God’s Covenant with David
Adult 1 Sunday School Class 2 Samuel 7:1-6, 8-10, 12-16 October 22, 2017
Theme: When entering relationships with others, people struggle to retain control of their plans and dreams. How can people sacrifice control to maintain vital relationships? God’s covenant with David is a compromise between the eternal, omnipresent God and the time- and space-bound David by allowing a temple to be built, but beyond David’s lifetime.
Please interpret the meaning of the following verses.
The interpretation of the verses is in bold print which follows the original verse in regular print.
2 Samuel 7:1,2,3, “And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies: 2. That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. 3. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.” These verses come at the end of many battles in which David was victorious over His enemies surrounding Israel. With the Lord’s help in victory, He now gives Him rest and time to contemplate. This lead David to the idea of building a permanent place for the Ark of the Covenant. (David wanted to build a permanent place to house the Ark. A temple or a tabernacle is believed by the Israelites is where God resides, and where the high priest goes to speak with Him and then comes back to tell the people what God has told the priest.) Relating his thought to Nathan, his friend and God’s prophet, Nathan agreed and said go for it. BIG PROBLEM, neither had consulted God.
v.4, “And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying” This is a familiar phrase used in the OT, “the word of the LORD came unto…”. God communicated to His prophet in a vision or a dream, a message that the prophet had to relate to a person or persons.
v.5, “Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?” This verse is a reason that the Scriptures cannot be read casually, but require discernment and introspection. First, house can refer to the dwelling of a person or family, as well as a place where something resides, like a palace or a temple. David concludes that if he has a house, why not a place for God to reside. Even though the Rabbi listens to God in the “holy of holies”, God just does not reside in a temple, for He is omnipresent (being everywhere at once). “Shalt thou build me a house for me to dwell in?”, the Lord rhetorically asked Nathan. God’s objection is not the plan, but the planner.
v.6, “Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.” This verse is a personification to give life to an inanimate object. What it does, is make a spirit into a human to make a dramatic point. Here God recalls not being in a house since the Israelites walked out of Egypt, although He has walked in a tent or in a tabernacle. Explain this last verse. To make it clear to Nathan and ultimately David, God in essence is saying that His Spirit has always been with His people, while leaving Egypt, or in the transportable tent or tabernacle in which the Ark was stored. Even though the Israelites could not see God, He was always with them. By personifying a spirit, it makes the explanation more understandable.
v.8, 9, 10, “Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel. 9. And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. 10. Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime.” God did not need a place to be housed. He explained to David that he had taken a poor shepherd boy, delivered him through many obstacles in his life, made him victorious in war, ruler of Israel, and set up a dynasty for his progeny. He has allowed him to rest from his labors without the fear of enemy attack. He has provided a place for His people, without the interference from “the children of wickedness”, the pagan lands that surrounded Israel.
v.12, 13, “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” These verses cannot be taken literally. V.12 is saying that when God’s promise to David will be fulfilled after he’s dead, “thou shall sleep with thy fathers”. God’s promise is that David’s sons will lead a nation, “I will set up thy seed after thee.” “I will establish his kingdom.” The linage of David just referenced will be with Jesus Christ, King of Kings. That Kingdom from Jesus Christ will last for ever and ever.
v.14, 15, 16, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15. But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: V.14 the father/son relationship is not clearly defined. Is He speaking about David/Solomon or God/Jesus Christ? In any event, although God will not renege on His Davidic Covenant, He will chastise the iniquity of David’s offspring, but He will continue to care for them.
This lesson is not about who would build the temple for God, or that God did not favor David because he had too much blood on his hands from his warrior past. It is about the covenant that God made with David. He would build him a ruling legacy of kings, but most importantly it would culminate with the Son, Jesus Christ who would rule for eternity in an everlasting kingdom which came from the tribe of Judea. This is the promise which the Lord made with David through His Covenant.