Certainly, David was amazed that the Lord would take his desire to build God a house or temple and pivot to making a promise that while David would not build God’s house, the Lord would build his (2 Sam. 7:1–17). Of course, this was a promise that our Creator would establish the house of David as ruling over His people forever. And ultimately, this promise pointed to Christ, the Son of David whom God would establish on the throne forever and who would incorporate all believers into the Lord’s house as living stones (vv. 12–13; 1 Peter 2:4–8).
David’s amazement is evident in the prayer of thanksgiving recorded in today’s passage. He begins by affirming the Lord’s grace and power. Recognizing that he and his family are nothing, David asks who he is that the Lord would bring him so far (2 Sam. 7:18). Indeed, the Lord had brought David far at this point in his life. God chose him out of obscurity (1 Sam. 16:7), and He brought him through much toil and tribulation as his life was under constant threat by Saul. David’s preservation in such trying circumstances evidenced God’s power, for although this protection was a great feat from a human perspective—the Lord enabled David to outlast a king and his army—it took God only the slightest effort to accomplish it (2 Sam. 7:19). Moreover, David understood that the promise to his house was not for his benefit alone. It “is instruction for mankind” (v. 19). The exaltation of David’s house ultimately reveals God’s plan to rescue humanity, for it is finally through the exaltation of Jesus Christ, David’s greatest Son, that salvation comes to every tribe and tongue (Acts 2:1–36; Eph. 4:7–8).
Much of the rest of the prayer of David after the enactment of the Davidic covenant praises God for His greatness and for His rescue and establishment of Israel as a people (2 Sam. 7:20–24). Then, David asks the Lord to confirm His word of promise forever—to demonstrate His fidelity by bringing what He had pledged to pass (v. 25). But David did not ask this merely for his own sake. In God’s fulfillment of His promises to David, the king foresaw that the Lord’s own name would be magnified. To put it another way, David sought the exaltation of his house for the sake of the glory of God. Matthew Henry comments, “David desired the performance of God’s promise for the honor, not of his own name, but of God’s.” Let us likewise seek the glory and honor of the Lord’s name above all else.