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2 Samuel 7:1–8:18 (LEB)

Yahweh Makes a Covenant with David

7 It happened that the king settled in his house. (Now Yahweh had given rest to him from all his enemies all around.) And the king said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, please, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God is staying in the middle of the tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go and do all that is in your heart, for Yahweh is with you.” But it happened that night, the word of Yahweh came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says Yahweh: “Are you the one to build for me a house for my dwelling? For I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought up the Israelites from Egypt until this day; rather, I was going about in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all of my going about among all the Israelites, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why did you not build me a cedar house?’ ” ’ So then, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts, “I took you from the pasture from following the sheep to be a leader over my people, over Israel, and I have been with you everywhere you went. I have cut off all of your enemies from in front of you, and I will make a great name for you, as the name of the great ones who are on the earth. 10 I will make a place for my people Israel, and I will plant them so that they can dwell in their own place. They will not tremble any longer, and the children of wickedness will not afflict them again, as in the former days. 11 In the manner that I appointed judges over my people Israel, I will give you rest from all your enemies. And Yahweh declares to you that Yahweh will build a house for you. 12 When your days are full and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you who will go out from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he will be a son for me, whom I will punish when he does wrong, with a rod of men and with blows of human beings. 15 But my loyal love shall not depart from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before you; your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”

David Responds to Yahweh’s Covenant

17 According to all these words and according to all this vision, this Nathan spoke to David. 18 Then King David went and sat before Yahweh and said, “Who am I, my lord Yahweh, and what is my house that you have brought me up to this place? 19 Still, this was insignificant in your eyes, my lord Yahweh, and also you have spoken about the house of your servant from afar, and this may be the teaching of humans, my lord Yahweh. 20 What more can David say to you? You know your servant, my lord Yahweh. 21 Because of your word and according to your heart, you have done all of this great thing, in order to let your servant know. 22 Therefore you are great, my lord Yahweh, for there is no one like you, and there is no god except you, in all that we have heard with our ears. 23 Who is like your people, like Israel? Israel is the one nation on earth whose God led them, in order to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to do for you the great and awesome things for your land in the presence of your people whom he redeemed for himself from Egypt, from the nations and their gods. 24 You have established your people Israel for yourself as a people forever, and you, O Yahweh, have become their God. 25 So then, Yahweh God, the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, confirm it forever, and do just as you have promised. 26 Your name shall be great forever, and they will say, ‘Yahweh of hosts is God over Israel’; and the house of your servant David shall be established before you. 27 For you, O Yahweh of hosts, are God of Israel! You have revealed to the ear of your servant, ‘I will build a house for you’; therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. 28 Now, my Lord Yahweh, you alone are God, and your words are true. You have promised this good to your servant. 29 So then, be content and bless the house of your servant to be forever in your presence, for you, my Lord Yahweh, have spoken, and because of your blessing, may the house of your servant be blessed forever.”

David’s Military Victories Continue

8 It happened afterwards that David attacked the Philistines and subdued them, and he took Metheg Ammah from the hands of the Philistines. When he defeated Moab, he measured them with the cord, making them lie on the ground. He measured two cords to kill and the third cord to let live. So Moab became servants of David, bringing tribute. Then David struck down Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, when he went to restore his monument at the Euphrates River. David captured from him one thousand and seven hundred horsemen and twenty thousand foot soldiers. David hamstrung all the chariot horses, but from them he spared a hundred chariot horses. When Aram of Damascus came to help Hadadezer, the king of Zobah, David killed twenty-two thousand men of Aram. David placed garrisons in Aram of Damascus, so Aram became servants of David, bringing tribute. Yahweh protected David everywhere he went.

David took the small round gold shields which had belonged to the servants of Hadadezer, and he brought them to Jerusalem. From Betah and from Berothai, the towns of Hadadezer, King David took very many bronze items.

When Toi, the king of Hamath, heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer, 10 Toi sent Joram his son to King David to greet him and to congratulate him because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him; for Hadadezer had often been at war with Toi. He brought with him objects of silver and objects of gold and objects of bronze. 11 King David dedicated them also to Yahweh along with the silver and the gold that he had dedicated from all of the nations which he had subdued; 12 from Aram and from Moab and from the Ammonites and from the Philistines and from Amalek and from the plunder of Hadadezer the son of Rehob, the king of Zobah. 13 So David made a name for himself when he returned from defeating Aram in the Valley of Salt, eighteen thousand. 14 He put garrisons in Edom; all over Edom he put garrisons, and all of Edom became servants of David. Yahweh protected David wherever he went.

15 David reigned over all of Israel, and he was administering justice and righteousness for all his people. 16 Joab the son of Zeruiah was over the army, and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was secretary. 17 Zadok the son of Ahitub and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar were priests and Seraiah was scribe. 18 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and the sons of David were priests.

1 Peter 4:12–19 (LEB)

Sharing the Sufferings of Christ

12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, when it​ takes place to test you, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 But to the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of his glory you may rejoice and be glad. 14 If you are reviled on account of the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 By all means do not let anyone of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 But if someone suffers as a Christian, he must not be ashamed, but must glorify God with this name. 17 For it is the time for the judgment to begin out from the household of God. But if it begins out from us first, what will be the outcome for those who are disobedient to the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous are saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? 19 So then also those who suffer according to the will of God must entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing good.

Psalm 137:1–9 (LEB)

Lament During the Babylonian Exile

137 By the rivers of Babylon,

there we sat, yes, we wept,

when we remembered Zion.

On the willows in her midst,

we hung up our lyres.

For there our captors asked of us

words of a song,

and our tormentors asked of us jubilation,

“Sing for us from a song of Zion.”

How could we sing the song of Yahweh

in a foreign land?

If I forget you, O Jerusalem,

let my right hand forget.

Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth,

if I do not remember you,

if do not I exalt Jerusalem

above my highest joy.

Remember, O Yahweh, against the sons of Edom

the day of Jerusalem,

the ones who said, “Lay it bare! Lay it bare

to its foundation!”

O daughter of Babylon, about to be devastated,

happy shall be he who pays back to you

what you paid out to us.

Happy shall be he who seizes

and smashes your children

against the rock.

July 21

A commitment to honesty and truth often puts us in unexpected spiritual situations—something David experiences in 2 Sam 7. David thinks he will build God a great house—a temple—but instead God plans to build a house for him—a legacy. Because David seeks God, God does great things through him. Yet, as David discovers, being part of God’s work and living in His will isn’t without difficulty or pain.

Consciously or subconsciously, we often cling to the notion that “If I do good works for God, He will owe me.” Isn’t that the assumption behind the statement, “I am loyal to God, but He has afflicted me with pain”? We frame our pain in light of God’s role. Instead, we should view it in relation to the sin of our world. We sin, just as people did in the past, so why should we not expect pain?

Like David, Peter and his fellow missionaries experience a great deal of pain in doing God’s work. Peter encourages them by writing, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, when it takes place to test you, as if something strange were happening to you. But to the degree that you share in the sufferings of Christ, rejoice, so that also at the revelation of his glory you may rejoice and be glad” (1 Pet 4:12–13). Peter understands that the persecution they face for Christ will be used for great glory. He reminds his audience that they shouldn’t be surprised. By committing themselves to following Christ, they will inevitably clash with those who are opposed to Christ.

In response to David’s seeking God, God makes a covenant with David. Then as now, the central principle of covenant lies in God’s loyalty to us—because of Christ’s work on the cross to suffer and die for our sin—despite how much the world hates us.

Has God taught you through persecution? In what ways is God’s covenant at work among you today?

John D. Barry is the publisher of Lexham Press, general editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary, and the previous editor-in-chief of Bible Study Magazine. He is the author of The Resurrected Servant in Isaiah, Cutting Ties with Darkness, and Letters to a Christian, as well as the coauthor of Mary: Devoted to God's Plan. John is also the author of Not Your Average Bible Study volumes on Malachi, Colossians, Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter, and the coauthor of a study on 2 Peter–Jude.

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord

Publisher: Lexham Press

Publication Date: 2012

This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.