Today’s reading concludes 2 Samuel. In this remarkable book, we’ve witnessed the rise of David, his devastating fall, his restoration to God, and the consequences of his sin. This final chapter emphasizes two themes in this book, while also providing hope for the future.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. Psalm 95:6
First, we are reminded that God is sovereign. God is the One who chose David, empowered him, and directed his steps. God’s sovereign rule is seen in the first verse of this chapter: “And he incited David against them” (v. 1). On one level, this may be confusing. How could God hold David accountable for sin that He incited him to do?
Scripture affirms both God’s sovereignty and our own human responsibility and freedom. It does not fully explain how these two aspects of reality ultimately cohere, but we can be certain that both are true. Human freedom can never thwart God’s plans. Yet, God’s sovereignty does not make human actions insignificant. The apostle Paul reflected on this question, concluding: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Rom. 11:33).
Second, we are taught that there must be atonement for sin. David’s final act was to purchase the ground that would be used for building the Temple of the Lord. The altar that David built was a way God provided for sin to be atoned for through sacrifice (vv. 21, 25). At this site, “The Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land” (v. 25). This sacrifice points forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus who atoned for our sin once and for all (Heb. 7:27).
We end this book seeing David in full fellowship with God on the basis of atoning sacrifice. The same is true for us today. Despite the sin in our past, we can turn to Christ, trust in His finished work on the cross. Through Him, we can enjoy fellowship with God now and for eternity.
You will dwell with us. We will be Your people, and You will be with us and be our God. You will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev. 21:3–4). This is our certain hope.