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God's Message, David's Prayer

INTRODUCTION: I began preparation of this MPN around David's prayer that followed the message he received from God through Nathan the prophet. This event in David's life is described in parallel passages in 2 Samuel 7 and in 1 Chronicles 17, but the twenty year or so period of David's life from the time Samuel anointed him until he became king of all Israel with Jerusalem as the capital, is not detailed in Chronicles. The Holy pirit has provided much scripture about David's life, from 1 Samuel 16 to the end of that book, then all of 2 Samuel, and the first two chapters of 1 Kings. Chapter 11 of 1 Chronicles picks up David's story some seven years after the death of Saul, when David, as king of Hebron, covenants with the people to become king over all Israel.

To be better prepared to understand David's prayer, I read all the material in both sources, prior to the prayer. I then selected key verses to highlight some of the events of his life, rather than attempting to compose a summary in my own words. The passages refer to events separated in time by many days or even years. They provide an authoritative backdrop outline for the central MPN passage of 2 Samuel 7:18-29.

NOTE: All verses are taken from the KJV.

Verses about David's first twenty or so years of service to Israel

1 Samuel 16:1-2 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD.

1 Samuel 16:22-23 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Samuel 17:50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.

1 Samuel 18:5-8 And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul's servants. And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of music. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?

1 Samuel 18:28-29 And Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal Saul's daughter loved him. And Saul was yet the more afraid of David; and Saul became David's enemy continually.

1 Samuel 19:1 And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.

1 Samuel 19:11-12 Saul also sent messengers unto David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If thou save not thy life to night, to morrow thou shalt be slain. So Michal let David down through a window: and he went, and fled, and escaped.

1 Samuel 21:1-2 Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? And David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business, and hath said unto me, let no man know any thing of the business whereabout I send thee, and what I have commanded thee: and I have appointed my servants to such and such a place.

1 Samuel 22:1-2 David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men.

1 Samuel 22:18-23 And the king said to Doeg, Turn thou, and fall upon the priests. And Doeg the Edomite turned, and he fell upon the priests, and slew on that day fourscore and five persons that did wear a linen ephod. And Nob, the city of the priests, smote he with the edge of the sword, both men and women, children and sucklings, and oxen, and asses, and sheep, with the edge of the sword. And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David. And Abiathar shewed David that Saul had slain the LORD'S priests. And David said unto Abiathar, I knew it that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul: I have occasioned the death of all the persons of thy father's house. Abide thou with me, fear not: for he that seeketh my life seeketh thy life: but with me thou shalt be in safeguard.

1 Samuel 24:17-18 And he {Saul} said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil. And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.

1 Samuel 25:1 And Samuel died; and all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him, and buried him in his house at Ramah. And David arose, and went down to the wilderness of Paran.

1 Samuel 25:42-44 42 And Abigail hasted, and arose, and rode upon an ass, with five damsels of hers that went after her; and she went after the messengers of David, and became his wife. David also took Ahinoam of Jezreel; and they were also both of them his wives. But Saul had given Michal his daughter, David's wife, to Phalti the son of Laish, which was of Gallim.

{a second opportunity for David to slay Saul}
1 Samuel 26:23-25 The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD'S anointed. And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation. Then Saul said to David, Blessed be thou, my son David: thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail. So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place.

1 Samuel 27:1-3 And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul: there is nothing better for me than that I should speedily escape into the land of the Philistines; and Saul shall despair of me, to seek me any more in any coast of Israel: so shall I escape out of his hand. And David arose, and he passed over with the six hundred men that were with him unto Achish, the son of Maoch, king of Gath. And David dwelt with Achish at Gath, he and his men, every man with his household, even David with his two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the Carmelitess, Nabal's wife.

1 Samuel 29:9-10 And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God: notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up with us to the battle. Wherefore now rise up early in the morning with thy master's servants that are come with thee: and as soon as ye be up early in the morning, and have light, depart.

1 Samuel 30:1-2 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.

1 Samuel 30:18-19 And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.

1 Samuel 31:1 now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.

1 Samuel 30:6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.

2 Samuel -- 1:11-12 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.

2 Samuel 2:1-4 And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? And the LORD said unto him, Go up. And David said, Whither shall I go up? And he said, Unto Hebron. So David went up thither, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail Nabal's wife the Carmelite. And his men that were with him did David bring up, every man with his household: and they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, That the men of Jabeshgilead were they that buried Saul.

2 Samuel 3:1-5 Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker. And unto David were sons born in Hebron: and his firstborn was Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; And the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith; and the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital; And the sixth, Ithream, by Eglah David's wife. These were born to David in Hebron.

2 Samuel 3:14-15 And David sent messengers to Ishbosheth Saul's son, saying, Deliver me my wife Michal, which I espoused to me for an hundred foreskins of the Philistines. And Ishbosheth sent, and took her from her husband, even from Phaltiel the son of Laish.

2 Samuel 4:8-11 And they brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David to Hebron, and said to the king, Behold the head of Ishbosheth the son of Saul thine enemy, which sought thy life; and the LORD hath avenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed. And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity, When one told me, saying, Behold, Saul is dead, thinking to have brought good tidings, I took hold of him, and slew him in Ziklag, who thought that I would have given him a reward for his tidings: How much more, when wicked men have slain a righteous person in his own house upon his bed? Shall I not therefore now require his blood of your hand, and take you away from the earth?

2 Samuel 5:1-7 then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel. And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David.

2 Samuel 5:25 And David did so, as the LORD had commanded him; and smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer.

2 Samuel 6:11-12 And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all his household. And it was told king David, saying, The LORD hath blessed the house of Obededom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God. So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obededom into the city of David with gladness.

COMMENTS: David would have been at least in his late thirties when the account continues in 2 Samuel 7, or in the parallel account in 1 Chronicles 17. Considering that David had been taken from his shepherding duties by King Saul, perhaps in his late teens, David, now king of all Israel, had twenty years or more of varied trials and triumphs when he expressed the desire to build a permanent temple for the Ark of the Covenant. Adding years of service under King Saul to the forty years as a king himself, David likely served Israel for a total of fifty years or more by the end of his life.

Before Saul became the first king over Israel, the nation had come to the point that "every man did what was right in his own eyes" during the period of judges. The ark had been separated from the wilderness tabernacle all through the forty year reign of King Saul, and the tent which David placed the ark in was not that original tabernacle. David had conquered many enemies of Israel, and King Hiram of Tyre had provided lavish materials, carpenters, and masons, to build David's own residence. Below is God's message through Nathan, after Nathan and David had their brief conversation about building a permanent temple for the ark of God.

2 Samuel 7:1-17

1 And it happened when the king dwelt in his house, and when the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies, 2 the king said to Nathan the prophet, See now, I live in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells within curtains. 3 And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you. 4 And that night the word of the LORD came to Nathan saying, 5 Go and tell My servant David, So says the LORD, Shall you build Me a house for My dwelling? 6 For I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the sons out of Egypt until this day, but have walked in a tent, even in a tabernacle. 7 In all places in which I have walked with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the tribes of Israel, those I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying, Why do you not build Me a house of cedars? 8 And now so shall you say to My servant David, So says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. 9 And I was with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies out of your sight, and have made you a great name like the name of the great ones in the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them so that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more. Neither shall the sons of wickedness afflict them any more, as before. 11 And even from the time that I commanded judges to be over My people of Israel, so will I cause you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. 12 And when your days are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall come out of your bowels. And I will make his kingdom sure. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not leave him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever. 17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.

COMMENTS: Whether this message through Nathan came near the end of David's reign, or perhaps twenty years or more prior to the end as I believe, is not clear, but it may have been even before the birth of Solomon. At some time after David's prayer, apparently the Lord revealed to David the plans for the temple and its furnishings, and that is found only in 1 Chronicles 28:10-13 "Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it. Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD." 28:19 "All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern."

With the detail of those plans, David would know specifically the objective as he began to amass large quantities of common and precious building materials for a son to use in constructing a temple like none other. The years of accumulation of all materials were complete before David's death. Solomon began construction just four years after he became king, which may have been shortly after his father died. The extensive nature of the work is borne out by the fact that it took tens of thousands of workers over about a seven-year period to complete the temple. David had also expanded the territory, which Israel controlled far beyond that held during Saul's reign, and he had even collected tribute from foreigners outside of Israel's borders for years.

There is no indication in God's message or David's prayer, of David's sinned in the matter of Uriah and his wife, or of the many heartaches from David's own sons. My thought is that David expressed his desire to build a temple not too long after he was firmly established as king in Jerusalem, and was perhaps in his late thirties or in his forties. It should be noted that the message given to Nathan emphasizes that all victories for Israel (and for David (were wrought directly by the Lord. The temple, as had been the case with the tabernacle, would be made at the Lord's direction (s Samuel 7:7 above) which had not been given up to this time. Scripture tells us that the plans for the wilderness tabernacle were not from Moses, but from the Lord. Exodus 25:8-9 "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it." 25:40 "And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount." Only the Lord can give man the means to see into the heavenly realm of God, and God's instruction must be carried out if God is to be honored. Hebrews 8:5 "Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount."

David had wanted to build a temple for the Lord, but God's message back to David held the promise to build David's "house" and establish it forever! David prays in faith that God will fulfill His word that David's son will build the temple, and that David's seed will be established forever, because both will take place only after David rests with his fathers.

2 Samuel 7:18-29

18 Then king David went in and sat before the LORD. And he said, Who am I, O Lord Jehovah? And what is my house, that You have brought me here? 19 And this was yet a small thing in Your sight, O Lord God. But You have spoken also of Your servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of men, O Lord God? 20 And what can David say more to You? For You, O Lord Jehovah, know Your servant. 21 For Your word's sake, and according to Your own heart, You have done all these great things to make Your servant know. 22 Therefore You are great, O LORD God. For there is none like You, neither is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23 And what one nation in the earth is like Your people, like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to Himself, and to make Him a name, and to do for You great things and terrible, for Your land, before Your people, whom You redeemed to You from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? 24 For You have confirmed to Yourself Your people Israel to be a people to You forever. And You, LORD, have become their God. 25 And now, O LORD God, the word that You have spoken concerning Your servant, and concerning his house: establish it forever, and do as You have said. 26 And let Your name be magnified forever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel. And let the house of Your servant David be established before You. 27 For You, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed to Your servant, saying, I will build you a house. Therefore Your servant has found in his heart to pray this prayer to You. 28 And now, O Lord Jehovah, You are that God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant. 29 Therefore, now, let it please You to bless the house of Your servant, to be forever before You. For You, O Lord GOD, have spoken. And with Your blessing let the house of Your servant be blessed forever.

COMMENTS: David seems truly overwhelmed by the message from the Lord through Nathan. David realizes that God knows every detail of his life, all the failings as well as his faith, and yet the Lord deals with him according to his faith. And David continues to demonstrate his faith in this prayer, praising the Lord because he is indeed God. And David request that God carry out that which he has spoken for David's seed and for the temple that will be built; and this because it will honor the Lord, not David. David seems to be at complete peace with that which God has revealed shall happen according to God's own plan.

--- Reflections in prayer ---

Through Christ, the promised son of David, I come before your throne to say with David, who am I O Lord God, that you should turn your attention to me? And the present blessings of today are yet a small thing in your sight, for you also have sealed me with your Holy Spirit to guarantee life eternal! This is not the way man would deal with me, for what can I say to you to gain favor, for you know far more about my many sins; far more than could any man ever know. But for the sake of your written and living Word, and according to the great mercy of your heart have you provided thusly for me, that I might know you better. Therefore Lord, I declare your greatness, for there is no other like you, and there is no God but you just as it is written in your word.

What nation in all the earth is like Israel that God redeemed for a nation unto himself, out of Egypt, from the nations and their Gods? For you have confirmed to yourself your people Israel to be a people to you forever. And you, LORD, have become their God. And now I am witness that you have extended salvation to all nations, in Christ Jesus, the son of David and the Son of God. This continues the "house" of David forever, and establishes "your house" forever in Christ and all who are his church. So let your name be magnified forever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel. You have revealed these things to me through your word, Therefore have I found in my heart, desire to pray this prayer to you. Lord Jesus, you are that God and your words are true, and you have promised this goodness, for you, O Lord GOD, have spoken. And with your unsurpassed blessing, let the house of the redeemed in Christ be blessed forever! Amen.

Published on 28 May 2004