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girl receives a ring and proposal May 5 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 2Samuel 8:15-18; 1Chronicles 18:14-17; 2Samuel 7; 1Chronicles 17

A Glorious Promise

Sometimes we are the benefactors of great and glorious promises. For a child that may mean a new bike or a trip to the zoo promised by mom or dad. 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 a glorious hope might mean being promised an opportunity he has always wanted. We glory in these promises 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 his true. What he says he will do he will do. He is Sovereign and loving and keeps his covenants (his promises). Today's Bible study concerns the glorious promise of the Davidic Covenant. What did it mean for David and what does it mean for us?

When David was settled in his palace and was at rest from all his enemies, David wanted to do something for God. He wanted to build him a grand temple, a place of worship befitting his greatness. He probably felt a great deal of gratitude and love for God for the forgiveness of his sins and his multiple military victories. However, there was a greater reason; God had taken David from the lowly position of a shepherd boy, the last of Jesse’s sons, and made him a king of all Israel. He even had a palace built for him in Jerusalem. And what of the great God who made it all possible? He still resided in a tent. Shouldn’t he have a glorious temple befitting the one true Almighty God? He confided his thoughts to the prophet Nathan, and Nathan told him to go ahead and do it. Later that night, however, God told 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 made the promise to David. He chose David because he was a man fully committed to obeying the LORD. He was a man after God’s own heart (1Samuel 13:14). When we make a promise to someone, we make a choice to reward a person, not for bad behavior (lest we encourage it), but for good. God was pleased with David. His love and loyalty were commendable (2Samuel 8:15). He was told, however, that he was not the one who would build God a house of worship; it would be one of his sons (Solomon). In a strange turn of events, at the time David expressed a desire to build a house for God, the LORD said he would build a house for David. Was God just referring to a palace for David? No, David already had that. The house he was speaking of was a lasting kingdom.

The Davidic Covenant

The first promise of the Davidic Covenant was that God would make his name great, “like the names of the greatest men of the earth.” (2Samuel 7:9, NIV). That 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 was that the Promised Land would be Israel's forever, and they would have peace (2Samuel 7:10-11). For awhile, when David was reigning as king, they did have peace but not forever. What then did God mean? We will answer that question later in this Bible study.

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

God’s fourth promise was that one of his sons (Solomon) would build a temple to God after David died. We know this came true as we will see in future Bible studies.

The Davidic Covenant would be a fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:6-8). God told Abraham that he would make kings come out of him, and that he would 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 true and faithful, how could the eternality of the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants be realized? If you know your Bible history, you know that the nations of Israel and Judah later turned away from the LORD and were exiled to foreign nations. After seventy years, under the good sovereign hand of God, they were restored to their land. However, they had no more Israelite kings. The land of Israel has been occupied by many nations since then. It has only been since 1948 that Israel was once again a recognized nation. Still, there has been no Davidic king in Israel. Did God fail in his promise? No. 1Kings 9:4-7 gives us more insight into the Davidic Covenant. At Solomon’s dedication of the temple, God told 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 [The Hebrew is 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)

A question we should answer at this point is: If God made an everlasting covenant, and then took it away, how then can it be an everlasting covenant? We get a clue to this answer from Zechariah 14:9-11. According to these Scriptures God suspended his promise until Christ came as a son (descendent) of David. Christ was the rejected king of Israel, 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 suspended 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?

Though 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 promised eternal life to all who truly believe in him (more...), and he promised the faithful that they would rule and reign with him in his kingdom (2Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:9-10; 20:6; 22:5). Will Jesus keep his promises? 2Corinthians 1:20-22 says,

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. (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 be chosen to rule in it.

David’s reaction to God’s promises was that he was humbled and overjoyed! He trusted the Sovereign LORD to bring his glorious promise to pass for him and the nation of Israel. We must do the same.

Lessons to live by:

  • Christians, be like God - keep your promises.
  • God does not fail in any of his promises, but his character does not allow him to reward the wicked or unfaithful.
  • Jesus Christ is the son (descendant) of David. He promised forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life to those who believe in him (more...), and he promised the faithful they would rule and reign with him in his kingdom.
  • Be humbled and overjoyed that God has chosen you to be a part of his kingdom. Trust him to fulfill his glorious promises.

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

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