1 Chronicles 17:1–15

Read the passage.

Now that the ark of the covanent has been installed in Jerusalem, King David rests in his house. He looks on what he has accomplished and realizes that something isn’t right. Previously, he had commissioned a palace for him and his family to live in, which is right and proper for a king to do. But now he realizes that the place where he dwells is more magnificent than the one God resides in, which is not how things ought to be. He consults his spiritual advisor, the prophet Nathan, on the matter, and he immediately realizes that David is correct, and gives him the green light to do what he wants to rectify the situation.

That night the Lord tells Nathan, “Well, yes, but actually no.” In all of the years since the Lord made the people of Israel into a nation, He never once mentioned to them that He would live in anything but a tent. The tabernacle was a very big tent, full of splendor, and it was necessary for it to be portable while the Israelites left Egypt for the promised land. Now that David has raised the question, though, the Lord tells him that it is David’s son, the next king, who will build a permanent house for the Lord to dwell in.

That’s not even the important part of God’s message to David, though. Just as the Lord brought David out of the sheep pastures and installed him on the throne of the whole nation, so the Lord has also brought Israel out of the obscurity of being an enslaved people to plant them in the Fertile Crescent as a world power. The Lord promises David that Israel will become established so that they will not be disturbed by violent men trying to lay waste to them. Furthermore, in an ironic reversal that the Lord uses so often, instead of David building a permanent house (temple) for the Lord, the Lord will make David’s house (dynasty) permanent. The throne of David will be established forever, and the Lord will not remove His favor as He did with King Saul.

One may read these promises, look at history since then, and say, “That didn’t work out the way God said it would.” The Babylonians exiled Judah and deposed its king, which is very much on the mind of the Chronicler and his audience. The Greek empire and the Roman empire both did violence to the people of Israel during their occupations. The Holocaust had an explicit goal of laying waste to all the people descended from Israel. But the eternal God plays a long game. It is no trouble to Him to say something will happen and then wait thousands of years before completing it. There may be some conspiracy of nationalists who have kept geneological records and have an heir to David’s throne waiting in the wings for the right time to coronate him. It’s possible, but both unlikely and unnecessary. The Lion of Judah, the Root of David, the Son of God and Son of Man, lived and died on the earth, and lived again before ascending to Heaven. He will again descend to the Earth as its conquering King where He will reign with righteousness and justice forever and ever.

Come, Lord Jesus.

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