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Author:Dr. Wes Bredenhof
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Congregation:Free Reformed Church of Launceston, Tasmania
 Tasmania, Australia
Preached At:Langley Canadian Reformed Church
 Langley, B.C.
Title:God Makes Rich Covenant Promises to His Servant David
Text:2 Samuel 7:8-17 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

Psalm 42:1,3,5
Psalm 25:3 (after the law)
Psalm 89:1,2
Psalm 132:1,2,6,7
Psalm 56:1,5
Augment Hymn 28 (Gloria Patri) or Hymn 6
* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

Beloved congregation of Christ,


We like to think of ourselves as people of the Book.  The Bible is our book and it’s everything for believers.  Then it’s also fitting that we reflect from time to time on how we read our Bibles and how we understand what we’re reading.  For instance, today we’ve come to this crucial passage of 2 Samuel 7 – the passage in which God makes his covenant with David.  As we read and study passages such as this, what kinds of questions should we be asking?  What should be our primary concern? 


Loved ones, that question has to be answered by taking into account the purpose of the Bible.  The Bible is there to reveal God to us.  The Bible has been given to unfold the mighty deeds and majesty of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We have the Scriptures so that we would know the gospel, so that we would know the person and work of Christ, be saved from our sin, and magnify the glory of God.


That’s the perspective we need as we deal with any Bible passage.  That’s the perspective we also need as we look at 2 Samuel 7.  What does this passage reveal to us about God?  How does this passage speak to us of Christ and the gospel?  Those are the questions we want to answer this morning as we see God making rich covenant promises to his servant David.  That’s our theme and we’ll consider:


1.      The content of these promises

2.      The enjoyment of these promises

3.      The fulfillment of these promises


In 2 Samuel 5 we read of David’s enthronement over all Israel.  In chapter 6, David brings the ark of God to Jerusalem, signifying the consolidation of his kingdom and the firm establishment of Jerusalem as the political and religious capital.  As we come to chapter 7, David’s kingdom is secure.  At last there’s peace – no more enemies threaten the nation or the throne. 


David has time to think and he notices that the ark of God is still in the Tabernacle.  Remember, the ark of God is where the presence of God dwelt among Israel in a special way.  So, David was saying, “I have my fine palace of cedar wood, but God is still living in a tent.  This has to be fixed.”  Nathan the prophet hears this and tells David to go ahead and do whatever he thinks he should and he can do it with God’s blessing.  But it turns out that Nathan spoke too soon. 


In the night, Yahweh comes to Nathan with a revelation.  Perhaps it took place in a dream or a vision, perhaps Nathan directly heard God’s voice.  The text is not clear on the means.  But the text is clear on the message.  God tells Nathan to go to David and put the brakes on the temple building plans.  God does not want David to build him a house.  Instead, what God wants is something far greater and far more jaw-dropping.


Basically, it boils down to one word:  grace.  God tells David to look back at what has been done.  Look at the grace that has been received and experienced in the past.  David experienced God’s grace when God chose him to be king.  David witnessed God’s grace when God went with him in everything.  And David tasted God’s grace when God took all his enemies out of the way:  Goliath, Saul, the Philistines, every single one.  God kept his promises in times past.  He can be trusted.  You can depend on him and on his grace.  That holds true even more for us as we’ve seen God’s gracious activity in history and in our own lives – God has always been there and always working, always showering grace upon grace.  Because of Christ and because of the gospel promises, he never lets his people down.


David has experienced God’s grace in the past and now God promises him more grace in the future.  In verses 9-11, Yahweh (the LORD) outlines what that will look like.  First of all, he says that David will be given a great name.  David’s name will go down in history, never to be forgotten.  David will be given rest from all his enemies; God promises peace.  David wanted to make a house for the LORD, but God comes and says, “Forget it, I will make a house for you.”  In other words, “David, sit down and know that I am God.  You should know that I am the God of grace – I don’t need anything from you.  Instead, I want to bless you.  I want to pour out blessing on you and on your family for future generations.” 


And ultimately, this blessing upon David is not for David’s own sake, but for the sake of the people of Israel.  God wants to bless David and his line because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Because God wants to establish his people and provide a place of peace, security and safety for them.  God’s eye is not just on David, but also on Abraham’s descendants, the children of Israel.


This promised reign of David’s line that we find in verses 11 to 16 is to be lengthy.  In fact, the one word that gets repeated several times here is “forever.”  God’s promise to David about the throne of his kingdom is indefectible – it cannot fail, nothing can stand in its way.  It will inevitably be fulfilled.  Death cannot invalidate it, sin cannot destroy it, and time will not exhaust it.  In verse 12, the LORD speaks of David’s death – his death cannot invalidate what is promised – God will keep on going with David’s offspring and by the way, this offspring will be the one to build a temple.  In verses 14 and 15, God says that sin will not destroy the promise.  There will be consequences to sin, but sin will not take away God’s love.  There will not be a repeat of what happened with Saul.  Then in verse 16, God underlines all of this by repeating that David’s house, kingdom, and throne will last forever.  Note the repetition there – that’s the same as putting all of this in 20 pt font, bold, underlined, italics, all caps, whatever other means you can imagine for emphasis.  THIS KINGDOM IS FOREVER!! 


So there you have the content of God’s promises to David.  It’s important to note that these promises are spoken of elsewhere in Scripture as being God’s covenant with David.  For instance, we see that in Psalm 89, which we sang a few moments ago.  It’s also in Psalm 132 which we’ll sing after the sermon.  This covenant with David builds on the covenant of grace established with Abraham.  This covenant with David in turn is the foundation for the covenant of grace that we find ourselves in today.  In this covenant of grace, God is everything, God’s promises are everything, God’s promises are rich.  In the covenant of grace established with believers and their children, God promises himself and his love to us.  In the covenant of grace, we are as rich as David and even more so because we know Christ.  Because of him, we can be assured of God’s never-failing mercy and grace.  Brothers and sisters, it’s important that we see God revealed in this passage – he is the covenant God of constant, never-ending grace and mercy.  He was that way for David and he will continue to be that way for us.


In God’s covenant with David, as in God’s covenant of grace today, there are rich promises.  But then we ought also to ask the question:  how can those promises be received and enjoyed?  The answer here is simple.  It was simple for David and it remains simple for us.  Believe God.  Rest and trust in those promises.  For David that meant believing that God would carry through, as he had done in times past.  For David, that meant believing that God would send the Messiah to crush the head of the serpent, that he would fulfill the promises made to the patriarchs.  For us, that means resting and trusting in Jesus Christ as our only Saviour.  Loved ones, be sure that you are continuing to fix your eyes on him.  As believers do that, in ages past and present, there are two other truths that our passage puts before us.  Both of them are found in verse 14. 


The first is “I will be his father, and he will be my son.”  In the Davidic covenant, God promised to be a father to David’s offspring.  He promised a relationship of peace and fellowship.  A relationship of love and communion.  In the covenant of grace today, that promise remains.  In Romans 8, the apostle Paul reminds us that we are sons of God.  And in Galatians 4:6-7 he writes, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out ‘Abba, Father.’  So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.”  We are heirs of eternal life and of the kingdom of God!  Through the covenant of grace, through the gospel, we know and believe, we rest in the fact that God is our Father who lavishes us with a rich inheritance.      


The second truth we need to see is also found in verse 14, “When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.”  This still has everything to do with faith and trust in God.  Unbelief is what produces sin in our lives.  None of us lives consistently with our faith fixed on Jesus Christ.  This is why the man in Mark 9:24 cried out, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”  If we could constantly look to Christ and depend on him, if we could consistently have our faith focussed on him, we would never sin.  Similarly, when someone lives in sin, unrepentantly going their own way and doing their own thing, this is not first of all a matter of ethics, rather it is a matter of faith.  When we are believing in God and in Christ, our lives will inevitably bear the fruit of that.  While sin still occurs in the lives of believers and we are yet sinners, no one who truly believes in Christ will unrepentantly live in sin.  Believers do not live in sin, rather they hate it and fight against it. 


It was that way also for David and his descendants.  If David and his descendants were not looking to God and trusting his promises, they would end up doing wrong.  But God promised not to remove his love from them.  Like he did with Adam in the garden, he promised to go after them, convict them and discipline them.  The goal of this discipline is not punishment for the sake of punishment, retribution or payback time, but rather to bring back the wayward child.  God the Father wants his child to live in fellowship with him, not to go his own way and do his own thing to his own destruction.  And so, God promises tough love if the need arises.


And that will not be easy.  When that tough love comes down the pike, the covenant doesn’t feel like a covenant of grace.  The blessings of the covenant are not being enjoyed.  But the reason why God employs tough love is so that sinners will come to enjoy the blessings of the covenant!  God uses chastisement and discipline, also the discipline of the church, so that we may live in fellowship with him, enjoy him, and glorify him.  What’s described here in 2 Samuel 7:14 is not about God losing his top and lashing out at David’s descendants, but about an act of love.  And that’s why God adds, “But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.” 


In this life, God’s patience with his covenant people is virtually limitless.  But ultimately there is a limit.  One cannot presume upon God’s patience and mercy.  It is possible for a person born into the covenant of grace to reject God’s promises, warnings and chastisements, to reject Christ, to reject the gospel, to be hardened in unbelief, to live in sin.  Scripture gives powerful and pointed warnings to us about all that.  We find some of those in the New Testament in the letter to the Hebrews.  For instance, Hebrews 3:12, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  And Hebrews 10:28-31, “Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge, I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”


Indeed, it is a dreadful thing to spurn the covenant of grace.  Beloved brothers and sisters, heed the warnings of Scripture.  I urge you again, look in faith to Christ and through him you can be confident that you will enjoy all the blessings of the covenant of grace.  Hear what God says in Hebrews 3:1, “Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.”


Nathan reported the promises to David and you can see from the rest of the chapter that David believed those promises.  David accepted God’s Word in faith.  He trusted that God would do all that he said.  He believed that God would give a kingdom to his family.


Now God had promised that the kingdom would be an eternal kingdom.  However, as we look through the Old Testament we discover that the Davidic dynasty lasted four hundred years.  For over four hundred years, one of David’s descendants ruled over Israel and/or Judah.  Four hundred years is nothing to shake a stick at, but it still falls short of eternity and forever.  So, when it comes to the fulfillment of God’s promises here, was there a failure?


To answer that question, we need to look to the New Testament and what it reveals about the great Son of David.  In Acts 13, Paul preached in Pisidian Antioch and he explained that the promises of 2 Samuel 7 about David’s family were really about Jesus Christ.  The author of Hebrews quotes verse 14 in Hebrews 1:5 and he applies it directly to Jesus Christ, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.”  Hebrews says that God was speaking prophetically about Christ.  And in Luke 1:32, when the angel appears to Mary, he says that the child to be born “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.” 


Jesus Christ came from the line of David.  God established the kingdom of Christ.  Solomon may have built the temple in Jerusalem, but Christ himself was and is the temple of God.  In him all the fullness of God dwells in bodily form.  Christ is also the one who sends his Spirit to dwell in us so that Scripture describes us as being the temple of the Holy Spirit.  We are those who are being built into a spiritual house.  Christ is the one who gathers, defends and preserves his Church – and the church is also described in the New Testament as being the temple of God, the house of God.  Christ is building a house for God’s name here in this particular church.  Christ will rule forever – he is an eternal king who cannot be without subjects.


The Lord Jesus did no wrong and required no discipline or chastisement from the Father.  He was perfectly obedient to God and through his obedience, our place in the covenant of grace is secure.  We look to Christ and we hear God saying in the New Testament, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11).  We hear God saying that to Christ and to all those who are in Christ, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.  I will never take my love away from you.”  We can know for certain that God’s love endures forever and that in Christ we have the promise of an everlasting kingdom.            


Loved ones, God’s promises to David were fulfilled most beautifully and perfectly in the Lord Jesus.  And it’s to him that the Holy Spirit is pointing us in this passage.  The Holy Spirit is pointing us to God’s love in Christ, to the gospel.  So, what is God telling us to do in this text?  Simply this:  believe his Word, trust him and his love and grace, acknowledge him as your faithful Father, be impressed with his gracious deeds in times gone by and anticipate more of his grace in times to come.  In other words, brothers and sisters, here is your God revealed in grace, glory and majesty.  Entrust yourself to him.


Let us pray: 


God of grace, mercy and love,


Who are we O Sovereign Lord that you have brought us this far?    How great you are, O Sovereign Lord!  There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.  And who is like your people – the people that you went out to redeem for yourself through Christ, to glorify your name, to perform great and awesome wonders?  You have established your church as your very own forever, and you, O Lord, have become our God.  And now, Lord God, we ask you to keep forever the promises you have made to us and to our children.  Please do as you have promised, so that your name will be great forever.  Help us to love you and trust your Word.  Help us with your Spirit to believe the gospel and look to Christ.  We pray in his Name, AMEN. 

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Dr. Wes Bredenhof, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

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