The Davidic Covenant
King David moved the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David with purpose. Jerusalem would not only be the center of Israel’s government, but also the focal point for the worship of Jehovah. Relocating the Ark was the first step in his strategy, but God’s plans exceeded anything David envisioned.
The tabernacle was a fitting structure for the Ark while the children of Israel were growing in number and coalescing as a nation. David’s leadership brought unity and stability to the nation resulting in a level of peace never before experienced in Israel.
With the Ark safely in the City of David, the king shared his plans to make Jerusalem the center of Israel’s religious life.
“Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains’” (2 Sam. 7:1-2).
David wanted to build a temple to house the Ark, and Nathan readily endorsed the idea. In this case, Nathan spoke as a wise God-fearing man, but his words to David were not the words of the Lord. Nathan undoubtedly based his approval on David’s integrity and the obvious devotion embodied in the proposal.
Nathan assumed God’s approval, but didn’t have all the facts.
“But it happened that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, ‘Go and tell My servant David, “Thus says the Lord . . .’”’ (2 Samuel 7:4-5).
God didn’t denounce David’s proposal. He didn’t censure David’s desire to build the temple. God did, however, test David’s resolve.
God planned for the temple to be built in Jerusalem (Deut. 12:5-11; 2 Chron. 6:6). David had a “heart for God,” but a different personality was required to build the temple (1 Sam. 13:14 cf Acts 13:22; 2 Chron. 28:1-6).
Nathan returned admitting he had spoken prematurely and clarified that David would not be responsible for the actual construction of the temple. Nathan related what God had said in a vision:
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you.
And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.“ (2 Sam. 7:12-16).
Nathan’s startling message to David that day contained new revelation. God had something greater in mind for David although he would be instrumental in amassing materials for the temple project.
Theologians call God’s plan the Davidic Covenant, which is one of four unilateral covenants that God made with Israel. Unilateral covenants are unconditional where God is the sole guarantor responsible for the fulfillment.
Nathan told David, “your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever” (v. 16).
- The first provision of God’s covenant with David was “a house” (2 Sam. 7:16). God was not promising David a palace; he already had one. (1) God guaranteed a dynasty, a royal line of descent or posterity that would continue forever. God explicitly declares, “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: ‘Your seed I will establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations.’” (Ps. 89:3-4).
God’s promises contained in the Davidic Covenant are verified in Scripture. (2) Even after Jehoram, a descendant of David, married Ahab’s daughter and did, “evil in the eyes of the Lord,” God stood by His promise and would not, “destroy the house of David because of the covenant He had made with David” (2 Chron. 21:5-7).
- Second in addition to an eternal dynasty, God promised David an everlasting kingdom. Although not functioning at all times and in every period of subsequent history, the kingdom continues to be viable. Despite millennia of Gentile domination, David’s kingdom has and continues to be a reality capable of restoration to full function at any time (Jer.23:5-6, 33:15-17; Ezek. 37:24-25).
- Finally, God promised David that his throne like his posterity and kingdom would be established forever (2 Sam. 7:16). The Davidic Dynasty’s right to rule continues from David’s time into the future. In spite of periods when others usurped rule over Israel, God guarantees that the kingdom and the throne rightfully belong to David in perpetuity (Amos 9:11-12; Lk. 1:32).
Scripture confirms that the Davidic Covenant is fulfilled in Messiah who is not only a descendant of King David the son of Jesse, but also the only One capable of an eternal reign (Isa. 11).
Messiah will govern from David’s throne in Jerusalem during the Messianic Kingdom (Lk. 1:32-33).
David’s encounter with the Lord provides a glimpse into the way God works behind the scenes to accomplish His purposes. Speaking through Isaiah, God explains:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9).
God is sovereign. As mortal finite human beings, we can miss the big picture.
David had an impressive plan. God’s plan was mind boggling. David was committed to building a temple. God made the Davidic Dynasty a key component in His unfolding plan for the Messiah and the Messianic Kingdom.
Open your eyes to the prophetic Word and the events unfolding in the world today. This past week, the Sanhedrin revealed a new temple coin issued to prepare for the re-establishment of the Davidic Dynasty and the inauguration of the Messianic Kingdom.
God’s plans for the Messianic Kingdom will be fulfilled as revealed to David, possibly sooner than we can imagine.
1) Mazar, Eliat, 2015. “Did I Find King David’s Palace?” Biblical Archaeology, December 08.
2) For further study, read:
- Isaiah 9:7; 11:1-10; 55:3-5
- Jeremiah 23:5-6
- Acts 13:34; Rev. 3:7
1) Réconstitution de Jérusalem et du temple d’Hérode. (Reconstruction of Jerusalem and the Temple of Herod. By James Tissot/[Public domain]/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
2) David. (By Lord Frederic Leighton/[Public domain]/Wikimedia/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
3) Nathan and David. (By Matthias Scheits/[Public domain]/Wikimedia/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
4) Festivities in Honour of David. (Photo credit: By James Tissot and Followers/[Public domain]/Brooklyn Museum/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
5) The Davidic Dynasty, (literally, House of David). (Photo credit: By Balogh Gábor/[Public domain, CC0]/Wikimedia/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios
6) A shoot shall come up from the stump of Jesse (As in Isaiah 11:1). (Photo credit: By Ian Scott [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
7) Half Shekel King David Coin – gold plated. (Photo credit: Obverse face, With special thanks courtesy, The Sanhedrin/http://en.hamikdash.org.il/about/we-need-your-support/the-temple-coin/)
8) Half Shekel King David Coin – gold plated. (Photo credit: Reverse face, With special thanks courtesy, The Sanhedrin/http://en.hamikdash.org.il/about/we-need-your-support/the-temple-coin/)
Copyright © 2016 Charles E. McCracken (updated 2019), devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.