God’s promise to Abraham is the spring from which all His other promises flow. One of these amazing promises involves the fascinating story of the shepherd boy who became a king. As a young boy, David tended his father’s sheep on a hillside near the little Judean town of Bethlehem. He had done this all his young life. He had much time to meditate on God and worship Him as he gazed for long hours into the vast display of the Lord’s creative genius.
It was in the fields tending sheep that David learned to play the harp. Songs became the expressions of his many secret thoughts about God. Then came that moment when everything changed. His brothers called him home on an urgent matter. All they told him was that his father wanted him at home. What could it be? What could be more important than the safety of the sheep. What he did not know was that the God that he had come to know intimately through hours of pondering His glorious starry handiwork (Psa. 19:1-4) and through His law that Jesse had no doubt read to him, was calling him for a special service.
God had sent His prophet Samuel to Bethlehem, the home of David’s dad. Samuel had been mourning the deposing of his great friend, King Saul. God’s mission for Samuel was to select a new king to rule over Israel. It was to be one of Jesse’s sons, but which one? He had already stood before seven of them. Samuel had picked out the tallest of the group, thinking of the size of King Saul. But as the sons passed in review, God was silent.
Somewhat confused, Samuel asked Jesse if he had other sons. Jesse conceded that there was his youngest son who was out in the fields tending the sheep. Jesse must have thought, “But he’s just a young boy.” I love Samuel’s words! “Go get him and bring him here.” What happened next is classic. When this rough looking young boy arrived in the room, Samuel’s heart must have sunk. God whispered to Samuel, “Yes him, get on your feet, anoint him; for this is the one!” (1 Samuel 16:12). Wow! God had reminded Samuel earlier that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
We are told that the Holy Spirit came upon David from that day forward (1 Sam. 16:13). He was promoted by the living God from a shepherd boy tending sheep in Bethlehem to the position of king of Israel. David had taken a sabbatical from war and was enjoying a rare time of peace. He had time to meditate, and his thoughts turned to the fact that God’s house – a tent, a tabernacle that moved about – was very inadequate for such a Being. He wanted to build a magnificent, permanent dwelling place for God – an immovable temple.
God’s response is amazing! Watch His wording carefully. He sent Nathan to tell David that through all the years that He had moved about with them, He had never asked them to build Him a house of cedar. He reminded David that He had taken him from the sheepfold to become king over his people and that He had given him victory over his enemies, and in the process made David’s name great.
God said that one day He would appoint a place for His people to live, and they would move no more. God said that David’s seed, who would come from his own body, would reign forever (2 Samuel 7:8–12). David’s genealogical line that would follow him would ultimately lead to a King who would truly be a Son of David. He would, like David, be a Shepherd-King. It would be this Son who would establish David’s throne forever. Though He did not mention His name, we know it, do we not? His name is the Lord Jesus the Christ.
God said that a king would follow David who would build a house for His name (Solomon and his temple). And that He would establish his house and throne forever. God is now referring to His future Temple located on the highest mountain in the world and to His kingdom which is a forever kingdom. Notice there is no mention of Solomon’s seed. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son, again speaks of Solomon. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men (again, Solomon). But My mercy shall not depart from him (Solomon) as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you (2 Samuel 7:13–16).
Through Solomon’s royal line as the firstborn son, this future temple and kingdom will come – but not from Solomon’s seed. The same promise is given even more clearly in 1 Chronicles 17:11-14. Something tragic is going to happen within Solomon’s bloodline that will disqualify anyone from his line from reigning over the house of Israel. But take heart! God is the great genius. Stay safe and stay tuned.