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Hope “When your time comes and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will discipline him with a rod of men and blows from mortals. But my faithful love will never leave him as it did when I removed it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and kingdom will endure before me forever, and your throne will be established forever.” Nathan reported all these words and this entire vision to David.

At this moment, there is a toilet paper roll wrapped in aluminum foil hanging on our Christmas tree. Way back when, to my first-grader eyes, it was a shimmering, glorious candle resplendent with a red yarn bow and tissue paper flame. It was the pinnacle of my crafting career, and I was proud to hang it in a prominent place on our family’s Christmas tree. Finally, I had something worthy to add to the celebration. In 2 Samuel Chapter 7, King David is also in a celebratory mood. He has settled into his fine palace of cedar and has “rest on every side from all his enemies” (v.1). He has just successfully relocated the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem with lots of fanfare and revelry. Now, he wants to add one more thing to the celebration: a worthy home for the Ark. Instead of the Tabernacle tent, David wants to build a house for God to dwell in. There’s just one problem: The LORD says no. Because of his history of bloodshed and violence, David is not counted worthy to honor God in that way (1 Chr 22:8). But God, in His grace and kindness, grants David a greater, more glorious “yes.” Instead of David constructing a home for his God, he is told, “The LORD himself will make a house for you.” This isn’t just another fancy palace for the king and his family. This is a lineage—a dynasty that will “endure before [the LORD] forever” (v.16). David did the best mankind can do: He offered God his best effort—a grand, but earthly structure tied to a place and time—and it was found wanting. Nothing that we create in our own strength is worthy of Him. Yet God did not wholly spurn David’s gift. Instead, he exchanged it for the hope of an even better gift to come. It is tempting to expect instant fulfillment of God’s promises to us, and we do see the short-term results of this particular promise in the person of Solomon. He is David’s descendant who builds a house for the name of the LORD (1 Kgs 6). We see how God disciplines Solomon but never removes his faithful love (1 Kgs 11). Yet these are temporary blessings: David’s grandson inherits a broken kingdom because of his father’s sin, and the temple Solomon built is destroyed by an invading army (2 Chr 36:19). Where is God’s promise of an established-forever throne? Where is David’s hope fulfilled? Fast-forward to the very beginning of the Christmas story, when the angel Gabriel describes Mary’s coming son: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end” (Lk 1:32-33). Centuries later, God’s covenant with David is perfectly kept in Jesus. He is the Son of the promise whose throne is permanently established and whose house has sufficient rooms for all who would enter in. He is the

2 Samuel 7:12-17

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