Taking God At His Word (2 Samuel 7:1-29) -- By: F. W. Tyler

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 09:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: Taking God At His Word (2 Samuel 7:1-29)
Author: F. W. Tyler

Taking God At His Word
(2 Samuel 7:1-29)

F. W. Tyler


Many rifts within Christendom have occurred over the meaning of the word believe and its relation to the reception of eternal life. In the gospel of John, passages like 3:16, 5:24, 6:47, 11:25–27, and 20:30–31 are straightforward regarding the issue, but unfortunately, much of Christendom is steeped in a gospel brew of faith mixed with works.1 In Acts 16:31, Paul and Silas urge the Philippian jailer, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.2 What does such a startlingly simple message mean? Can evangelical Christians continue to share the good news with the same simplicity and confidence today?

Second Samuel 7 is often remembered for the Davidic Covenant, but before God’s words became a point of concern for theologians, they were foremost a promise to David.3 By their very nature, promises are either true or false. The integrity of the source contributes to one’s persuasion that the promise is indeed true.4 Although the word believe is not used in 2 Samuel 7, various elements of persuasion are present in this passage.

Context and Audience

The Lord makes His promise to David at a time when Israel and David enjoy relative peace. In these moments of ease, King David pauses for reflection.

Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.” Then Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.” (2 Samuel 7:1–2)

David wishes to rectify what he considers an inequity: See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains. Nathan the prophet answers David in a general sense: “The Lord has blessed and continues to bless you and Israel; therefore, do what you please, because what you do pleas...

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