A Brief Skim Through the Bible

Monarchy

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

2 Samuel 7:1-27


7 After the king was settled in his palace and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent."
3 Nathan replied to the king, "Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you."
4 But that night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying:
5 "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the Lord says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"'
8 "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth. 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning 11 and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
"'The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.'"
17 Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

David’s Prayer

18 Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:
"Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 19 And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant - and this decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a mere human!
20 "What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord. 21 For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.
22 "How great you are, Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 23 And who is like your people Israel - the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 24 You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, Lord, have become their God.
25 "And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised, 26 so that your name will be great forever. Then people will say, 'The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!' And the house of your servant David will be established in your sight.
27 "Lord Almighty, God of Israel, you have revealed this to your servant, saying, 'I will build a house for you.' So your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 29 Now be pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in your sight; for you, Sovereign Lord, have spoken, and with your blessing the house of your servant will be blessed forever."

Reflection

So following the Exodus from Egypt, the people pass through the waters and reach the other side safe from Pharaoh's tyranny.

On the banks of the Red Sea the people sang a song of thanks and praise to God.

"The LORD will reign forever and ever." Exodus 15:18

This is the first use of kingly language about God.

God is king. 

He is the deliverer of his people and will continue to care for his people as the live in the land he has given them, but he does so as king.

Israel was unusual from all the surrounding nations because they didn’t have a human king. They showed their trust and obedience by following God as they (theoretically) learned by following him in the wilderness (pillar of cloud and fire).

However, despite this, eventually they asked God for a king themselves to be like the other nations. They ignored God's warning of what life would be like with a human king and cared little for being the distinctive people they were called to be. Eventually God relented and asked the prophet Samuel to anoint Saul as king over Israel (1 Samuel 8).

This begins a whole host of kings under the great King. Most of the king we see in the Bible are a complete and utter disaster. The Bible is largely ambivalent when it comes to kings. The exception to this pattern is David. 

David is shown to be a faithful king because he seeks to fulfil his kingly role of building a temple (2 Samuel 7)

There are several important promises included in God's covenant with David:
Firstly, to make David's name great;
secondly, to provide for Israel and give them security; 
thirdly, to give them rest from their enemies; 
fourthly, to establish David's dynasty;

All of which echoes back to God's covenant with Abraham.
And points forward to the coming Messiah, the one who will reign justly. 

But the final thing God promises is to enable David's son, Solomon to build a Temple for the Lord to dwell among his people. A place of worship.

Are you beginning to see a pattern? God acts, people want to go their own way, allows humans to do it and remains faithful throughout determined to make good things out of bad decisions. His desire is to be close and to dwell among his people. 

Nothing is too far gone, too far lost for God to redeem. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

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