The Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday is written in the book of the prophet Samuel. The text is 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 in which David, the King of Israel, informs the prophet Nathan he intends to build a temple for the LORD. David does not think it proper for him to dwell in a cedar palace while the Ark of the Covenant is in a tent. Of course, when he tells this to Nathan, Nathan is in favor of the move. However, the LORD tells Nathan to return to the King and tell him he will not build a temple for Me!
At first, this may seem odd to us, but it is important to note the reversal taking place in this text. David wants to build a house for the LORD, but the LORD turns it around and promises to build a house for David instead. Not only will the LORD make a great name for David, He will also establish his house and his kingdom which will endure forever. This is a beautiful Messianic reference to the New David, the Sprout from the stump of Jesse. It is the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus that endures forever.
Thus, we are provided with a beautiful Advent text. Not only is Jesus the New David, He is also the New Temple—the House and Kingdom! This is the throne that is everlasting.
It is the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus that endures forever.
7:1 הֵנִיחַ־לוֹ (he-ni-ach) root: נוח (noo-akh) Hiphil: “to give rest to; to cause (someone) to rest”
7:2 אֲרָזִים (a-ra-Zim) “cedar”
הַיְרִיעָה (hay-ri-Ah) from: יְרִיעָה (yer-ee-aw) “tent; tent curtains”
7:4 וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהוָה־אֶל־נָתָן (vay-Hi de-var Yah-weh el na-Tan) Literally: “and the Word of Yahweh was to Nathan” “Yahweh spoke to Nathan”
7:5 אֶל־עַבְדִּי אֶל־דָּוִד (el av-Di el da-Vid) “To my servant, to David” The two prepositions provide emphasis as to whom the message is intended.
הַאַתָּה תִּבְנֶה־לִּי בַיִת לְשִׁבְתִּי (ha-at-Tah tiv-neh li Va-yit le-shiv-Ti) “Will you, will you build for Me a house for Me to dwell in?” The extra pronoun again provides emphasis.
לְשִׁבְתִּי (le-shiv-Ti) root: ישׁב (yaw-shab) Qal, Infinitive construct: “to dwell; to reside”
7:6 הַעֲלֹתִי (ha-a-lo-Ti) root: עלה (aw-law) Hiphil, Infinitive: “cause to be brought up; to bring up” The causing agent is the LORD who saved His people.
מִתְהַלֵּךְ (mit-hal-Lech) root: הלך (haw-lak) Hithpael, participle: “to walk” See also verse 7 and the Hithpael perfect form.
7:7 הֲדָבָר דִּבַּרָתִּי (ha-da-Var dib-Bar-ti) root: דבר (daw-baw) Piel perfect with the infinitive: “to speak” with the preposition אֶת־ (et) “Have I ever asked?”
7:8 הַנָּוֶה (han-na-Veh) “grazing place; abode (of sheep); pasture”
נָגִיד (na-Gid) “leader; prince; ruler”
7:9 וָאַכְרִתָה (va-ach-Ri-tah) root: כרת (kaw-rath) Hiphil: “to cut off”
שֵׁם גָּדוֹל (shem ga-Dol) “A great name”
7:10 וּנְטַעְתִּיו (u-ne-ta-Tiv) root: נטע (naw-tah) Qal: “to plant”
יִרְגַּז (yir-Gaz) root: רגז (raw-gaz) Qal: “to tremble”
לְעַנּוֹתוֹ (le-an-no-To) root: ענה (aw-naw) Piel, infinitive: “to oppress; to afflict; to abuse”
7:11 בַיִת יַעֲשֶֹה־לְּךָ יְהוָה (Va-yit ya-a-she le-Cha Yah-weh) Literally: “a house the LORD will make
7:16 יִהְיֶה נָכוֹן (yih-Yeh na-Chon) The Qal Imperfect along with the Niphal participle of כון (koon) indicates ongoing action. “It will be established”
Here is a short midweek Advent sermon I preached on this text:
I stand before you today after having gone to and fro throughout our community searching, suffering, shopping! These are the words of wisdom I have now come to share with you: There are a lot of gifts this time of year—too many to make the proper choice! There are a lot of trees this time of year—every patch of vacant ground sprouts Christmas trees! I know, these are not carefully guarded words of wisdom, secrets only the elite possess, but as a child of God remember these true words of wisdom: All of the gifts point to the greatest gift ever given—Jesus! And all the trees, every one of them, point to the cross. Tonight, as we focus on, “What’s under the tree,” we will consider the gift of “fulfillment” …and we will remember THE GIFT and THE TREE.
As you heard the words from II Samuel read earlier you may have wondered about gifts. David wanted to do something important and give something amazing to God. He wanted to build Him a temple. That is a very nice gift! But God does something very strange and a little bit unacceptable in the rule book on manners—He says, “NO,” to David’s offered gift! He says, “No,” not because a temple is a bad gift, or because God does not want a temple. God says, “No,” to David’s gift so He might turn the tables and give an even greater gift to him.
Listen to God’s words; “The LORD will make you a house… when your days are fulfilled, I will raise up your offspring… and I will establish His kingdom. He shall build a house for my name and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever…” So, is God talking about Solomon or Jesus? The answer is “Yes!” Yes, Solomon, David’s son will build a temple for the LORD, but Jesus, a Son of the house of David, will raise up a Temple that will last forever.
So it was that Mary and Joseph, from the house and lineage of David, received the good news—Mary would be the Virgin from whence comes the Messiah. Mary will be the mother of Jesus. The promise to David, all the promises of God to His people, are fulfilled when Mary conceived and gave birth to a Son and called His Name Jesus. For indeed, He saved His people from their sin! The gift of fulfillment! Christ has come! We are saved!
…but all those trees… Christ Jesus must suffer and die. The Temple must be torn down and cast into the tomb. There were sins to pay for. There was guilt to carry. There was grief to bear. Blood must be shed on a tree to dedicate this Temple that we might be holy. After three days, Jesus raised the Temple of His body from the grave and it rose majestic and beautiful, a holy and precious dwelling place. The Son of Man is lifted upon the tree of the cross so we too might be lifted, a new creation to dwell with God in the new Jerusalem Temple.
God is the giver of this great gift. He has built His own Temple, not with human hands, but with the holy, precious blood of His only begotten Son. As we stand under the tree, under the Cross, we look up and gaze upon the Holy Gift. We give thanks God has indeed fulfilled His promises in the sending of His Son. And, as we look beyond the Cross, we see also the open gates of Heaven, the new Temple, and we give thanks that one day we will walk through those gates rejoicing in the wonderful gift of fulfillment. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16.
Text Week-Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16.
Lectionary Podcast- Prof. Ryan Tietz of Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN walks us through 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16.