2 Samuel 7:1. When the king sat in his house, and began to feel the approaches of age, he was more concerned for the ark than for himself. All men, but especially the aged, should do their best for religion.
2 Samuel 7:3. Go, do all that is in thy heart. Here the Lord’s thoughts were not as Nathan’s; and here is the hallowed distinction which must ever be preserved between the revelations of God, and the ordinary thoughts of inspired men. We find Samuel, and Jonah, and others, exactly in the situation of Nathan.
2 Samuel 7:12. I will set up thy seed after thee. This is one of the most remarkable prophecies, comprising a constellation of promises, in the old testament. Many a saint has wished to build a church, chapel, or school for religious purposes; and the Lord has accepted the will and the preparations for the full act. Here we find, that God’s first care is over the church. “He (Solomon) shall build a house for my name.” Covenants, we may observe, are all sure in the hands of Christ, but they have conditions in regard of man. “The throne of David, the Messiah, shall be established for ever.” Yet the dying king said to Solomon, “If thou forsake the God of thy father, and rebel, he will cast thee off for ever.” 1 Chronicles 28:10. So Ezekiel said, that David, the Messiah, should be shepherd over his people for ever. Hosea also foretold that God would “raise again the tabernacle of David which had fallen down,” for he foresaw the departure of the sceptre from that house. Zachariah and Elizabeth rejoiced to see the horn of salvation raised up in Christ. Luke 1.
2 Samuel 7:19. Is this the manner of man, oh Lord God? This is a very unsuccessful reading. The Hebrew is, “This is the direction (or the law) of Adam:” that is, by speaking thus to thy servant, thou art honouring me as thou didst honour Adam, by a covenant to him and his posterity.
2 Samuel 7:23. From the nations and their gods. In 1 Chronicles 17:21, it reads better, “By driving out nations from before thy people.”
True piety is ever distinguished by gratitude to God. What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits? While David, taken from the sheep-cotes, enjoyed a palace of cedar, built in the Tyrian style, he blushed to think that the ark of God still dwelt in tents, and felt much that devout people should he exposed to storms and tempests while worshipping in the open courts. He was ashamed to think that most of the heathen nations had adjourned the mysteries of superstition from the mountains and the groves, to the most magnificent temples that art could devise, or industry elevate. He therefore wished to rival or excel them in gratitude to that God, to whom both he and all his people owed their existence and their victories.
We should also observe, that this pious wish originated wholly with David; the Lord was content to dwell in tents, having originally chosen the tabernacle for his pavilion; and because it expressed the more strikingly, that the symbols of his presence were not absolutely confined to any place, or to any particular people; for in these later ages, the glory has been conferred on the believing gentiles. Let us learn hence, that we are strangers and pilgrims on earth, and that we ought to cherish the tokens of God’s special presence in our hearts, and in our assemblies, lest he should cause his glory to depart to a people more faithful to his grace.
Though David’s purpose to build a house to the Lord was not accepted, because he had neither leisure nor adequate means; and because he had shed much blood in wars, he was not proper to prefigure the peaceful reign of the Messiah; yet the piety of his wish was so pleasing to God, that he gave him a grand series of personal and family promises. He promised in particular, that he would build him a sure house, far more stable than any which the hands of man could raise; that he would be a father to Solomon his son, and to his Christ; and that his children should reign for ever before him. This was fulfilled in the kings of Judah who reigned in Jerusalem; in the Asmœnian family, who reigned as governors, though frequently interrupted with chasms; and lastly, in Christ, who sitteth for ever on the throne of his father David. So the Holy Ghost has expounded this passage: Luke 1:32-33. Hebrews 1:8. And farther, to comfort David, that God would not take his covenant from him as from Saul. If his children should sin, the Lord would visit their iniquities with stripes, as it is expressed in the 89th Psalm, but his lovingkindness he would not utterly take away, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. We have said in the remarkable case of Eli, that every covenant has its conditions, either expressed or implied: what then are those stripes? It is replied, where repentance followed sin they were the gentle stripes of a father’s hand. But in more than a hundred tragic cases these stripes were God’s heaviest strokes of vengeance, as is exemplified in the assassination of Amnon, the piercing of Absalom in the worst of sins, the slaughter of all the seed royal by Athaliah, except Joash an infant; and the like slaughter of all the princes by Nebuchadnezzar, except a small remnant. Let then the profane professor tremble at the idea of these stripes for his sin, nor think to stain the glory of heaven by arrogating promises grossly misapplied.
But while apostasy is inspired with fear, and while the riches of grace are guarded by the terrors of justice, let us be comforted and quickened in devotion, by every new expression of God’s lovingkindness. So David, now softened into grateful piety, went into the Lord’s house, and uttered one of the sublimest prayers that ever had proceeded from his heart. If new mercies do not enkindle pious affections, and reanimate our devotion, it is a sad sign that we are in a dead and lukewarm state. On the contrary, let us cheerfully follow the drawings of love; and let every signal mercy vouchsafed to us and our families, be a fresh occasion of renewing our covenant with God, the giver of all good. Happy, thrice happy, if sermons and ordinances do indeed bring us into the same frame of mind, into which Nathan’s sermon brought David.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 7". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent