II Samuel 7:1-17 The Davidic Covenant.
The Davidic covenant was the last OT administration of the one covenant of grace, in direct succession from the Mosaic, which succeeded the Abrahamic, which succeeded the Noahic, which succeeded the Adamic 2.0. The Adamic 1.0 or Creation covenant was a covenant of works, which all humanity broke through Adam, necessitating that first administration of the covenant of grace. The new covenant is of course the last expression of the one covenant of grace in direct succession to this Davidic covenant. This is one reason why the Scriptures refer to Jesus the Messiah as the Son of David (Mt. 1:1; Jn. 7:42). This story begins with David’s desire to build a house for the LORD, whose presence dwelt in a special way above the ark. David dwelt in a house of cedar but the ark was in a tent (vv. 1-2). Since they had arrived and settled in the promised land, and had captured and reigned from Jerusalem, there was no longer a need for the tabernacle, instead a more permanent dwelling made sense.
David turns to Nathan the prophet, no doubt wanting to know the LORD’s will in this regard. It is Nathan who presumes to know what is right and so tells David to go ahead, for the LORD was with him (v. 3). This is a cautionary note to us all. Our lives and current state may indeed be a case of the LORD in fact being ‘with’ us, but this should never be a pretext for not turning to him in prayer, especially as it concerns his house, which is the church of the living God (Heb. 3:6). “But it happened that night that the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying, ‘Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in?”” (vv. 4-5). The LORD then recounts for David how he led his people up to David’s time dwelling in a tent, never once asking for a house of cedar to be built (vv. 6-7). The LORD then recounts how he had chosen David to help lead his people as the one who gave them deliverance and victory (vv. 8-9). This echoes the preamble to the Mosaic covenant in the deliverance from Egypt (Ex. 19:3ff.).
This presence of the LORD going before them extended on through the judges up to David. We should also not miss a key point here. The LORD said that he “commanded” judges (plural), to be over his people (v. 11a). This was in effect a continuation of the government established with Moses, of a representative administration of equals. It was the people who asked for a king, and in doing so they were in rebellion in rejecting the LORD as their King (I Sa. 8). In any case, if they were to have a king then it would be a man of the LORD’s own choosing, and as one knows from chapter 2 and 5:1-5, it required the approbation of the people. Now the people were done with their wanderings. The LORD would plant them in the land where they now dwelt (v. 10). However, with respect to a house, the LORD makes the point that his house is his people. This is not just a new testament concept. The LORD, through a covenantal administration with David, in succession with all those who came before him, would be the house that the LORD would build (v. 11b).
In this covenantal administration God as their King would give them rest from their enemies – “the sons of wickedness” (vv. 10-11). However, there was also an individual rest which David and all his true sons and daughters would experience, and that is an eternal rest, again, not just a new testament concept (v. 12a Cf. Heb. 4:1-10). Furthermore, this last of the OT administrations of the one covenant of grace would continue on through a godly seed. This is carried forward ultimately until we come to the Messiah himself, in the person of Jesus, the Son of David and the Son of God. In him the gospel promise of a seed, first proclaimed at Genesis 3:15 in the Adamic 2.0 covenant, would find its ultimate fulfillment. The LORD would indeed establish Solomon’s kingdom for a time, but only in the Messiah could it be said that the LORD would establish his kingdom forever. The ultimate goal of this one continuing administration of the covenant of grace has always been, and continues to be, the establishment of the LORD’s kingdom.
The LORD’s will is that his kingdom be established on earth as it is in heaven (v. 12 Cf. Mt. 6:10; Lk. 11:2b). It is also true that Solomon would indeed build a house or temple for the LORD, but it is the Messiah, the greater Son of David, who would build the spiritual house of the LORD’s own people, and he “will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (v. 13). Again, the LORD was indeed as a father to David’s son, and he would discipline him when he sinned, but of David’s greater Son the LORD would be his Father in a unique way, and in a unique way he would also punish him, but for the sins of others, not his own (v. 14). Solomon would find mercy, but so would all those who would look to David’s greater Son, the Messiah (v. 15). His house and his kingdom is that which will be established forever (v. 16). Nathan thought that the matter of the building of a house for the LORD was settled so well that he didn’t even need to inquire of the LORD, but in the end the LORD spoke to and through him the words of this covenant (v. 17).