Living in The Story adds First Chronicles to the reading cycles this week. The Chronicler probably composed his account of Israel’s history as much as 500 years after the events took place. As you read, watch for differences between the ways different theological historians relate past events. (Or maybe “historical theologians” might be a better term) . . .
As we read these stories of David during Week 29, we come across this little story in Second Samuel 7. Once you start unpacking it, it’s surprising how many layers there are. David lives in a “house of cedar” (a palace) and proposes to build a “house” (a temple) for Yahweh. Temple building is one of the things kings do; yes, surely to honor God but also (maybe) to try to control God, to use God as a way to legitimate the king’s power.
But then Nathan the prophet receives—and delivers to the king—an oracle from the Lord of hosts. Thus says the Lord . . . “Do you think you can build me a house? No! I Am the one who will build you into a house, secure your reign and the kingdom forever. And I will be one who will never take my steadfast love away from you and all your descendants forever.”
Thus says the Lord.
It’s a fascinating reversal. God took David from a pasture, raised him up to be king, and made him lord and savior of the people in the kingdom of Israel. David’s house changed the course of Israel’s history. David is Israel’s pivot.
Here’s another layer.
In the gospels . . . Christian theologians came to understand that God was doing a brand new thing in Jesus the Christ, the Son of David. In their theological reflections, Jesus is the one whom God took from a stable, raised up from a cross, and made to be Lord and Savior of all God’s people in an ever-widening understanding of the kingdom of God.
Jesus is the one of whom the angel in Luke said, “the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David . . . and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32–33).
First, the house of David was established for a newly formed nation. Then in Exile, the line of David provided hope for a promised Messiah. And then in the gospels, Jesus of Nazareth, Son of David, Messiah/Christ inaugurated a kingdom not marked by scepter and sword but rather revealed in broken bread, poured out wine, and an old rugged cross .
Read more at Charlotte Vaughan Coyle. Living in The Story: A Year to Read the Bible and Ponder God’s Story of Love and Grace (p. 336-345). Resource Publications. Kindle Edition.