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Midweek Divine Service

2 Samuel 7:18-29

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Wed. after 11th after Trinity
Our Savior Lutheran Church  
Stevensville, MT

Wed, Aug 18, 2021 

Tonight I am unveiling a new prophecy about Christ the Lord.

Okay, it’s not really a new prophecy.  But it might as well be.  When reading English translations, one can hardly find a hint of it.  The way it is rendered into English makes it seem as if there is nothing about Christ there at all.

In the middle of verse nineteen, there seems to be an odd and out of place phrase.  In the middle of King David’s exuberant prayer of praise to the Lord, he says these words (I’m using the ESV translation that I read earlier): “This is instruction for mankind, O Lord God!” It appears a little strange that David stops in the middle of his emotional prayer to say that this is instruction for mankind.

Let’s back up more so that the context can shed light on it.  Earlier in chapter seven, David announced to the prophet Nathan that he was going to build a house, a temple, for the Lord God.  The Lord sends back a message through Nathan to David that no, the Lord would build a house for David.  He would do that by raising up a Seed for David from his body that would establish his kingdom.  The kingdom would be forever, and the Seed of David would be God’s Son, who would be chastened with the rod of men.  This Seed, of course, is Jesus Christ, Son of the heavenly Father but also David’s Son.

In tonight’s text, David went into the tent where the Ark of the Covenant was and began his prayer of praise and thankfulness to God, saying, “Who am I and what is my house that You have brought me this far?” etc.

Now what does this have to do with the words, “This is instruction for mankind, O Lord God!” Not much that I can see. 

Other translations handle these words of verse nineteen in widely different ways.  For instance, the American Standard Version says, “This too after the manner of men, O Lord Jehovah!” This seems even stranger.  King James says, “Is this the manner of man, O Lord God?” (question mark – turning it into a question for no grammatical reason) Or “You let a man see this, Sovereign Lord!” which is the Good News Translation, in spite of the fact that there is no verb of seeing in the text.  Then there is this one: “This decree, Sovereign Lord, is for a mere human!” - New International Version.  Also: “And hast shown me future generations, O Lord God!”, the Revised Standard Version.  None of these translations seem to make much sense, and they do not quite fit the Hebrew text.

The most literal and I think least incorrect translation I could find comes from the God’s Word Translation, which says, “Almighty Lord, this is the teaching about the man.”

Why is this important?  Because, according to Doctor Luther and others, this confusion of translations is obscuring a prophecy about Christ our Lord.

The second half of verse nineteen literally says this, in the Hebrew text: “This is the Torah of the Man, the Lord God.”

So what is Torah?  It perhaps unfortunately got translated early on as “Law”.  The Hebrew word “Torah” means instruction, and often stands for the teaching of the Old Testament as a whole.  One might well take it as meaning the revelation of Scripture.  So verse nineteen says, “This is the teaching (or revelation) of the Man, the Lord God.”

At this point you can guess what Martin Luther said: “Aha!  This is speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, who is ‘The Man, the Lord.’” And I contend that Luther is absolutely right.  That is the simple and direct explanation.

Would David say that his Seed was going to be both God and Man?  Of course he would.  The Lord through the prophet Nathan just told him that five seconds earlier.  In fact, if David had not mentioned this fact, it would be strange.  What an amazing thing to be revealed!  So David repeats it.

There is a parallel passage in First Chronicles seventeen, seventeen.  English translations bungle it pretty much the same way.  It says, “You have caused me to see what You have determined concerning a Man of high degree (or, Man out of the heights), the Lord God.”

I am not saying that English translations are deliberately obscuring a prophetic and glorious passage of our Lord Christ.  I have no evidence of that.  Nor do I say that every Christian has to understand this passage the same way.  If a person has a contrary opinion, I will not try to bind their conscience on this.

But in the original text it is very straightforward.  We can say for certain that David had an understanding that the coming Messiah was both David’s Son yet David’s Lord, as he said in Psalm 110.  Christ the Lord also points to that Psalm as proof that David’s Son is David’s Lord.

Sometimes we may think that the ancient saints of the Bible were bumbling and befuddled.  They hardly knew what was going on around them.  Sometimes that was true.  But often, they were far wiser than we.  In this case, David was discerning and far-seeing, not so much because of his own comprehension, but because God revealed it to him.  He heard the word, believed it, and repeated back the promise in joy and humility.

Isn’t that our job, too?  We are not in exactly the same historic situation as David, but we can say similar things.  “Who are we, O Lord, that you bless us with the blessing of David?  We should not have received the benefits of the Savior, born of the line of David yet also your Son.  We are neither of David’s house nor of the house of Israel.  Yet you have graciously grafted us into your own line through faith.  You have blessed us through Israel, by Your Torah and by Your Son.  Let Your Name be magnified forever, since You are the God of Israel, yet You are also our God as well.”

We confess back to the Lord the words He speaks to us.  If we fail to echo back His Word, what kind of children are we?  We are adopted by mercy and grace, so we should act like true children all the more, since we deserve none of the Treasure He has given us.

This treasure is forever.  It is not bound by time nor earthly limitation.  In earthly time He came in human flesh so that all time and eternity could be fulfilled in Him.  How could we praise this God too much?

In a lesser way, we honor the saints before us like David.  We see the example of faith they set before us and we do well to imitate it.

Therefore let us be like David, in hearing and believing God’s revelation concerning His Son.  Let us confess back willingly and with great joy that Christ has been punished in our place, yet is alive forever on His eternal throne.  With firm faith let us await His revelation on clouds of glory so that the kingdom that is hidden now will become the visible kingdom of eternal victory.  Amen.

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