What does 2 Samuel teach us about where to put our hope?
That even in failure we can trust God’s promises, and ultimately, we are to put all our hope in God’s promised King, Jesus Christ.
The book of 2 Samuel describes the reign of King David, one of the great heroes of the Bible. Because of King Saul’s disobedience, God replaced him with David, a humble young man who trusted in God. But even after David was anointed, Saul continued to rule Israel, and David waited for God to put him on the throne. We’ve already seen in 1 Samuel how in God’s strength David killed giants and won battles; he shows great faith and great victory.
As the book of 2 Samuel begins, we see David anointed for the second time as Israel’s King. Saul has died, and so gradually the entire country recognizes David as the rightful King. He begins to lead Israel in great victories, and the country experiences God’s blessing under a godly King; rather than divided tribes, Israel becomes a true Kingdom. God’s promise that foreign powers greater than Israel would flee from them comes true under David’s rule.
As the Kingdom prospers David longs to build a temple for God. Israel was still worshipping at the tabernacle, a tent made under the instruction of Moses, but David wants to honor God with a more permanent home, right in the center of the country. You see his heart for the Lord, that he cares more about God’s name than his own. But God tells David he can’t build the temple; David is a man of blood, and even though he fight’s God’s battles, he’s unfit to build the place where God is worshipped. But God makes a promise to David: your family will rule Israel forever. This is why both Matthew and Luke trace Jesus’ genealogy back to King David—they are showing Jesus has a physical right to claim David’s throne, fulfilling God’s promise.
But then something terrible happens: David stays home when his army goes to war, he commits adultery, and then he murders the woman’s husband to hide his sin. And God brings judgment on his house. David does confess his sin, and we learn from David what to do when we sin: we confess it and ask for forgiveness. But even though God forgave him, David’s sin had horrible consequences for his family and the entire nation.
David’s own son starts a civil war that runs him out of the country. But even then, David trusts the mercy of God. We read David’s prayers in the Psalms and sense his anguish—he knows his own sin led to the suffering of the entire Kingdom. But we also see God rescue him again.
Ultimately the book is tragic, but it gives us great cause for hope. David is the greatest King Israel ever had, yet because of his terrible failures, even he points to the need for a greater King, one who will serve God and the people perfectly, without sin. The promises of God to David point us to Christ. He is the King that will always lead us in victory. He is the King who will never sin. He is the King who brings God to live with his people, not in a physical temple, but in our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
King Jesus will never fail you. Are you trusting him?