In the song, “What a Wonderful World”, we find the following lyrics:
I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll never know
For a lot of parents, or those without children who look at the next generation, I think that this same thought occurs to them: if the world has changed so much in our lifetimes, what will those who come after us – not to mention their children – experience? As a parent myself, though, I think that I also want my children to succeed. I’d like them to find a meaning and purpose in life that is fulfilling, and – of course – I want them to walk with God and know His amazing plan for them. (As to exactly what that will look like for each of my children, though, I pretty much have no idea!)
In 2 Samuel 7, God promises multiple blessings to King David, over and above what David has already received from Him. (David also learns that he won’t be building a temple for God, but I think that he appreciates that he already has more blessings than he imagined.)
In light of all this, God tells David about his future son (who we happen to know was Solomon).
When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
2 Samuel 7:12-13 NIV
For a king, I suppose that it’s a good thing to hear that his heir will inherit the throne. (That didn’t happen with Saul, after all, when David succeeded him.) Solomon isn’t merely going to be king, though: he will build a temple for God. So, if David isn’t the one to build that temple, he can at least have peace that it will be built in the next generation, by someone from his own family.
Given that Bathsheba giving birth to Solomon isn’t recounted until 2 Samuel 12, I don’t think that David has even met Solomon yet, so all he has is God’s promise, here. For now, David must trust that God will fulfill this promise. David’s faith may have been kindled during his upbringing, but it was confirmed and reinforced by observing all that God did for him. And, of course, God did exactly what He had promised here (in the next generation), just as He had said.
As the message from God to David (via Nathan the prophet) continues in verses 14-15, we learn more about God’s favor that will be bestowed upon Solomon. Since we, who live on the other side of this prophecy, already have access to more of the story than David had, we know that Solomon definitely had some issues. God doesn’t say “if he does wrong”, but “[w]hen he does wrong”, knowing Solomon’s life choices ahead of time. Still, in light of what David had seen happening to Saul, to know that his son’s shortcomings wouldn’t separate him from God’s love was probably comforting. For those of us who have children, what more could we ask than for them to be loved by God (and that they would love Him back)?
Verse 16 continues the message:
Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ ”
2 Samuel 7:16 NIV
Here’s another instance of that “promise of perpetuity”, which we saw in verse 13. God isn’t just promising David that his “dynasty” will last another generation. No, this kingdom will last forever.
This might have seemed like a strange prophecy if we had lived in Israel or Judah a few centuries later, as a variety of kings ruled over the Israelites. Some of those kings were OK, some were pretty bad, and some were from foreign countries who conquered God’s people. However, we again have the advantage of reading more of the story, and we know that the ultimate authority – as well as the Kingdom of God – did indeed arrive through the line of David, when Jesus Christ came to earth as a human being and established a kingdom that will never fail. David wasn’t merely going to have a kingly line of succession. Instead, his descendant would rule the world (ref. Matthew 28:18).
So, let’s not get so hung up on our own plans that we end up missing out on something better. David was ready to build the Temple, but God had something better in mind for him. In the same situation, we may wonder why God won’t bless us in trying to do something that we want to do, when – in fact – He has something even better prepared. Or, maybe someone else – possibly those in a future generation – will undertake the mission that we wanted to complete, while we serve (in our respective roles) elsewhere in God’s plan.
God sees the future from the beginning. Trust Him to know what He’s asking you to do now, and trust His heart that He loves you enough to want the best for you (which includes eternity with Him, as well as glorifying Him here on earth).
From Sunday School Lesson for June 6, 2021
- The Lookout, June 2021, © 2021 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). Matthew Henry. 1706, via BibleGateway.com.