. That church of Jesus Christ is built upon His blood, which was shed on the cross of Calvary. By God’s grace and by His Spirit God is bringing citizens into His kingdom today, too, through the preaching of the gospel, bringing in sons and daughters to dwell in His house.
What an amazing, what a glorious promise: I will build a house for thee.
What is the response of David? It is humility, is it not? As David sat before the Lord he said, “Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” What can we say? The response of David must be your and my response also: “Who am I, O Lord, and what is my house. What are my children and grandchildren?” We are sinners, but we are sinners who were chosen by God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, indwelt by His Spirit. Our response is that of humility, and our response is a desire for the glory of God. It is only God Himself who can build this house, give this house, form this house. Our response must be faith in God. He works in our hearts and our lives and in the hearts and lives of all those who were given to Him in eternity by His Father.
Oh, what great joy we have in the purpose of God. He builds a house. And the kingdom of Jesus Christ is an everlasting kingdom, which finally will be realized when Jesus comes again, and when the wicked are all cast into hell. And in the new heavens and the new earth, God’s saints will dwell with Him forever.
Let us pray.
Father in heaven, what am I and what is my house that Thou art bringing us into Thy house, forming us as a dwelling place for Thy Spirit. We are filled with joy. We claim this promise. Hear our prayer in Jesus’ Name, Amen.