Years had passed since Samuel had anointed David as king. Samuel, Saul, Jonathan, and many others had died. David had become a great warrior, then a fugitive, and now king. Judah anointed him king first, and several years later the rest of Israel anointed him. It had been a long time coming — but the Lord not only kept His promises, He brought success beyond what those who had lived through the painful defeats could have imagined.
Chapters 5-10 are largely a string of major successes. David defeated Jebusites, Philistines, Moabites, Arameans, Edomites, and Ammonites. Philistia would never again be a major threat to Israel, and David stationed garrisons in foreign territory. David moved the capital from Hebron in Judah to Jerusalem just across the border in Benjamin. He administered justice and set up what we would call a cabinet.
By far the most significant chapter in this section is Chapter 7. When the Lord gave David “rest” (2 Samuel 7:1), David desired to build a permanent structure for the Lord. Although the request pleases the Lord, David does not receive what he asked for. Instead of David building the Lord a house, the Lord builds David a “house.” The Lord makes three major promises to David. First, David’s son will receive an established kingdom. Second, the Lord will treat David’s son as His own son. Third, David’s dynasty will last forever.
What can these six chapters show us today? First, we’ve just finished looking at 17 chapters in which David was on the run or in a civil war. Periods of exile, wilderness, and temptation are key aspects of living in a fallen world. If you feel exiled and lonely while seeking God, you are not alone in feeling alone. Second, David’s successes point to the Lord’s power. What made David great was not David; it was the Lord. The Lord gave David rest and victory from his enemies; the Lord was with David (2 Samuel 5:10; 7:1; 8:6, 14).
Furthermore, the Lord’s power will come to fruition through David’s descendant. The promises of Chapter 7 echo through the entire Old Testament (1 Chronicles 7, Psalm 89, Isaiah 9 and 11, Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 34, Amos 9, and Micah 5). It is through God’s anointed King, promised here, that God will save us. Only Jesus can save us from sin, death, and Satan.
Third, the Lord’s words to David reinforce what we know through the New Testament: A building cannot contain or confine God. As we meet weekly to worship God, we are the temple of the same Lord who deserved Uzzah’s reverence (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Fourth, David’s shortcomings also point to the Lord’s power and the necessity we have of trusting in Him. Not all is well in these golden years. In listing David’s many wives, the writer hints in Chapter 5 that David was not following the guidelines the Lord laid down in Deuteronomy 17 for a king. In Chapter 6, the Israelites were careless in bringing the ark into Jerusalem. They didn’t follow the Lord’s command for the Levites to carry the ark with poles, and Uzzah died after touching the ark (Numbers 4:15, 7:9).
The only truly “golden age” is the age that we long for. In the meantime, it’s important to administer justice, to take care of the Lord’s temple, and to trust the Lord to bring victories. Perhaps, like Samuel, we work for that which happens beyond our lifetimes.