The Promises to David

Volume 7, No. 2
"Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." (Isaiah 55:3)

The Promises to David

Depending on our own circumstances, we may have any number of impressions about David, the famous King of Israel, who ruled around 1000 BC. We might remember him as a youthful shepherd, keeping his father's flocks or playing his harp. Some remember his great victory over the giant Goliath, with only a sling and a small stone.

Others remember the story of David and Bathsheba and consider God's mercy to David as an indication of their own hope for the forgiveness of sin.

David was a mighty warrior and a great king. He was said to be a man after God's own heart, and we can appreciate many of his thoughts as we read the inspired Psalms. There were many significant events in the life of this servant of God who was chosen for great honor. David was a descendant of Abraham, and was certainly familiar with the promises that Abraham received, that all nations would be blessed in his seed. (Gal. 3: 8, 16) David was to receive his own promises that would be fulfilled in Christ, the descendant of both Abraham and David.

The Throne of the Kingdom

Through Abraham, the land of promise was established and through David, the throne of the Kingdom would be identified. As David sat on the throne of the Lord in Jerusalem, desiring to build a temple for God, he was promised that he would have a descendent. This future son would build a house for God's name, and the throne of the Kingdom would be established forever, before David. (2 Sam 7:12-16)

David understood the far reaching implications of this promise. Not only would his descendant, Christ, establish the throne of the Kingdom in Jerusalem forever, but David (through the power of the resurrection) would live again to see this. We still look forward to the return of Christ to "restore again the kingdom to Israel" and establish it forever, in fulfillment of these great and precious promises to David. (Luke 1:32-33)

"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
(Luke 1:32-33)

Jesus, the son of David

When the angel appeared to the virgin Mary, to tell her that she would have a child, he verified that this son would be the long awaited descendant of David, the son that would fulfill all of the promises. (See the account in Luke 1: 26-35.)

Luke links the promises made to David (in 2 Samuel 7) with the birth of Christ showing that he would be the descendant that would fulfill these promises. In verse 35 of Luke 1, Mary is told, "also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

Jesus was a unique and special individual. He was the son of David, through his mother Mary, and he was also the son of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans, speaks of the relationship of Jesus to both David and to God.

"Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." . (Romans 1:3-4)

Jesus came in the Flesh

It is important to remember that Jesus was of a representative of the fallen human race. He was first a "partaker of flesh and blood" so he could redeem men from death, before he could be officially declared to be the son of God with power. ( Hebrews 2:14; 1 Tim 2:5)

It is in this man Jesus that we truly understand the blessing that was promised to Abraham and the "sure mercies of David." In addition to his role in establishing the promised land and the throne of the Kingdom, Jesus had a much greater mission. There was another Bible promise, made long before Abraham and David were born.

In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were beguiled by the serpent and they sinned. In the sentencing of the serpent, a promise was made for the future destruction of the sin and death that the serpent had fathered.

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15)

This is the first significant promise of Christ in the Bible. Christ would be the descendant of the woman that would bruise the head of the serpent, who introduced sin and death into the world. (See Hebrews 2:14) Christ was bruised on the heel by sin as a perfect sacrifice, after a life of obedience. He made victory over death possible, and opened the door for the forgiveness of our sins and the hope of eternal life. "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:8)

"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered."
(Romans 4: 6-7)

The Sure Mercies of Abraham and David.

Abraham and David were both given great promises from God. Some of these involved physical aspects, such as the land and the throne of the Kingdom. There was also another very important promise, that people from all nations would have an opportunity to be blessed through Christ, the promised son. (Gal. 3:8)

The connection between this promised blessing and the forgiveness of sin (made possible through the sacrifice of Christ) is seen in the following reference from Acts 3:

"Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities." (Acts 3:25-26)

Faith, the Key to these Blessings

The forgiveness of our sins, in and through the sacrifice of Christ, is a great blessing. We learn from a review of Abraham's life, as quoted in Romans 4, that Abraham believed God when He made these special promises to him. His faith was very strong and he endured patiently for many years before having a son, Isaac, through whom the line of descendants leading to Christ would be born.

"For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Rom. 4:3)

David is also quoted in this same chapter in Romans. He speaks about this same blessing.

"Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works," (Rom 4:6)

Faith and Works

There has been much confusion about the relationship between faith and works. The proper balance is explained by James, speaking also about Abraham. "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?" (James 2: 20-22)

Through our faith, made perfect by our obedience and the bearing of fruit, we may have a part among those out of all nations that will be blessed through Abraham and David's son, Jesus the Christ. That blessing will involve the forgiveness of our sins, and hopefully, through God's grace, eternal life in God's coming Kingdom on the earth. It will be like the blessing of rain to a thirsty land, "As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." (Psalms 133:3)

"He shall build an house for my name, and
I will stablish the throne of his kingdom
for ever." (2 Sam. 7:13)

The House of God

The promises that were made to David are recorded in 2 Samuel. David had wanted to build a house (temple) for God in Jerusalem, but was not allowed to do this. We learn (in the verse quoted at the top) about this house that would be built by David's descendant.

David's son, Solomon, in partial fulfillment of these promises, actually built a magnificent temple for the Lord. It would be a house of worship for God's people, a meeting place between God and Israel, a place for them to bring their offerings, replacing the tabernacle in the wilderness that originally served as their tent of meeting

But Solomon knew that this temple was only a foretaste of the real object of the promises to David. He wisely stated, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?" (1 Kings 8:27)

It would not be Solomon who would ultimately fulfill the promise. Jesus, the greater son of David, the true descendant, would build a spiritual house for God to dwell in. Jesus would fulfill every aspect of the promise, ruling and reigning as "King of Kings" on the throne of the Lord in Jerusalem, in the future kingdom age. (Micah 4: 1-4)

Jesus would also be the chief cornerstone in a spiritual temple, a household of God's people. They would become the real temple or meeting place between God and man in the future. This spiritual temple is described in Paul's letter to the Ephesians:

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." (Eph. 2: 19-22)