girl receives a ring and proposal May 5 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Psalm 18; 2Samuel 22; 2Samuel 8:15-18; 1Chronicles 18:14-17; 2Samuel 7; 1Chronicles 17 (Note: Psalm 18 and 2Samuel 22 are almost identical and so are 2Samuel 7 and 1Chronicles 17)

A Glorious Promise

Sometimes we are the benefactors of great and glorious promises. For a child that might mean his mom or dad has made a commitment to buy him a new bike or take him to the zoo. For a teen that might mean he lives in hope of a new car promised by a relative upon his graduation from high school. For a young lady, her glorious hope begins when she becomes engaged to be married. For an adult he is ecstatic when he learns he is guaranteed an opportunity he has always wanted. We glory in these commitments because we know the promise is as good as the one who makes it. Is our word our bond? Do we do what we say? With God, we can be sure that his word is true. What he says he will do he will accomplish. He is Sovereign and loving and keeps his promises (often called covenants in the Bible). Today's Bible reading concerns the glorious promise of the Davidic Covenant. What did it mean for David and what does it mean for us?

When David has had victory over his enemies and is settled in his palace, he wants to do something for God. He feels gratitude and love for the forgiveness of his sins and his multiple military victories. However, there is a greater reason—God has taken David from the lowly position of a shepherd boy, the last of Jesse’s sons, and made him a king over all Israel. He even has a palace built for him in Jerusalem. And what of the great God who made it all possible? He still resides in a tent. Shouldn’t he have a glorious temple, a place of worship, worthy of his greatness? David confides his thoughts to the prophet Nathan, and the prophet tells him to go ahead and do it. Later that night, however, the LORD tells Nathan to give David this message:

This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in? 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. 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?”
Now then, tell my servant David, “This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth.” (2Samuel 7:5-9, NIV)

It is because of God’s grace that he makes this promise to David. He chose David because he was a man fully committed to obeying the LORD. Although he messed up and made grave errors, including adultery and murder, he greatly humbled himself, accepting God's punishments, and praising him for his holiness and righteousness. The LORD forgave him, but David will suffer serious consequences for his actions. God fully restored David, however, and now he walks righteously and proves he is still a man after God’s own heart (1Samuel 13:14).

God is pleased with David. His love and loyalty are commendable (2Samuel 8:15). He is told, however, that he is not the one who will build the LORD a house of worship; it will be one of his sons (Solomon). In a strange turn of events, at the time David expresses a desire to build a house for God, the LORD declares he will build a house for David. Is God referring to a palace for him? No, David already has that. The house he is speaking of is a lasting dynasty.

The Davidic Covenant

The first promise of the Davidic Covenant is that God will make David's name great, “like the names of the greatest men of the earth” (2Samuel 7:9, NIV). This promise is still true, for most Christian and many non-Christian nations have heard of the great King David.

The second promise of the Davidic Covenant is that the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, will be Israel's forever, and they will have peace (2Samuel 7:10-11). For awhile, when David is reigning as king, they do have peace but not forever. What then does God mean? We will answer this question later in the Bible study.

God's third promise of the Davidic Covenant is that his descendants will sit on his throne forever (2Samuel 7:12-13,16). Again, as Jewish history reveals, that did not happen. Why? Again, we will answer this question later.

God’s fourth promise is that one of his sons (Solomon) will build a temple to the LORD after David dies. We will see this fulfilled in future Bible studies.

The Davidic Covenant will be a fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:6-8). The LORD tells Abraham that he will make kings come out of him, and that he will give the whole land of Canaan as an everlasting possession to him and his descendants, ... and yet this still has not been fulfilled.

If God is faithful and true, how can the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants be fulfilled? If you know your Bible, you know that the nations of Israel and Judah will turn away from the LORD and be exiled to foreign nations. After seventy years, under the good sovereign hand of God, they will be restored to their land. However, they will have no more Israelite kings. The land of Israel will then be occupied by many nations. It has only been since 1948 that Israel has once again become a recognized nation. Still, there has been no Davidic king in Israel. Has God failed in his promise? No. 1Kings 9:4-7 gives us more insight into the Davidic Covenant. At Solomon’s dedication of the temple, God tells him,

As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, “You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.” But if you [The Hebrew word for “you” is plural] or your sons turn away from me and do not observe the commands and decrees I have given you [plural] and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land I have given them and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. Israel will then become a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. (NIV)

The questions about David's dynasty, everlasting peace, and permanent possession of the land need to be answered. If God made an everlasting covenant and then took it away, how then can it be permanent? We get a clue to the answer from Zechariah 14:9-11. According to these Scriptures, God suspends his promise until Christ comes as a son (descendent) of David. Jesus Christ is rejected the first time he comes, but he will return to rule and reign forever over a restored land of Israel, and there will be everlasting peace (Isaiah 66:12; Jeremiah 46:27; Ezekiel 37:26). God does not fail in any of his promises, but his character does not allow him to reward the wicked, so he suspends his promises until a future day. Don't we do the same thing with our children and teens? If we promised something, don’t we have a right to suspend the fulfillment of that promise if our children or teens misbehave?

Although the Davidic Covenant was given a long time ago, it still affects us. Jesus Christ is the son (descendant) of David (Matthew 1:1; 21:9). He promises eternal life to all who truly believe in him (more...), and he promises the faithful that they will rule and reign with him in his kingdom (2Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:9-10; 20:6; 22:5). Will Jesus keep his promises? The Apostle Paul writes,

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2Corinthians 1:20-22, NIV)

Our part in the Davidic Covenant is that we must accept Jesus Christ as our savior, our king, to be a part of his coming kingdom (more...), and we must be faithful to rule in it.

David’s is humbled and overjoyed with God's promise. He trusts the Sovereign LORD to bring his glorious promise to pass for him and the nation of Israel. We should also be humbled and overjoyed that God has chosen us who have a personal relationship with him to be a part of his kingdom. We can trust the LORD to fulfill his glorious promises.

Lessons to Live By

  • Christians, if we want to be like God we must keep our promises.
  • God does not fail in any of his promises, but his character does not allow him to reward the wicked or unfaithful. Neither should we.
  • Jesus Christ is the son (descendant) of David. He promises forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life to those who believe in him (more...), and he promises the faithful that they will rule and reign with him in his kingdom.
  • We should also be humbled and overjoyed that God has chosen us who have a personal relationship with him to be a part of his kingdom. We can trust the LORD to fulfill his glorious promises.

Focus Verse

2Samuel 7:28 (NIV) “O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.”

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A Look Ahead: David is overwhelmed by God's Faithfulness. What does he require of David and us? Find out in our Next Lesson.

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