Covenants of God: Week Six, Davidic Covenant
Okay. We are in week six of our seven-week series called, Covenants of God, where we are looking at the Grand Sweep of the Bible and how God relates to his people. And why are we doing this? To have a sound biblical worldview. THIS IS A BIBLE.
Here’s what we’ve covered so far:
1. Edenà God makes a covenant with creation and Adam, to tend and care for God’s creation and be in a perfect relationship with God and creation…only one stipulation: not to eat from tree of knowledge of good and evil. Broke covenant…
2. Adamà Through a series of curses to the serpent, woman, and man as a result of the Fall, God also made the covenant blessing to destroy the serpent through the seed of woman. This is the PROTO-GOSPEL.
3. Noahà Mankind continued in a negative downward spiral from the time of Adam to Noah, so God saved humanity from its certain demise by re-creating through the Great Flood and family of Noah. God saved humanity through Noah and his sons on an ark, then makes an eternal covenant never to destroy the earth by water.
4. Abrahamà A decedent of Shem, son of Noah, Abram is called out the land of Ur of the Chaldeans and God promises that he will be the father of many nations, that he will be blessed, that his descendants will receive a land grant of Canaan, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, God promises that through the Seed of Abraham, ALL PEOPLES WILL BE BLESSED…a prophecy pointing to Jesus Christ.
5. Mosesà In Genesis 15 with God’s ratification of the Abrahamic covenant, God foretells that the children of Abraham will be enslaved 400 years but God will redeem them from slavery and bring them back to the land of Canaan. God redeems Israel without Israel needing to do anything. It was because of the covenant loyalty of God that they are saved. God remembered his covenant with Abraham and saved the children of Israel. Then he gave them the Law so they could learn to be in right relationship with him and others.
Finally, God established the “tabernacle” so that God could dwell with his people for the first time since Eden. However, though God dwells with his people, because of sin, Israel cannot dwell with God apart from the sacrificial system of atonement.
This newly formed theocracy would be administered through three offices: prophet, priest, and king. Today we will focus on the kingly office.
The Mosaic covenant began at Mt Sinai and ends with the exile in 586 B.C. (though it could be argued that it doesn’t end until Jesus’s ratification of the New Covenant in the first century A.D., which will be the subject of next week’s message).
This is the bulk of Israelite History. Embedded in this history is the Davidic Covenant. David’s covenant does NOT change the identity of the people. place, or presence found in the Mosaic covenant, but it ADDS a critical new dimension—a royal, human representative who stands between Yahweh and his people. Whereas Abraham’s gift in the covenant was land, David’s gift is a royal dynasty. So how did we get here?
Here’s the backstory. The books that detail Israel’s transition from Sinai to the birth of a monarchy are those of Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel. If you read them, you will see the CONQUEST of the Promised Land and her struggle to keep control of it. You will read of the distribution of land into tribal territories. There’s the era of judges (charismatic military leaders who deliver Israel when they cry out to God).
And then there is Saul, first king of Israel, who brings Israel from a tribal confederacy into a monarchy. In 1 Samuel we learn that the people of Israel wanted to be like other nations, with a king to rule over them. God tells Samuel that they are not rejecting him but God.
They choose Saul, a tall, dark, and handsome fellow who had no business being king. But Saul was more afraid of the people than God. He breaks the rules and offers a sacrifice himself instead of Samuel. He is more interested in his own success rather than God’s. So, God takes away his blessing, the anointing of God’s Spirit.
In the meantime, God chooses David, the youngest of 8 sons of Jesse, who is from the tribe of Judah. David, who trusts and fears God more than men. David, the slayer of Goliath, is anointed king of Israel and valiantly leads his armies against the Philistines and other inhabitants of Canaan, establishing a nation with boundaries for the first time.
Jerusalem becomes the capital and David build a palace. But David feels guilty, since Yahweh still dwells in a tent. So he tells Nathan he plans to build a permanent dwelling place for God. Initially, Nathan the prophet assures David that God would be with him. But Nathan is told in a dream that David would NOT build it, his descendant would.
There are two iterations of the Davidic Covenant. The first is found in 2 Samuel 7. After a brief rebuke by Yahweh for even wanting to build him a temple, God promises to make David’s name great and to be Israel’s provider and protector. Then we come to the Davidic Covenant. [READ 2 SAM 7:11b-16]
There’s an interesting word-play going on here. The Hebrew word for “house” is bayit. This word can mean the structure in which a person lives (house). It can mean the structure in which a deity lives (a temple). It can also mean a person’s household; and when the person is the king, then the household is known as the dynasty.
So, when David asks if he can build Yahweh a “house” (temple) and God says “no.” God turns around and says he will build David a “house” (dynasty). THIS is David’s covenant grant!
Even though the covenant was made between God and David, in this passage, the emphasis is on Solomon. God says, “I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who build my house for my Name…”
This points to the second iteration of the Davidic Covenant found in 1 Chronicles 17:10b-14. In this second account the emphasis is on the Messiah. There’s no mention of a time when he will do wrong and need punishing; only an everlasting covenant that this Seed of David will be over God’s house and God’s kingdom forever.
Let’s look at the seven basic provisions of the Davidic Covenant and their significance. I came across these from a Messianic Jew, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.
1. David is promised an eternal dynasty (II Sam. 7:11b, 16; I Chr. 17:10b). Nothing could ever destroy the House of David; it will always be in existence. In Luke 1:33, the Angel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary of her son’s Messiahship: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
2. One of David’s own sons, specifically Solomon, was to be established on the throne after David(II Sam. 7:12). Absalom and Adonijah, two of David’s other sons, tried to usurp the throne; but Solomon, and Solomon alone, was to be established on David’s throne.
3. Solomon would build the Temple (II Sam. 7:13a). Although David had greatly desired to do so, his hands had shed much blood and he was guilty of murder at one point. So he was forbidden to build the Temple, and the job would rest with his son, Solomon.
4. The THRONE of David’s kingdom was to be established forever (II Sam. 7:13b, 16). It was not Solomon himself who was promised to be established forever, but the THRONE. This doesn’t mean that there would be a tall chair perpetually resting in the middle of a man-made throne room. God is speaking of a rule and reign…an eternal kingdom ruled by the Seed of David. In Rev 11, with the trumpet blast of the seventh angel, there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
5. Solomon would be disciplined for disobedience, but God would not remove His lovingkindness. God did remove his lovingkindness from Saul because of disobedience. But the promise is made that although Solomon may disobey and require God’s discipline, God’s lovingkindness will never depart from him.
The word “lovingkindness” emphasized covenant loyalty. Solomon fell into idolatry, the worst possible sin. The sin of Saul was not as great as that of Solomon. Yet the kingdom was taken away from the House of Saul, but not the House of David. This shows the nature of an unconditional covenant. Solomon was under such a covenant, but Saul was not.
This is CRITICAL to the Israel’s theocratic covenant. Even when David’s descendants fail to rule according to the covenant—and Israel is disciplined by foreign oppression—God will remain faithful to his covenant with David as he was to Moses, Abraham, Noah, and Adam! Our God is faithful, even when we are not!
6. The Messiah will come from the Seed of David. While the emphasis in the II Samuel passage is on Solomon, (David’s own flesh and blood) in the I Chronicles passage, it is on the Messiah. God is not speaking of one of David’s own sons to be established upon the throne forever, but the Seed of one of his sons coming many years later.
7. The Messiah and His throne, house, and kingdom will be established forever. It is the Person Himself that is established upon David’s throne forever, not the throne. The Messiah, as well as His throne, His house, and His kingdom are to be established forever.
What is significant about Davidic Covenant? It amplifies the Seed aspect of the Covenants of God. There has been a gradual narrowing of the Seed. According to the Adamic Covenant, the Messiah must be of the Seed of the woman, but this meant He could come from any part of humanity. With the Noahic Covenant, the Seed would have to come through one of the three sons, Shem, Ham, or Japheth. It would be Shem. According to the Abrahamic Covenant, the Seed had to come out of Jewish humanity, but this could be any of the twelve tribes of Israel.
When Jacob (Israel) blesses his sons before his death in Genesis 49, he prophesies this about his son, Judah: “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.” With this confirmation, the Seed now had to come out of the Tribe of Judah, but this permits Him to come from any family of Judah. Now, with the Davidic Covenant, the Messiah was to come from the seed of David.
There are many other passages confirming the Davidic Covenant:
1. II Samuel 23:1-5;
2. Psalm 89:35-37;
3. Isaiah 9:6-7; 11:1;
4. Jeremiah 23:5-6;
6. Jeremiah 33:14-17, 19-26;
7. Ezekiel 37:24-25;
8. Hosea 3:4- 5;
9. Amos 9:11;
1.Luke 1:30-33, 68-70; and
“Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful.” (Psalm 89:35-37 NIV)
“My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.” (Ezekiel 37:24-25 NIV)
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV)
WRAP UP. The Davidic Covenant is all about the promised Seed whose kingdom shall never end. It’s an eternal covenant. It’s an unconditional covenant. It didn’t depend on Israel’s kings being faithful or unfaithful to their office as king. And WHEN these kings did evil in the sight of God, there were negative consequences for them and for the nation as a whole.
As the leader goes, so goes the nation. This principle is still true today. As the leaders of a denomination go, so goes the denomination. As the pastor of a church goes, so goes the church. As the father of a household goes, so goes the household. We are all called to reflect the nature and character of Christ.
Here’s the good news, friends. As my pastor friend, Jeff Tollison, recently said, “God didn’t set himself up to succeed by using perfect vessels; God set himself up to be God through imperfect vessels.” That’s you and me. David wasn’t perfect. (We’ll learn more about that next week.) Solomon—as wise as he was—married for political aliances and practiced idolatry. And most every king after him did evil in the sight of God.
Yet, through it all, God remained faithful in keeping his promise. The Seed of David, the Promised Messiah, is Jesus Christ. Jesus himself affirms this when speaking to the Pharisees in Matthew 22:41-45àWhile the Pharisees were assembled, Jesus questioned them: “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is He?” “David’s,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him Lord? For he says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’ So if David calls Him Lord, how can He be David’s son?”
You see, Jesus is NOT David’s “son,” He’s David’s SEED. Out of the root of Jesse comes the Messiah. The Covenants of God—from Adam to David—all point to Jesus as the promised SEED who would crush the serpent’s head and who would rule and reign forever! This is WHO we worship! This is WHY we gather every Sunday!