“My steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever” (vv. 15–16)
– 2 Samuel 7:1-17
God’s covenant of grace, the solution to our having violated His covenant of works with Adam, is progressively unfolded in Scripture through a number of subcovenants that reveal different aspects of the Lord’s gracious dealings with His people. The final subcovenant before the consummation of the covenant of grace in the new covenant is the Davidic covenant, which is first described in 2 Samuel 7:1–17.
Divine grace is revealed in God’s covenant with David both in His establishment and in His maintenance of David’s kingly line. First, 2 Samuel 7:8 refers to how our Creator chose David to be king, taking him from being a simple shepherd and making him the ruler over Israel. The reference here is to the history recounted in 1 Samuel 16:1–13, wherein we read of Samuel’s anointing David to succeed Saul as Israel’s king. We see God’s grace operating in this account, for David was chosen not for any outward kingly qualities or political expertise, but because his heart was devoted to the Lord (v. 7). Of course, in the final analysis, that David had a heart for God was the Lord’s doing. No less than any other sinner, David was born with a deceitful heart and had a heart to serve the Creator only because God gave David a new heart to love Him (Jer. 17:9; Ezek. 36:25–27).
We also see divine grace in operation in God’s kingly covenant with David in the Lord’s pledge to maintain the Davidic throne. God did not persist in loving Saul in a manner that would have kept Israel’s throne in Saul’s family, but the Lord pledged in the Davidic covenant never to remove His love from David’s line (2 Sam. 7:15–16). This is an act of grace, for no ordinary descendant of David could merit the continuation of kingship. After all, in making a kingly covenant with David, the Lord told David that He would discipline David’s sons for their sin (v. 14). David’s line would suffer the consequences for its failures, but God would preserve the throne in David’s family nonetheless.
In ancient Israel, the king represented his people before God in a special way. When the king was obedient, Israel was blessed, but when he was disobedient, the nation suffered (Isa. 36–39). Ultimately, this paved the way for a unique son of David to bear the consequences of His people’s sins so that they could enjoy the blessings associated with His perfect obedience. This final Son of David is also the Son of God—Jesus Christ—who atoned for the sins of His people so that they could become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).
In addition to making His people righteous before God, Jesus, Son of David and Son of God, also restores to humanity the rule over creation originally given to us in creation (Gen. 1:26–28). Those who are in Christ by faith will reign with Him over the universe (2 Tim. 2:12). No matter our present vocation, we who are in Christ have a glorious destiny as corulers with Him over creation. Let us praise Him for showing us such grace
Passages for Further Study
(Source: Devotional by Ligonier Ministries — the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul)