God Makes a Covenant With David

One of my superstitions has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished. (Ulysses S. Grrant, quoted in Reader’s Digest) … More


God’s covenant with David makes this one of the great chapters of the Bible. God promised a king and a kingdom to come in the line of David. God confirmed this promise with an oath (Psa. 89:34-37). It is very difficult to understand the prophets from this point on without knowing about this covenant. The Old Testament prophets based their message on the promise given to David here.

The story of this chapter begins with David’s intention to build a temple for God. He has just completed the construction of his palace. God gently rebukes David for his plan. He looks out his window and sees the Ark of the Covenant housed in a tent. A plan begins to formulate in his mind as to how he can build a house for God. So David calls his friend and confidant, Nathan the profit and outlines his intentions (vv. 1-2). Nathan hastily consents, thinking that David’s plan to build such a house will be pleasing to God (v. 3). But that night Nathan is corrected by God, and he has to return to David with a revised evaluation (vv. 4-17).

David had the wrong idea of trying to help out God, rather than the one who is constantly being helped by God. God reminds David of who is helping who. History would remind David (and us) that it has always been God helping; us, not us helping God. God did not ask for a temple, because He did not need one (vv. 4-7). David has fallen into the very trap that God warned Israel to avoid. He has begun to take credit for what God has done. He begins to think of God as dependent upon him, rather than to worship God as a dependent creature. He was wrong to think in terms of his successes. God reminds him that all of his successes were really gracious gifts from His hand (vv. 8-9). And the things which God promises David in the future are gracious gifts (vv. 10-17) for which He is to be praised.                                                                                                          


David accepted his part in God’s plan and did not try to go beyond it. Sometimes God says no to my plans. When He does I need to get involved in the other opportunities He gives to me.

II Samuel 7:1-17 (English Standard Version)

Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, "See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent." And Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you." But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, "Go and tell my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?"' Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall 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 to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.'" In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

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