Commentary by Walter Albritton


October 3, 2004


Leaving a Legacy that God can Use


2 Samuel 7


Key Verse: Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. – 2 Samuel 7:16


King David had a good idea. God had a better idea. The good news is that David did not tuck his tail and run when God rebuked David’s plan and explained his better plan to David.

For many years the Israelites had failed repeatedly to obey God. They were faithful for a while, and then they forgot God. They ignored his commands and did whatever pleased them.  Every time they forgot God, while doing what was “evil in the sight of the Lord,” they were defeated by their enemies. Despite their sin, God refused to give up on his people, always sending a deliverer who would turn them back to the Lord. This cycle they repeated many times.

After years of doing “what was right in their own eyes,” the people insisted upon having a king. Reluctantly, Samuel anointed Saul as the first king. Saul had great promise as a leader, but his character flaws led to his downfall. Once again, God allowed Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, to defeat them.

Always willing to rescue his people and give them a fresh start, God raised up David to serve as king. David rose quickly to power, enjoying great success. He rallied and united the tribes and enjoyed favor with the people.

Evidently David felt he had done so well that he deserved a new home. This he built and a fine home it was, lined with cedar lumber, the finest available in that day. When his palatial home was completed, it occurred to David that God was at work. His new home symbolized to David that God had “established” him as the king over Israel.

As David mulled over God’s affirmation of his ministry as king, it dawned on him that there was a divine purpose in his kingship. God had made him the king not so he could reap the benefits of being a powerful ruler, but so he could serve God’s people. This attitude we can surely applaud. It helps us to understand why David was “a man after God’s own heart.” Instead of reveling in his own power, and thinking more of himself than he should have thought, David realized that God wanted to use him to bless the people of Israel.

David soon began to feel guilty about living in a fine home when God’s ark remained in a tent. Thinking this was not right, David shared with Nathan his good idea of building a great temple for God. Nathan must have not prayed about the matter, quickly giving his permission to build a fine house for God.

That night God set the record straight with Nathan, informing him that he did not want David to build the temple. God had a better idea, and Nathan wasted no time in sharing this with David.

Again we have to admire David. He did not sulk in disappointment when God rejected his plan. Instead he began praising God, acknowledging God’s greatness, and admitting that he was nobody compared to God. David affirmed all the great things God had done in raising up a people to be his very own. He remembered that Israel was indebted to God for its success. None of their victories would have occurred except for the hand of God upon them.

God’s better idea was to establish a legacy with David, a legacy of faithfulness to God through which God would bless his people for generations to come. A temple, no matter how grand, would last only a few years. A legacy of covenantal faithfulness would last through all generations as a source of God’s blessing upon his people.

Christians today are included in God’s covenant with Israel. The Church is the new Israel, and God continues to expect his people to live in a covenant relationship with him. He loves us, always offering us forgiveness and a new start when we “forget” him and do “what is evil in his sight.” God wants us to understand that no jewel-studded temple made of the finest stone can substitute for obedience to God.

When we review this lesson’s scripture, one observation by David stands out from all the rest. In 2 Samuel 7:28, David says, “And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true.” This reveals the great heart and wisdom of David. Though David is the great king, he knows that God is far greater than he.

Pride often prevents us from admitting, “You are God”! Each of us must learn this great lesson: God is God, and I am not God! Too often, and too easily, we lapse into the foolish idea that we are smart enough to play God. None of us comes equipped to play the role of God in the drama of life.

The one great lesson for us may be this: When I come up with my good ideas about what God wants, I should first check the matter out with God. As with David, God may have a better idea! What gets our attention, our energy, and our devotion, should always be those things that God wants done. May God save us from spending our lives absorbed with our own dreams while failing to see and do what pleases God.

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