Peter Misselbrook's Blog
May 7 2019 - 2 Samuel 7 – God's covenant with David

David had brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, but it was still housed in the Tabernacle – a large tent. Meanwhile, David lived in a splendid palace, a symbol that he is there to stay. So David decided that he should replace the Tabernacle, designed to be moved around, with a permanent building for the Ark of the Covenant – a Temple.  The prophet Nathan told David that building a Temple for the Lord would be a good idea, but even prophets can get it wrong when they express their own opinion rather than seeking a word from the Lord. God gave Nathan a very different message to pass on to David.

The Lord's message is a declaration that God is going to fulfil his promises to Abraham through David. The Israelites are now settled in the Promised Land and will no longer be disturbed by their enemies. God has given them rest. And these covenant blessings will continue through David's descendants. His son will build a Temple in Jerusalem for the Lord. The kingdom which God has established through David will last forever.

In response, David pours out his heart in praise to God. His words echo those spoken by God at the foot of Mount Sinai; David says, "How great you are, Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel – the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, LORD, have become their God" (2 Samuel 7:22-25, cf. Exodus 19:3-6).

God's promise to David is wonderful. But if we are to understand it within the context of the whole drama of Scripture, we need to add two caveats. Firstly, there is one vital part of the promise of God to Abraham which has not yet been fulfilled; God promised that through him and his descendants, all nations on earth would be blessed. God's words to Israel at the foot of Sinai reminded them that they are called to be a priestly nation, that through them, all nations on earth shall come to know the living God. How will David or a descendant of David be used to bring blessing to all nations?

Secondly, God's promise to bless David's descendants and protect their throne is not unconditional. As 1 Chronicles 28:6-7 makes plain, the continuance of the kingdom is dependent upon the faithfulness of the king. As we continue to follow the history of Israel's kings, we shall see how idolatry and disobedience on the part of the kings led to exile – the loss of the Promised Land. Will a son of David ever appear who will be perfectly obedient to God and who will establish a kingdom that will never be destroyed?

The promises given by Nathan to David point us forward to David's greater son. Jesus is the one of whom God says "I will be his father, and he will be my son... Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever" (7:14, 16; cf. Hebrews 1:5). He is the one in whom all nations on earth shall be blessed.

Thank you heavenly Father that while all earthly kingdoms decay and disappear, the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ increases and shall last forever. Thank you for Jesus' perfect obedience, obedience that took him to the cross for us. Thank you that he is risen from the dead and ascended to your right hand in the heavens where he reigns in glory. Thank you that by your grace and through your Spirit you have called us into the kingdom of your dear Son. Use us to draw others to the Lord Jesus and to rejoice in the life of your kingdom.

Peter Misselbrook