I — Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-29
II — Introduction: The season of Advent represents God’s people “greatly anticipating” the arrival of their Messiah; their eternal King. Two Sundays ago we learned that the ultimate point of Advent is the “Immanuel Concept,” or “God with us,” and is therefore centered around God and His Christ, who is manifest in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.
However, from an existential perspective (our personal selves), ultimately, Advent is about the response of God’s people to His coming to dwell with them. As we see, in what we just read in 2 Samuel 7:18—God has given, and promised to give, David everything…the world, as it were! Though actually, it was Himself which He gave to David.
David’s response in that verse is not only priceless, in a literary sense, it is a very real response, from the depths of his soul, to God’s Promise, made through His covenant with David.
David does not say, “Thanks God, for finally giving me the blessings I deserve…I was wondering when You might finally give me what You talked about all those years ago when I was trying to keep from getting killed by Saul. Wow, this is great—the way my righteousness has finally paid off! Thanks God!” No indeed.
What he did say was this, in v. 18: “Who am I, O Lord GOD? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?
And here is where we find our theme for today’s teaching…
III — Theme (in 3 parts): God calls those who were nothing, as though they were everything (Romans 4:17); knows the heart of those He calls (1 Samuel 13:14)….
….and those He calls will anticipate His coming and respond to His blessings with humility and contrition (2 Samuel 7:18)
IV — David the King, the Messianic Forerunner
- In short, the connections between David, Israel’s first true king, and Jesus Christ are so vast, we don’t have time to discuss them all here this morning. So we will mention the two most important connections—especially since we’re building to a crescendo of Jesus Christ’s birth next Sunday. So what is David’s relevance to Christ’s narrative?
- First, the entire chapter we just read is understood as God’s Covenant of His Coming Kingdom, which He makes with David: One from David’s bloodline will sit on the throne of God’s kingdom forever, and His kingdom will have no end.
- In short, David was from the tribe of Judah, and so was Jesus, in terms of His earthly parents, Joseph and Mary (the two lines of David: Joseph’s line was the legitimate and Mary’s had been cut-off many years before; thus, the significance of Mary’s Magnificat response—indeed, God calling that which was not, as though it was)
- Second, as a result of this Covenant, and the fact that it’s recorded in Jewish history; by the time of Jesus Christ—almost 1000 years later, and countless conquests of the Jews, being expelled from their homeland, oppressions, etc.—Israel had come to see David as the Messianic forerunner. For the Jewish people, when Messiah/Immanuel came, they fully expected Him to be a new David, who would liberate them from their political woes.
- Thus, when Jesus arrives on the scene, doing miracles….
….speaking so many of David’s now-famous words from his Psalms in the context of His own life as it unfolded, and attributing them to a fulfillment of prophecy—many Jews became convinced that Jesus was the new David; the long-awaited Messiah. And they were right; but there was a problem.
- The Jewish people, by and large, were so consumed by the oppression of the Romans, under which they lived, that they only attributed David’s battle mentality to Jesus. And make no mistake: Jesus will return and do battle with His enemies, and He will prevail, even more so than David did. But what they seemed to forget about regarding David’s key attributes were his contrite heart, and that he was often broken and humbled in his soul when he was faced with God’s mercy poured out upon him. If they truly likened Jesus to David as Messiah, the people would have seen—via Jesus’ own humility—
—that Messiah actually means something entirely different than what they had previously supposed. That is, Messiah is powerful—the most powerful being in existence; but His ultimate power resides in His love. And that love is what causes Him to “call those who were nothing as though they were everything.”
V — David the Sinful Human
- David does not only represent the Messiah, in terms of his kingship and the Covenant God makes with him. David represents you and me—sinful, fallen human beings.
- So, let’s see what kind of man God says is a “man after His own heart.” Let’s look at what sort of person God makes an eternal covenant with. Let’s see what kind of man God allows to be a foreshadow of His own righteousness, in regards to saving His people:
- David was passionate, above all things. Do any of us know some passionate people?
- That passion always manifests itself in righteous passion, or unrighteous passion. David displayed both, equally.
- David was an artist. Not painting, but with music and literature. I am an artist of the same variety (though I dare not compare myself with David!). This sort of artistry generally means that you are deep in thought; lost in yourself quite often; and have an extremely difficult time dealing with the mundane things of life, because they operate at such a “surface level,” whereas you tend to want to go very deep. It’s quite a philosophical mindset—therefore it always tends to be a struggle to “get quiet” in your mind, especially if you want to hear God speak. That was David.
- David was a sinner, par excelence; that is, no one can ever say they are a worse sinner than David. He was an adulterer. He was a murderer (on countless occasions—more than just ordering the death of Uriah the Hittite).
And he was prideful to the point of disobedience, when he thought he knew better than God (taking a census for the sake of knowing how strong his armies were, when God clearly told him not to, so that David’s strength would come from his trust in God, and not men…because of that disobedience on David’s part, God caused 70,000 people to die that day). David was a sinner like no other.
VI — God’s Mercy: He Calls Those Who Were Nothing As Though They Were Everything
- God does this wonderful thing for His servants—His followers—even though He knows their hearts at a deeper level than they know their own!
- Long before David ever arrives on the scene, Samuel the prophet tells Saul, Israel’s first king, “But now your kingdom shall not continue….
….The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people..”
- Have we ever considered what it means for our eternal assurance, to know that God sees the depths of our depravity—the sheer blackness of our hearts—and nevertheless bestows upon His chosen people, somewhere in the midst of all that sinfulness, a “heart which is tuned to His own heart?”
- Earlier in the theme, when we said that “God knows the hearts of His people,” our immediate reaction to this is something like: “Yeah, God knows who’s evil and who’s good…of course He knows that; otherwise how do we make sense of Him choosing some and not others, to be His?”
- But this is not how God works. Look at David! When God says He has sought and found a man after His own heart—and that that man was David the shepherd—was God then later taken by surprise by David’s utter sinful depravity?
- No indeed! God was able to call David a “man after His own heart,” because He knew the Covenant He intended to establish with him! And, just as it was in the Covenant with Abraham, God’s very first act—His very first and most necessary blessing—is that He declares those whom He calls into Covenant as being righteous, though they functionally are not; and He does this knowing that He has already given them a new heart to war against the old one (Regeneration).
VII — Responding to God’s Mercy and Presence With Humility and Contrition
- David was—as we all are, to whatever degree—very aware of his own depravity; the grave distance between his heart’s motives and God’s heart.
- Therefore, when David is chosen and anointed as king of God’s people….
….then brought under an eternal Covenant by God, where the Lord promises to keep David’s heir on the throne of God’s kingdom for all eternity—David is truly humbled in his soul by God’s great mercy.
- When David hears the Lord say that He has been with him wherever he has gone…and that He has given David rest from his enemies on all sides…and that His mercy shall never depart from him, even though He does take it from others who prove themselves not to be His (something David, because of his sinfulness, could have easily wondered might happen to him)…Indeed, when David hears God bestow such undeserved mercy and nearness upon him, he really only has one response: “Who am I, Lord God, and what is my legacy, that You should show me such lovingkindness?” This is what it means to have a humble and contrite response to God’s work of mercy and nearness in our lives. And that mercy and nearness is manifest in the Person of Jesus Christ!
VIII — Conclusion
- Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
- As well, Isaiah 57:15-18 gives us great assurance about how our contrite response to God is so crucial to our joy, happiness, and state of mind in this life: “For thus says the High and Lofty One, Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; Otherwise the spirit of man would fail before Me, And the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him.”
- We must see, that at the heart of the Gospel is God’s direct participation in our salvation. We are not left alone as orphans, trying to do the best we can to continue to earn His love.
- At the center of God’s Covenant with both David and with Christ, before eternity, is the concept we spoke of two Sundays ago: The Immanuel Concept—God with His people.
- Because He is with us by way of His Holy Spirit who lives in those who trust Jesus Christ for their salvation, we have access to His “nearness and mercy,” daily! We are not alone, though at times it feels very much like we are!
- Fall upon your knees; get on your face before God; confess to Him that you simply do not deserve this mercy and nearness He gives you so lavishly!
And it will be here—in this place of brokenness and contrition—that we will find such rest for our weary souls. Let us be broken at the thought that God comes down to rescue sinners like us.