King David and the Covenant
The covenant that God makes with David, also known as the Davidic Covenant, contains a series of promises to David and Israel, the most important being that the Messiah (of the New Testament) will come through the House of David. This is the promise of a Redeemer that the Jews were to look forward to and recognize by the signs, as given through the various prophets, such as Isaiah. God promises that the Messiah will establish a kingdom that will have no end, thus making a connection between the rule of David who is after God’s own heart to the reign of Christ the King who will rule over men’s hearts. God also describes how Solomon will come and build a House for the Lord while simultaneously conveying a deeper message about the Son of God: “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son,” says God to Nathan, who receives this message for David (2 Sam 7:14).
The covenant takes place in Jerusalem, where David wishes to build a temple for the ark. When God says that David’s son will be King, he is making a two-fold reference, to both Solomon and to Christ. The dwelling place of the Holy of Holies is to be both the tabernacle of the church of Christ, where Christ becomes bread and wine, and the temple that Solomon builds, which prefigures the Christian temple. David’s house has a spiritual significance that is matched in the physical by the temple that houses the ark. David’s house is Christ’s kingdom, a spiritual kingdom. Essentially and most importantly, however, the covenant is about the Messiah, though it addresses other key points as well, and it is unconditional in the sense that it is a display of God’s faithfulness and does not depend upon any action of His people. The Messiah will come because He has been promised and only He can redeem the people.
Some of the key points of the covenant as received by Nathan the prophet are that God wants to reaffirm that He has a special place in mind for His people, which He stated originally in the Abraham and Moses covenants, when He says, “I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed” (2 Sam 7:10). Another key point is that God assures Nathan that David will have a son who rules after him who will build the temple: “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 will build a house for my Name” (2 Sam 7:12-13). This key point transitions into a third, and most important key point, namely that the House of David will live forever because through it will come the Messiah, (2 Sam 7:13-14) who is called the Son of David in Matthew 21:9.
David was not a direct, bloodline descendent of the kings — but, rather, a spiritual descendent of Abraham, and in this sense he is a good prefiguring of Christ, who is a spiritual father to all (Johnson). And as Fulton Sheen notes, it is in this manner that Christ represents David, who was an obscure shepherd who rose to be King: Sheen observes that Joseph, the foster-father of Christ, was the “obscure descendant of the great King David” (15), so the literal connection between Christ and David is more importantly expressed in terms of humble origins and spiritual purity. This connection is equally important in laying the foundation for the signs for the Messiah’s coming because while the temple that Solomon builds is grand and magnificent, the Son of God is a Galilean –…