Our God Makes and Fulfills Promises
2 Samuel 5-7
9th Sunday after Pentecost–August 13, 2017 (am)
Our God makes and fulfills promises. Do you believe that? Do you find that He is faithful? Really? So, when Jesus says, for instance, that He will return in power and great glory to complete His saving work in us and establish the new heavens and new earth, you really believe Him, without question or doubt? Today’s text helps us with that question. Let’s walk through it in three steps.
David’s Conquest of the Centerpiece of the Land – 5
After all the events and intrigue in last week’s passage—scheming and murders—David outlasted them all, trusting in the Lord alone to establish him as king over all Israel. 51 Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. We’re family. 2 In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. You’ve been our leader. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’” God promised you the throne. 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign…, and he immediately set out to establish Israel in the land.
All the way back in Gen.1518-21 when land was promised to the offspring of Abram, the Jebusites, inhabitants of Jerusalem, were listed among those who would be displaced by the judgment of God. And in the days of the Judges, the men of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire (Jud.1:8). But… they never displaced the inhabitants. Joshua’s wrote, … (the people of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites), so (they) dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day (Jos.15:63) (cf. Davis 64)—possibly even in preparation for this very day, as King David conquers this infamous city to become the place of his reign.
David led a unique and successful attack of these arrogant Jebusites (cf. 5:6), apparently entering the city through the water shaft that stretched out to the Gihon Spring (8). 57 (So he) took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. … 10 And David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him. The balance of c.5 just illustrates the completeness of his victory, and not necessarily in chronological order (Davis 59).
Hiram king of Tyre helped build David’s house (5:11-12), but from what we know of Hiram’s dates, this probably happened much later in David’s reign.
Clearly David’s children (5:13-16) were born throughout a more extended season of his reign.
And although these two victories over the Philistines (5:17-21; 22-25) do seem to have happened immediately after his coronation (17), the focus here isn’t on David nearly so much as it’s on God, Who directed two quite similar victories in profoundly different ways, spotlighting His enabling of them. Truly, 510 … David became greater and greater, (because) the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him.
Also, “Israel last faced the Philistines at Gilboa, where Saul’s head and weapons were… taken on a tour throughout Philistia “to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people” (1 Sam. 31:9). In the valley of Rephaim, the very idols credited with that victory were left behind” (Leithart 189) (5:21).
The Lord… of hosts (5:10), enabled David to secure the land, and showed Himself to be capable of providing all that His people needed. 20 And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim. “Baal-perazim means ‘lord of burstings out’—vigorous images… of [the Lord’s great] power. Contemporary Christians must not tone these down, for the text means to impress us with the fact that we do not have a namby-pamby godlet who is house-broken [and can’t out perform our imaginations]. (People abandon gods like that, and they’re carried off to the landfill, v. 21). No, [the Lord’s] people have a God who is a smasher and a fighter, a God ‘mighty in battle’ (Psa.24:8), who can therefore defend his sheep and restrain and conquer all his and our enemies. Hence 2 Samuel 5 leads us straight into eschatology…, last things, for if this is our God who protects his kingdom under David, then his people never need to fear, for this God is more than able [always to] lead us in triumph (cf. 2Co.2:14) and to impose his (final) kingdom in all its power and glory” (Davis 69-70, edits mine).
The Lord’s Entry into the Capital City – 6
And the greatness of His power just continues on into c.6. The Lord ceremonially, sacramentally, enters His capital city as the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim (6:2), was brought… out of the house of Abinadab (6:3) to the city of David with rejoicing (6:12). But it wasn’t a one-step process. They were carrying the ark on a cart, even though it was supposed to be carried with poles (Exo.25:12-14) on the shoulders of the sons of Kohath (Num.4:15). It was a new cart (6:3), but it still was not the way that God said the ark should be moved. The last time we saw this happen was when the ark was being sent back to Israel from the land of the Philistines (1Sa.6:7-14). David should have known better. And you can see the problem coming. The oxen pulling the cart stumbled (6:6). Uzzah, one of the attendants, put out his hand to steady the ark (6:6). 7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. 8 And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. … 9 And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” 10 So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite, a Gentile. 11 And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household. …
12 … So David, having recovered a bit, went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. 14 And David himself danced before the Lord with all his might. … 16 … leaping and dancing before the Lord…. And 16 … Michal the daughter of Saul, David’s wife, looked out the window and saw King David…, and she despised him in her heart. And later she told him so, sarcastically, and in no uncertain terms (6:20). But David rebuked her, and said to her 621 … I will celebrate before the Lord. In fact, 22 …I will make myself more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, I shall be held in honor. Nothing is going to limit David’s celebration at the presence of the Lord being established among His people! And Michal learned that the hard way—childless for the rest of her life, one final judgment on the house of Saul.
Now, before we comment further on this, look for a moment at 619. Remember back in 1Sa.810-18 when Samuel was warning Israel about what it would mean for them to have a king? He will take your sons for the army. And he will take your daughters to serve in his palace. And he will take the best of your (crops) and grain and fields and vineyards and servants, plus a tenth of your (goods)! But look what David does here. He gives! 18 … When David had finished offering the burnt offerings and the peace offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts 19 and he distributed among all the people, the whole multitude of Israel, both men and women, a cake of bread, a portion of meat, and a cake of raisins to each one…. There is Yahweh’s king!
Now back to this situation with Michal. This is a very interesting scene. And I believe it has something to say to us still today. But I’m going to use the words of Ralph Davis again, so that it can be spoken to my own heart even as it’s being spoken to yours. Davis writes: “I think this Michal-David altercation holds a telling application to the sphere of our worship and devotion. In our churches there are any number of [people] who are very concerned with services and externals and procedures and mechanics and meetings and decency and order but who really can’t understand anything of the joy of the Lord. There are some who can muster enthusiasm and gusto over professional sports but who somehow cannot fathom anything but professional detachment over Jesus Christ. Exuberant praise and tears of repentance are strangers to them. W. G. Blaikie has carefully drawn the bottom line: “There are, doubtless, times to be calm, and times to be enthusiastic; but can it be right to give all our [coolness] to Christ and all our enthusiasm to the world?” Does the presence of God ever move us?” (80-81, edits mine)
Well, does it? This is a very good question that each of us must engage. And I believe it’s deserving of extended reflection and prayer.
The Lord’s Promise to Build David a House – 7
This leads us to the chapter we read as we began—thematically and theologically the climax to the books of Samuel! 71 Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, David wanted to build the Lord a house. And his idea sounded great to Nathan the prophet (7:3). But the Lord had different plans. A house will be built for Him in Israel soon enough. In fact, David’s son Solomon would do it (cf. 7:13). But that’s not the main house in this text.
Let’s read it again. 8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. I am the One who has preserved you all along, David, and brought you to this point. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. You will be a great king. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. Imagine! Deliverance from every single enemy! And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Surely Israel hasn’t seen this promise fulfilled yet! Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. There it is, a legacy, an enduring throne! 12 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. 13 He shall build a house for my name, just as Solomon did, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. Now here, we see all of the kings in David’s line condensed as though they were one—from Solomon to Jesus! 14 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, anticipating the exile(s), 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. David, your line will surely endure! 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever’”—not just an endless succession, but finally a forever King, yet born in David’s line!
Well, understandably, David is overwhelmed with this word from the Lord. His awe and reverence and amazement and befuddlement are so eloquently expressed in vv.18-29 that it reads like one of his psalms. And the whole plan is just so absolutely astounding to him that he knows it is completely the Lord’s doing. There’s just no way it couldn’t be! He’s done nothing to deserve this! And God’s doing such a thing just puts Him in a class all by Himself! 21 Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, this is Your doing, to make your servant know it. 22 Therefore you are great, O Lord God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. So, just do it! Just do it. 25 And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. 26 And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you. Mary spoke similar words: Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word (Luk.1:38).
Is that your heart before the Lord? Whatever you have for me is good, even best—whether king over your people or an outcast for your purpose? Paul spoke these words. 11 … I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content—rich or poor, comfortable or persecuted. Trust God. Be available for His use. And be content. Is that your story?
This is an amazing and far-reaching set of promises (covenant) God is making to (with) David, and we’ll talk more about it this evening, but now let’s string together the outcomes we’ve seen in each of these chapters and see where they lead us.
C.5 – We serve a powerful God Who can protect His people, defeat their enemies, and keep His promises.
C.6 – We serve a holy God Who is fully worthy of our exuberant and enthusiastic worship.
C.7 – We serve a great God Who has a plan for this world, and we have a place in it—sometimes desirable, sometimes not, but always good.
These are great lessons to learn from David’s experience in 2Sa.5-7, but they’re not just intellectual insights. They are experiential realities. Let’s back up through them.
C.7 – We serve a great God Who has a plan for this world, and we have a place in it—sometimes desirable, sometimes not, but always good. Question: Are you good with this? If we get David’s assignment—if we’re king of something—it’s a lot easier! But if we get Mary’s—if we’re called to suffer ridicule or shame—it’s not so nice. Paul listed his sufferings in 2Co.11-12. We read of the prophets—I’m reading Jeremiah right now—there’s a prophet who suffered! Isaiah was told Judah wouldn’t listen to his preaching. But he preached. The apostles (rejoiced) that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for (Jesus’) name (Act.5:41). Do we believe even at such times that all things are (working) together for good? (Rom.8:28)
C.6 – We serve a holy God Who is fully worthy of our exuberant and enthusiastic worship. A great God who works all things together for good is surely worthy of all worship. But have we fallen in love with Him so deeply that enjoying Him is preeminent over every other enjoyment in this life, unrivaled by any other? I love the energy of our corporate worship here at GCD. But I would love to hear even more energy, and for us to be less concerned about limiting the posture or motion of our worship than we are about the possibility that we may be limiting its fullest expression. I would love for us to trust God with that balance.
C.5 – We serve a powerful God Who can protect His people, defeat their enemies, and keep His promises. He can protect us not only from our spiritual enemies but also from false ideas, false doctrine, and even false emotionalism in our worship. In fact, He not only protects and preserves us, but He keeps His promises to us, both in time and in eternity. And this powerful God who promised David a legacy, a rich, kingly inheritance, has also promised us an inheritance in Christ. And He will surely deliver on it! We can trust in the promises God has made to us because we can see not only that He is being faithful to keep His promises to David and to Israel, but because He is able to keep his promises to them! He made some pretty big ones to David! And now, in Christ—born as a baby, God and Man in one, lived as a faithful Servant of God, preaching the gospel, crucified for our sin as foretold, among others, by the prophet Isaiah (53), buried, risen three days later according to the Scriptures, and ascended back to the Father, promising a return in power and great glory to complete His saving work in us and establish the new heavens and new earth—in Christ, He has made some pretty big ones to us! And we can see enough of God’s promises to David fulfilled that we are truly enabled to trust Him fully in the ones He’s made to us!
Do you enjoy that confidence in God this day? Do you know Him through His eternal Son, born into our race in fulfillment of His promise to David? When the God we’re talking about is able to do that—is able to go that far to fulfill His promise: to enable the birth, death, and resurrection of one Being with two natures, God and man united in Jesus forever, to accomplish your salvation—such a God is able to do anything! And He is surely worthy of your trust, your allegiance, your worship, even if only because He has proven Himself able to save you from His own eternal judgment! And when you receive David’s promised Son, Jesus, Who will sit on his throne forever, ruling God’s Kingdom with true righteousness, holiness, and love, He actually makes that promise to you!
And He will keep it!