Vol. 11 — No. 13 March 29, 1970
2 Samuel 7:12-13
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.
In Christ Jesus, whom in His deepest humiliation we acclaim the King of Glory, Fellow Redeemed:
The words of our text are words of the Lord God spoken unto King David through Nathan, the prophet. David was at the height of his power and glory when these words were spoken. He was thankful unto the Lord who had raised him up from a humble shepherd lad, from following after the sheep, to the kingship over Israel, to be the mightiest monarch in the world at that time. David wanted to show his appreciation. So he called the Prophet Nathan and said unto him: “See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.” David had constructed for himself a magnificent palace, but the House of the Lord was still the same tabernacle of curtains that God had commanded to be constructed while His people were still wandering homeless in the wilderness. Now David wanted to build a temple unto the Lord, befitting his God and expressing his thankfulness. Nathan thought that David’s idea was excellent, and so he told the King to go ahead with his plans. But that same night the Word of the Lord came to Nathan with a different message for King David. Our text is part of that message. Instead of permitting David to do something to show his appreciation, the Lord was going to do still more for David. The Lord did not want David to build the temple. He had already decided that his son, Solomon, would do that task. The Lord had greater plans for David. He told David of the great future which lay ahead of him and his family. He said to David: “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.” The Lord was speaking of the time after David’s death. The kingdom would not depart from his house, as it had departed from the house of Saul. Recall that the kingdom had been in Saul’s house for but one generation because Saul had been disobedient unto the Lord. The Lord promised to establish and preserve the kingdom for David. That was a great blessing for David, but if we examine the words of the Lord a bit more closely, we see that there was an even greater promise in those words. The Lord was speaking of the seed of David, of some future descendant. Concerning that future descendant the Lord said: “He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” These words reveal that the Lord was speaking of a coming King who would be more than an earthly king, for no earthly king rules forever. The Lord is speaking of David’s greater Son, the Lord Jesus, who was born The King and whose Kingdom shall have no end. We see then that these words of prophecy reveal—
When we examine the life of David, we can see him as a type of Christ—
You will recall that David was anointed king over Israel by Samuel, the prophet. But David did not immediately become king. Saul was still the king. As a matter of fact Samuel didn’t even reveal publicly that he was going to Bethlehem for the purpose of anointing one of the sons of Jesse to be Israel’s next king. He gave the outward impression that he was going to sacrifice in the little town—because he feared Saul, who he knew would try to kill him for anointing someone other than one of his sons to be the next king over Israel. At first Saul didn’t know that David had been anointed. You will recall that David was summoned to the palace of Saul to play upon the harp and thus to soothe King Saul when the evil spirit came upon him. David did not become a national figure until he slew the giant of the Philistines, Goliath who had defied the armies of Israel. But that great victory marked the beginning of David’s suffering and humiliation. When the armies of Israel returned victorious, the women of Israel greeted them with the song: “Saul hath slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.” When King Saul heard that, he was angry and much displeased. He looked upon David as a rival. We read: “Saul eyed David from that day forward.” As we read the story from here on, we find that Saul became more and more the hopeless and helpless slave of envy, jealousy, anger, and fear. He became determined to destroy his rival, David who, he found out, had been anointed king by Samuel. When David played upon the harp before Saul, Saul more than once tried to kill him by pinning him to the wall with his javelin. We find that Saul used his own daughter as a trap to destroy David. David loved Michal, Saul’s daughter, but David was poor and couldn’t pay the dowry for Michal. So Saul commissioned David to go and kill two hundred of the Philistines before he would give him the hand of Michal. Saul hoped that David would be killed, but the Lord gave him the victory. We find that Saul attempted to get his own son Jonathan, David’s best friend, to deliver David into his hand. Finally David had to flee and live in dangerous exile in the land of the Philistines, at times feigning madness to preserve his life. Again and again Saul arranged expeditions to capture David and destroy him. David’s life was one fleeing after another. Even after the death of Saul David did not immediately become king. Then he had to contend with the son of Saul and a portion of the army. There was civil war in Israel. All of this was the long period of humiliation through which the Lord God led David before he was finally exalted and proclaimed King over all of Israel. David passed through much suffering in great humiliation before he was exalted to the throne of Israel.
This feature in the life of David reveals him as a type of our Lord Jesus Christ, who also passed through humiliation on this earth until he was exalted on Easter morning by His Heavenly Father. In our catechism we divide the life and work of Jesus into the state of humiliation and the state of exaltation. In His state or condition of humiliation the Lord Jesus was and remained true God, the Ruler of the Universe, the Eternal One, but He did not make full and complete use of His divine power and glory. He was born here upon this earth weak and helpless as any other child. The circumstances of his birth reveal that He was even born under conditions more humble than the average child that is born in this world. Certainly the natural eye of man would have been unable to detect the glory of the heavenly King in that Babe lying wrapped in swaddling clothes in that manger in Bethlehem. When as a twelve-year-old child Jesus was obedient unto His mother, who would have been able to detect that that humble, obedient, submissive Child was the Lawgiver Himself—He who was present when Mt. Sinai rumbled and was hid by thick clouds and lightning. Occasionally throughout His ministry a ray of His glory shone through His humble person, as when He ordered the sea to be still, as when He commanded an evil spirit to come out of a person, as when He called the dead from the grave and funeral procession. But for the most part He was recognized as the rabbi from the little town of Nazareth, as the carpenter’s son, as a man acclaimed by the people but despised by the learned leaders of the people. That humility came to a climax in the last day of His life. Think of the scene before Caiaphas. There stood our High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. He permitted Himself to be blind-folded and mocked. They struck Him and then asked Him to prophesy who it was that had struck Him. Think of the scenes before Herod and Pilate when they dressed Him in royal robes and mocked and ridiculed His Kingship. Instead of the crown of glory He wore the crown of thorns. Instead of holding aloft the royal scepter, a reed was put into His hands and then taken from Him, and He was struck therewith. Think of the humility of hanging between two cursed and condemned criminals. Which of you mothers would want to bear the shame and pain of seeing your son die thus. He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, yea unto the death of the cross. That was necessary for our salvation. That was necessary to play the role of our substitute. That was necessary before the Lord would exalt Him on Easter morn—high above all principalities and powers. Through humiliation to exaltation. Through shame to glory. That was the path that our Savior trod for us.
Was it worth it? That we can answer when we consider the glory of His Kingdom. That also was portrayed in the Old Testament in the life of David—
There have been times in the history of the world when one nation controlled the world, exercising complete authority over it. The days of David were such a time. He conquered all the ancient enemies of Israel and collected tribute from them. Others sought to enter into friendly alliances with David, for all feared the might of his armies. All admired the glory of his strength. This was the golden age of Israel. At the time of Christ the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would arise and lead Israel into victorious combat over her enemies and restore the glory of the kingdom of David. Today yet Jews study their own history with longing desires for the glory of David that has departed from them. Truly great was the glory and might and splendor of the kingdom of Israel.
And yet all the glory and splendor of David is but as a flickering candle when compared with the glory and might and splendor of the Kingdom of our Christ. Jesus had occasion to speak of the glory of His Kingdom when He was put under oath by Caiaphas. He declared: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Sitting on the right hand of power is a figurative expression proclaiming the strength and might of our glorious king. We measure strength today in terms of thousands and millions of armed men, in powerful tanks and artillery, in supersonic jet fighting planes, in guided missiles, in atomically powered submarines, in gigantic air craft carriers, in intercontinental missiles with nuclear warheads. And yet what is all that power compared with the power and might of our Lord? In this day when men living on all parts of the earth are living in fear of destruction from one another, there is comfort in the words of the second Psalm which picture the futility of all the night of men over against the Lord. The psalmist asks: “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” And then the psalmist reveals the plans of the mighty and wicked of this world: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” What is the reaction of our heavenly King to all of this? The psalmist says: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” The power and might of all the men of this earth is less harmful to the Lord than the buzzing fly is to the cow quietly chewing her cud and switching her tail. When the Lord is ready, He shall destroy this world with fire, and shall come again in judgment. Then all the nations shall be forced to appear, including those powerful men of today who enslave millions and who send millions more to an untimely death. Such is the power and might of our King, the One who seemed to have gone down in defeat upon the cursed tree of the cross.
The power and might of our King, however, is not alone a source of comfort to us, for that power and might could also destroy us. The glory and splendor of Christ’s Kingdom has a different side. Of that the Lord spoke before Pilate. Pilate had asked Jesus whether or not He was a King. And Jesus had answered: “I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.” Christ’s Kingdom is the Kingdom of Truth! Christ’s Kingdom is the Kingdom that conquers with the Truth. Wherever the living Word of the living God is preached and proclaimed, there Christ is and is coming to conquer with the Truth. He would gain entrance into the hearts of men and convince them of the Truth. And what is the Truth? The Truth is that there is salvation in none other than this thorn-crowned, bloodstained King. All the world lies under condemnation. All the world had already been judged and condemned. All the world is but getting riper and riper for final judgment. There is but one way of escape. There is but one source of help. And that is to fall on your knees beneath the cross of Christ and plead for mercy and pardon. Then the King enters into your hearts and brings that peace which passeth all understanding and leads to indescribable glory in the Kingdom to come. God grant us a taste of that glory. Amen.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the King James Version.