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This is a most interesting chapter, in that it brings before us a gracious interview between the Lord and his servant David, at throne of grace. David felt his heart prompted to build an house for God. He is forbidden to do it, but is told that his son shall. The chapter closes with his prayer and thanksgivings.
1 Chronicles 17:1
Before I enter upon this chapter, I beg to premise to the Reader, that as the contents of it, almost literally, hath been commented upon before, in 2 Samuel 7:0 ; I shall not go over the same observations again as were there offered. I therefore refer the Reader to that part of our volume. But as the chapter is uncommonly beautiful, and as it opens to us a vast fund of the sweetest improvement, I beg to call the Reader's attention to several interesting considerations which arise out of it, over and above what are proposed there. This first verse, of what passed in David's mind, may serve to teach gracious souls how evident it is, that the Lord Jesus, by the sweet influences of his Spirit, is frequently suggesting to them divine thoughts. May not you and I, my brother, find such in our own experience? Hath the Lord brought me on my way as he had done to David? Hath he blessed me with various mercies around? And shall not I, while I sit in my house of God's providing, feel my soul drawn out at times to contemplate the mercy? Can any history be so sweet and interesting as a man's own history, when he is enabled to look back and trace goodness, mercy, and grace following him all the days of his life? And upon such occasions, what should following the result of a heart overflowing with a sense of mercies; a cup running over; what, but to feel like David, a desire that everything which may promote the glory of Jesus, may be accomplished? Do I really belong to Jesus, and shall I not take part in all that concerns Jesus? Shall I sit in my house with composure, and see the house of my God lie waste? Shall I be more solicitous that my house, and my family, and my children, may be great, than to see the house of Jesus prosper, and his hungry ones filled with bread! Reader! what saith your heart to these questions? Shall I tell you what I feel? If I blush as I write these lines, it is to think what mercies of my bountiful God I have recompensed with in gratitude? How little I have done for him and his dear ones, who hath done so much for me and mine. And if my eyes overflow, (as they do indeed while my pen moves on) it is in the recollection of Jesus's love, and my coldness.
Let us pause over this view of Nathan, just to observe how delightful appears the character of a faithful minister of Christ, to be always ready to help forward the pious intentions of their people. Nathan concluded that this thought of David must (as no doubt it did) have arisen from the gracious influence of the Lord's Spirit upon the mind. And though Nathan had not been to ask counsel of God at a throne of grace, before he gave an answer, (which no doubt would have been wiser) yet the prophet did not err in his conclusion, that God was with him.
But, Reader, if we pause to admire the conduct of Nathan, what a pause of admiration ought we to make here, in contemplating the goodness, the grace, the condescension, (what shall I call it) the astonishing condescension of a most gracious God. Oh! Reader! who hath ever calculated, what breast of an angel hath ever fully conceived the astonishing subject, that the High and Holy One, which inhabiteth eternity, should ever look upon, much less dwell with, and yet more dwell in the human mind! Great Lord of heaven and earth, who is it of whom we speak, when we contemplate the great mystery of godliness; God manifest in the flesh! Mark, Reader, as you go over every part and portion of this gracious message of God to his servant, how the whole furnisheth evidence upon evidence of that glorious character in which the Lord once for all revealed himself in the Mount to Moses, until the confirmation of it was finally and indelibly sealed in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. I mean when the Lord passed by, before the man of God, and proclaimed; The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Exodus 34:6 . And was not this message to David a renewed proclamation of the same? I pass over the consideration of the various precious things contained in this message of the Lord; for the several expressions themselves, in their own sweet order and simplicity, possess a power, when under the Holy Ghost's teaching, to convey to the Reader's mind, an apprehension of the love of God in Christ to his people; which no Commentator, less than God the Spirit, can improve. But I beg the Reader to observe the grace of the Lord towards David. After having reminded him how he hid been with him, and how he had led him, and defended him, and made his name great among the great ones of the earth; after the recapitulation of these outlines in David's own history, let the Reader observe with me, how the Lord calls upon David to attend to higher things than matters of a temporal nature. In the throne and kingdom which the Lord promiseth to establish with David's seed, and which was to be forever, how plainly are the features of Jesus and his kingdom, as the seed of David after the flesh, here pointed out. Solomon, the son and successor of David, was indeed to build a temporal house for the Lord, and great earthly splendor was to distinguish that temple. But never could it be said of Solomon, in the peculiar sense in which it is here expressed; I will be his father, and he shall be my son; much less, that his throne should be established forevermore. Pause, Reader! and look up with holy thankfulness and praise, while you behold the love of God the Father thus bursting forth in such precious intimations, concerning the throne, and dominion of our adorable Redeemer, at an age so remote from the time of Jesus's coming. Behold! what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us! Remark also, the prominent features of Jesus and his kingdom, in the relation here given by God the Father. I tell thee (saith the Lord to David) that the Lord will build thee an house: and I will establish his throne forever. And the prophet saith, in confirmation of it; He shall build the temple of the Lord, and he shall bear the glory. And this was said several generations after Solomon's death, and after Solomon's temple was rased to the ground. Zechariah 6:13 . Precious are these views of the glorious Covenant grace and mercy, founded and secured as it is in Jesus.
For the sake of shortness, I must again refer the Reader to the Commentary on this conduct of David, as it is written on the 7th chapter of the 2nd book of Samuel (2 Samuel 7:0 ). In addition to what is there observed, I would only subjoin, that the reply of David to the Lord, concerning the Lord's having spoken of a great while to come, evidently proves, that by faith David was looking forward to the accomplishment of the divine promises in Christ Jesus. Peter, in his sermon, under the Holy Ghost's influence, shows this, when he said, David being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ. Acts 2:30-31 . Is not the argument which David makes use of, when he saith, for thy servant's sake, made with an eye to Christ? And if so, how beautiful a view doth it afford of David's faith in Jesus; as well as his dependence upon the covenant love of the Father; when he adds, according to thine own heart. Reader! these are precious things to glean, as we go, in the field of the Old Testament scriptures. In confirmation yet more, let me beg the Reader to compare what is here said of Jehovah's servant, with what in the parallel passage, is said on the same account, 2 Samuel 7:0 . Here David argues for Jehovah's servant's sake. And there it is, for thy Word's sake. And what is the fair conclusion from both, but this, that the Lord Jesus Christ is both the Servant of Jehovah in his human nature, and in his Mediatorial office; and in his divine nature the Uncreated Word, as God. And as such is frequently in the scriptures spoken of under both, and by either. Isaiah 42:1 ; John 1:1 ; Revelation 19:13 . I must not enlarge further on this sweet chapter. I have already exceeded the limits I intended. But as the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to give his approbation, in having this feature in the life of David drawn again in this book of the Chronicles, added to what he had given the church in the 2nd book of Samuel, what I have ventured to add in this place may not be improper, under an humble hope that he will bless it to the Reader.
READER! observe how truly lovely and graceful a devout heart appears in the highest of characters among the sons of men. How much greater doth David shine in this chapter, when going in before the Lord under such a self-abasement of soul, than the mightiest earthly monarch before his army. The way to true greatness is in the path of humility.
Observe how condescending the Lord is, for the comfort and encouragement of his servant. And depend upon it, such is, and such will be the graciousness of the Lord to all his people. That sweet promise is a volume to this amount. It shall come to pass, that before they call I will answer: and while they are speaking I will hear.
But principally, and above all, Reader, do not fail to observe how much of Jesus and his finished salvation is in this passage. The Lord Jehovah then said to the patriarch; I tell thee that the Lord will build thee an house. I will raise up thy seed, He shall build me an house. And I will establish his throne forever. And what is it now? Blessed be Jehovah; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the glorious Covenanters, the gracious Fulfillers. The Son of God is come. He hath tabernacled among us. He hath built his house. He hath hewn out his seven pillars. He hath (as the Wisdom, Image of the Invisible God) killed his beasts, mingled his wine, and furnished his table. And having obtained eternal redemption, by his blood and righteousness, he is now entered into the temple not made with hands, but into heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God for us. Hail! thou Jehovah Jesus, Lord of all! All power is thine in heaven and on earth. In thee the souls of all thy redeemed ones rejoice. And of the increase of thy government and peace there shall be no end; upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment, and with justice, from henceforth, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 17". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14