This post is the seventh and last in a series adapted from Anticipating His Arrival, a family Advent devotional by Rick Brannan.
2 Samuel 7:1–16
It happened that the king settled in his house. (Now Yahweh had given rest to him from all his enemies all around.) And the king said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, please, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God is staying in the middle of the tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go and do all that is in your heart, for Yahweh is with you.”
But it happened that night the word of Yahweh came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says Yahweh: “Are you the one to build for me a house for my dwelling? For I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought up the Israelites from Egypt until this day; rather, I was going about in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all of my going about among all the Israelites, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why did you not build me a cedar house?’ ” ’ So then, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts, “I took you from the pasture from following the sheep to be a leader over my people, over Israel, and I have been with you everywhere you went. I have cut off all of your enemies from in front of you, and I will make a great name for you, as the name of the great ones who are on the earth. I will make a place for my people Israel, and I will plant them so that they can dwell in their own place. They will not tremble any longer, and the children of wickedness will not afflict them again, as in the former days. In the manner that I appointed judges over my people Israel, I will give you rest from all your enemies. And Yahweh declares to you that Yahweh will build a house for you. When your days are full and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you who will go out from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son for me, whom I will punish when he does wrong, with a rod of men and with blows of human beings. But my loyal love shall not depart from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before you; your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”
Why did David want to build a temple for Yahweh?
Response: David lived in an extravagant, luxurious house, and he saw that Yahweh’s presence was in a tabernacle—a tent (vv. 1–3). David wanted Yahweh’s presence to be in a place worthy of his glory.
Why did Yahweh reject David’s wish to build a temple (vv. 4–13)?
Response: David’s desire wasn’t wrong, but Yahweh was already present in the manner he had specified to the Israelites when they were wandering in the desert. Yahweh first made a place for his people (v. 10), and this was done through David. After his people had a home, Yahweh would then allow a more permanent structure for his own presence.
How does this passage show that the incarnation is important to remember during Advent?
Response: This passage illustrates Yahweh’s love for his people. He provides for them, and his ultimate provision is Jesus, the Messiah, who is God in the flesh for us. As David was motivated and excited by the thought of Yahweh’s presence being among Israel, so we should be excited by the return of his presence among us in Jesus.
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