The Davidic Covenant 1 - The Context

The Davidic Covenant 1 – The Context

As I study more about the Tabernacle of David, the Davidic Covenant is at the core. Instead of trying to define and discuss the Tabernacle of David, I want to start with the Davidic Covenant. Everything about the Tabernacle of David comes back to this covenant.

We are probably familiar with the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant. The Davidic Covenant is not taught or discussed very often in church, at least I haven’t heard of a sermon on this in the services I have been to, not including online since we search out topics we are interested in. I only delve into the Davidic Covenant a little more when I was trying to understand the Tabernacle of David. As I took time to study and mediate on the Davidic Covenant, I am deeply convicted that this covenant has deep significance to us as Christians today, almost as important as the New Covenant or even on par.

The Davidic Covenant is found in 2 Samuel 7:5-17.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I found when I read some theologians on the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7.  There is an acknowledgement that the Davidic Covenant has a key role to play in the Old Testament. Below are a few quotes:

  • Ronald Youngblood’s understand is that 2 Samuel 7 is “the center and focus of . . . the Deuteronomic history itself.
  • Walter Brueggemann regards it as the “dramatic and theological center of the entire Samuel corpus” and as “the most crucial theological statement in the Old Testament.
  • Robert Gordon called this chapter the “ideological summit . . . in the Old Testament as a whole.

King David’s Stage of Life

After all the years of battles both personal and national, King David in 2 Sam 7:1 is described as “settled” and the LORD had given him “rest from his enemies”. Rest is a good place to be. It is a place of blessedness and shalom. Perhaps even being fulfilled, in the sense of fulfilling God’s purpose in his life.

King David’s cedar palace stood in stark contrast to the simple tent the Ark of God rests in. His love and respect for God led David to desire to build God a proper house, rather than a tent.

“Nathan replied to the king, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the Lord is with you.”” – 2 Sam 7:3

When we examine the word that came to Nathan in the night after his conversation with King David, God’s focus is not in this house that David wanted to build as nothing was mentioned about this house except for 2 Sam 7:6-7. If we examine Nathan’s response, the key was “the Lord is with you“. Again, nothing about the house David wanted to build.

King David’s Heart

I believe it was David’s desire to honour God that led to the Davidic Covenant following. For many believers, we have instances of guilt in forgetting God when we are having a great time, especially in a place of rest and comfort. Yet for King David, in his greatest rest and comfort, he thought of God. David was willing to get up from his place of rest and comfort to work on building a house for God, as much as God did not need or desire it. God never once stopped David from doing it. In fact He allowed David to do it. God commanded that David will not be the one who built the temple but his son Solomon due to the blood shed in his life as a man of battle. David did all the preparation needed to build the temple in his lifetime.

Stage for the Davidic Covenant

I wondered why the David Covenant was given when David was enjoying success and rest.  Would it not be a greater encouragement and motivation to David if the David Covenant was made at the point when he was first anointed king as a forgotten little shepherd boy? Or perhaps when he got his victory over Goliath? There were so many instances that if I was the storyteller will insert the covenant to give a boost this young man in all the circumstances and situations he encountered. The key is this – David made it through without the Davidic Covenant. He made it through without any promise of “greater things”. His focus was on God and His purposes. This intimacy with God carried him through all the tumultous challenges that most of us probably will never experience. He did not need the covenant and promises to succeed. God was the greatest thing for David.

It will be presumptuous of me to speculate that if King David did not remember God and offer to build Him a house, the Davidic Covenant will not be given. Yet, the heart of David made it impossible for me to consider him forgetting God in his time of rest and comfort. I believe that it was because God was above anything in this world that the Davidic Covenant was made.

The Davidic Covenant was not given as an encouragement or motivation to David. It was not given as a reward for David’s heart for God since God was his reward. As I discuss the Davidic Covenant further, these points will be driven deeper. So come journey with me on this. Feel free to leave your thoughts below and I am happy to engage in discussion as I am still learning and seeking understanding.

P.S. I will try and post weekly on the Davidic Covenant until what I have learnt is shared here. I am convicted that this is something I need to discipline myself to work on and share for this season. =)

The Davidic Covenant Series:

Arise and Shine

I do not like to teach. It is not because I do not want to share what I know, on the contrary I want the persons to learn it well and good. I feel inadequate to teach, the sense that I am never good enough. Let another who teaches better do it so that more people will benefit rather than me being the hindrance to their learning.

For many years, Rev Dr John Tay has been persuading me to teach at his Biblical Studies classes. I used to teach the class in 2005 but it was a really small class of five people. Early this year, he asked me again. I know I cannot run away anymore. Not from Rev Dr John Tay, but from God. So I agreed, and with the teaching it also includes writing books which are materials for the Biblical Studies program. Last Tuesday (26 March 2013) I sat in to refresh my experience of the class since it was almost a decade since I was last in his Biblical Studies class. I was INTIMIDATED! There were almost 30 students and most of them are much older than me, and I can tell that quite a number of them are leaders in their respective churches. Who am I to teach them the Word of God? I probably should be learning from them instead! Rev Dr John Tay is a well-respected man of God who has spent years in studying the Word of God and pastoring his church. People are here to be taught by him and definitely not me! I felt smaller than a mustard seed… Next thing I know, Rev Dr John Tay will be away next Tuesday and asked me to co-teach with another lady. My heart was in my stomach.

Sunday Service on 31 March 2013, my pastor read Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you” and said this is for me and Ben. Timely reminder for me for this upcoming teaching.

Monday night, 1 April 2013, was tough. I did not sleep well at all, freaking out! The next day, the actual day, was even more challenging. To take my mind off, I met up with Christina, had some food, walked around a little, and sat down to run through 1 Corinthians 3-4, which are the chapters to be covered for the class that evening. When it was time for me to leave for the Singapore Bible House where the class is held, I was dragging my feet. Christina decided to send me to the Bible House and got me chocolates! Along the way, she clocked a $11 fine as she forgot to insert her cashcard when passing through ERP (a road toll). =| O God please let her appeal get through and the fine be waived! Thank God for sisters-in-Christ who made sure I get to where I need to be regardless!

Kit Kat Pressie

Dr Susan taught 1 Corinthians 3 while I was to teach on the following chapter and also on essay writing (their first assignment for this term!). I love Dr Susan’s insights and enjoyed her teaching, and I was secretly wishing that she will continue and finish the class!! When she passed the mic over to me, I was trembling inside but still trying to look composed. Something like a duck looking calm above the waters but the legs frantically peddling beneath the waters! One of the students suggested that we should have a round of brief introduction of the class and so I did that. It definitely lightened the atmosphere and made it a lot easier for me to start although I was acutely aware by then that almost a third of the class are retirees with a missionary and pastor on sabbatical.  I do not know if the class can hear the quiver in my voice but I was shaking inside! I faithfully went through what I felt I needed to cover and the class ended. God knows that I needed affirmation and encouragement. Quite a few of the students, some very senior, came and thanked me and said the class was helpful to them. All I needed to know is that I did not confuse them or make their learning even more difficult!!! So those feedback are more than I asked for!

Thank God for friends who prayed for me and did not dismiss my irrational fears. The second class is still not going to be easy but I choose to believe that it will get easier as I learn to trust God more in this. That He is the one who puts the words in my mouth and not me. Praise be to God!