God's Covenant with David
2 Samuel 7:11-16
And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies…

1. This narrative is an interesting illustration of the truth that God will honour the man who seeks to honour Him. David wanted to build a house for the Lord, and he was moved to it, we have reason to believe, by the highest considerations. He determined that he would build a house for the Lord, and as far as possible make it worthy of Him. But David, because he had been a man of war, was not permitted to carry out the high resolve. But while the Lord did not allow David to build the house, He permitted him to make all the necessary preparations for it. He was permitted to gather the materials and provide the gold and the silver. And this preparatory work does not stand as high with us as it should. It is the man who reaps the harvest, who brings the sheaves to the garner, who gets all the honour, while the man who did the still harder work of clearing the land and preparing the soil for the seed is scarcely thought of. Perhaps just here it might be well to remind ourselves that our gracious Master put a far higher value on this preparatory work than we are accustomed to do. He placed John the Baptist above all the prophets, above all who had gone before him, and yet John's work from first to last was a preparatory one. After he had gone to his rest and reward, if any one had asked, What did John do while he dwelt among us? the only answer could have been, He prepared the way of the Lord; he made His path straight before Him. That was his mission, that was his life-work, and yet it was that mission and that short life-work which lifted him to as high a place as man had ever reached before.

2. Then, again, while David was not allowed to build the house of the Lord, he was called to do a still greater work for the Church. David was to write the songs of the sanctuary, and the Lord of hosts, it would seem, had been fitting him for this greater work from his childhood up. It is a fact to which our attention has been called by one of England's greatest preachers that the life of David is constantly cropping out in the psalms — that they are so woven together and so essential to each other that we never could have had the psalms but for the life. Now, I have spoken of this contribution to the worship of Jehovah as a more important work than the one on which David had set his heart — as a more important work than to build the house of the Lord. Has not the result made the statement good? Where is the magnificent house which Solomon built, and where the Shekinah, the terrestrial throne of Jehovah? And where is the house built at such a fabulous cost that took its place? Not one stone is left standing on another. But the psalms are still ours; the sacred songs of David are still a part of our spiritual patrimony. We are marching still to the inspired and inspiring music. They are growing daily dearer to us, like the water from the rock which grew the sweeter the longer it flowed. But David's covenant God was so well pleased with that which he had it in his heart to do that he went one step farther. If David might not build the house of the Lord, his son might do it in his stead. And this, I think, is just what David would have chosen for himself. If it had been left for the king of Israel to decide, I think he would have said, "Let my son build the house; let him have all the glory of it; let it evermore be associated with his name." We cannot doubt that this is what such a man as the sweet singer of Israel was would have chosen. We live in our children. We rise up early, we sit up late, we eat the bread of sorrow, we wear ourselves out prematurely, we reach the grave before it is ready for us, and all: that it may be better for our children after we are gone. And yet, strong and tenacious as our affections are, there have been but few men among us who could love as David the king did. He was the man who left his throne, and fasted and wept and lay all night on the earth, and refused to be comforted, because the life of his little child was hanging by a thread. He was the man who uttered the bitterest cry save one that ever came from a breaking heart: "O, my son Absalom! my son! my son! would God that I had died for thee! O, Absalom, my son! my son!" The honour of the son is the honour of the father multiplied a hundred-fold. At all events, so it is with every man who can love as David did.

3. Because this work was not hurried on, because it was delayed, no one was robbed, no one was oppressed, no one was oppressively taxed. The bed of the poor man was not sold from under him to build the house of the Lord; the stones were not cemented together with tears and blood, and when the majestic edifice was dedicated no curses mingled with the alleluias. And that, no doubt, was one reason why the work was thus delayed, our heavenly Father is so considerate for the poor. And yet the building of that house in the way in which it was done was the best thing up to that time that Israel ever did for the poor. Next to God himself, the poor and needy, the widow and the fatherless, have no such friend as God's house. Building a church in any place makes it sure that the sick will have a hospital, and the orphan a home, and the dead a burial-place where they may sleep in peace. From beneath the sanctuary flow those streams which carry health and life whithersoever they may go.

4. Now we have reached the climax. David's covenant God went far beyond his thoughts, far beyond his highest aspirations, and gave him that which David would never have ventured to ask for. He promised to establish his throne for ever: "And when thy days be fulfilled," etc. Look heavenward, and see how wonderfully this promise has been fulfilled. The Son of David is now at the right hand of the Majesty on high; the Son of David is now seated on that throne which has a rainbow round about it, and all power in heaven and on earth has been committed to His hands

(J. B. Shaw, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.

WEB: and as from the day that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. I will cause you to rest from all your enemies. Moreover Yahweh tells you that Yahweh will make you a house.

God's Covenant with David
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