International Sunday School Lesson for October 22, 2017
To discern how God has guided our lives with purpose and faithful love
Background: 2 Samuel 7:1-16; Psalm 89; 1 Chronicles 22:6-8
2 Samuel 7:1-6, 8-10, 12-16 (CEB)
1 When the king was settled in his palace, and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, 2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look! I’m living in a cedar palace, but God’s chest is housed in a tent!”
3 Nathan said to the king, “Go ahead and do whatever you are thinking, because the Lord is with you.”
4 But that very night the Lord’s word came to Nathan: 5 Go to my servant David and tell him: This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build the temple for me to live in. 6 In fact, I haven’t lived in a temple from the day I brought Israel out of Egypt until now. Instead, I have been traveling around in a tent and in a dwelling.
8 So then, say this to my servant David: This is what the Lord of heavenly forces says: I took you from the pasture, from following the flock, to be leader over my people Israel. 9 I’ve been with you wherever you’ve gone, and I’ve eliminated all your enemies before you. Now I will make your name great—like the name of the greatest people on earth. 10 I’m going to provide a place for my people Israel, and plant them so that they may live there and no longer be disturbed. Cruel people will no longer trouble them, as they had been earlier, . . .
12 When the time comes for you to die and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your descendant—one of your very own children—to succeed you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a temple for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to me. Whenever he does wrong, I will discipline him with a human rod, with blows from human beings. 15 But I will never take my faithful love away from him like I took it away from Saul, whom I set aside in favor of you. 16 Your dynasty and your kingdom will be secured forever before me. Your throne will be established forever.
Your dynasty and your kingdom will be secured forever before me. Your throne will be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:16)
This is our eighth lesson on “covenants.” Unlike our previous lesson God does not speak directly to David as he did with Abraham and Moses. This covenant is delivered to David through the prophet Nathan.
Nathan suddenly appears on the scene in our text, not much is known prior. He served as a prophet for both David and Solomon. Our text begins with Nathan being more of an adviser than prophet. When David suggest he thinks God should have a home as nice as his, Nathan is all for it, when Nathan goes to bed that night the Lord has a different plan. Nathan’s original answer has been changed and Nathan must tell David, “not so fast.”
All of this takes place during a very peaceful time for both David and Israel. The enemies of both have been defeated, and I think David is bored, and is looking for something worthwhile he can do. Why not build a home of cedar and limestone for the Ark of the Covenant?
While some may think this is a worthy effort, God has something better in mind. The Lord of heavenly forces, is offering David something more valuable than the legacy of a temple builder.
There are couple of lessons for us: first what we want and what God wants may not be the same. Second, we may not be qualified for the task at hand. Regardless of our self esteem we might have to yield to God’s time and plan.
What Nathan tells David is much more significant than being the builder of a temple. God shares through Nathan a plan that affects mankind for generations and it will last till the end of time. God is promising a Messiah, from David’s bloodline. A son that will come and be a saviour for all mankind. And not just any son, but a Son of God, that will come through David’s kingdom, and throne.
There are times when God wants us to be obedient, rather than just spinning our wheels on busy work. When we try things on our own we can become guilty of “growing weary of well doing.” (Galatians 6:9) God did not need a temple He was perfectly happy with the tent. As long as He was close to the people wherever they were, whether in the desert or in Jerusalem.
Amazingly, David did not qualify, because of his sin with Bathsheba and killing her husband. But God gave him something better, a name through which the Son of God would become man.
My hymn for this week is “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name.”