Chapter 7 of 2 Samuel opens with David contemplating the housing of the ark of the God. David muses to the prophet Nathan, “Here I am living in a palace of cedar while the ark of God remains in a tent” (2 Samuel 7:2). What follows David’s idea that he should build a temple is known as the “Davidic Covenant” and was communicated from God to David through the prophet Nathan.
God’s opening statement to David is as follows, “5This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 6 I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling. 7 Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar? (2 Samuel 7:5-7 NIV)”
This opening statement on the part of God is important because it makes it clear that God is in charge and in control. He will not sit idly by while David makes plans for where to house the ark. God had a plan for David that included being a ruler but not a temple builder. God provides three reasons why David’s plans did not fit into God’s. First, there was no urgent need for a temple to be built since God had resided in a tent since leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Second, as of yet God had issued no explicit command for His people to build a temple. Finally, David was an inappropriate choice to build a temple since he had spilled so much blood during his military career (See 1 Chronicles 22:8). This lesson is ripe for practical application if for no other reason than to serve as a reminder that our plans and God’s will are two different things. The discerning reader will notice that rather than dwelling on the fact God rejected his plans for a temple; David embraced the covenant initiated by God by adjusting his own plans to match God’s will, “And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised” (2 Samuel 7:25).
Once God has rejected David’s plans, He clearly establishes the provisions of His covenant with David. There are four such provisions:
1. David’s name will be made as great as the greatest men on earth (2 Samuel 7:9)
2. Israel will be provided a homeland (2 Samuel 7:10)
3. Israel will be provided undisturbed rest from all her enemies (2 Samuel 7:10-11):
4. David’s house and Kingdom will be made into a dynasty that will endure forever (2 Samuel 7:11-16)
These provisions are important because they suggest that the Davidic Covenant is being incorporated into the Abrahamic Covenant. God’s promises to David are all part of His bigger plan and as such had been planned from the beginning of time. It is mind-boggling to understand that David’s role in the restoration of mankind had been planned by God from the very beginning. God’s promise of a Davidic dynasty is important because for the first time in Israel’s history a dynasty is established. It seems evident that by establishing a dynasty God is promising that His role in the restoration of mankind will continue in the future far after David’s death.
Further significance can be found in the provisions of the Davidic dynasty by those of us living on this side of the cross. Before laying out the covenant, God lends David confidence by reminding him what He had done for him in the past; God took him from the pastures and established him as Israel’s king (2 Samuel 7:8) and had cut off all of David’s enemies before him (2 Samuel 7:9). In the same way, Christians can have confidence in the restoration available in Jesus Christ by examining the covenant God made with David. As God promised; David’s name has been made as great as the greatest on earth, Israel has been provided a homeland, and David’s line will live on forever in the name of Jesus Christ.
While the Davidic Covenant is an “outgrowth of the Abrahamic Covenant,” more importantly, it is a foreshadowing of the reign of Jesus Christ. There are five major implications concerning the future that can be found in the Davidic Covenant:
- God must preserve Israel as a nation.
- Israel must be brought back into her land.
- Jesus Christ must rule over the land of Israel.
- Christ’s Kingdom must be an earthly one.
- Christ’s Kingdom must be everlasting.
While Christian’s may disagree at times with how many of these provisions have already come to pass and how many are in store for the future, we can all take hope in the promise that God’s plan that was established with the Abrahamic Covenant and reaffirmed with the Davidic Covenant has and will culminate in the presence of Jesus Christ as was planned from the very creation of the earth.
Constable, Thomas L. “Notes on 2 Samuel.” 2010. Web. 15 Sep. 2010.