Biblical Story Lesson Plans - The Davidic Covenant

God’s covenant with David, described in 2 Samuel 7, is relevant to us today. Among other things, it is a clear prophecy of the Messiah’s eternal rule. As we have traced the promised Offspring from Eve, to Abraham, and now to David, this should increase our confidence in the consistency and authority of Scripture. Additionally, David’s worshipful response to this promise is a model for how we should surrender to and worship this King Jesus.


We pick up this narrative in 2 Samuel 7. At this point, Israel inhabits the promised land and has had two kings, Saul as their first, and David as the current king. In this passage, we read about David’s desire to build a temple for God out of gratitude for what he has done for him.

When God hears this request, his response is surprising. Instead of letting David build a house for him, God promises to build David’s house, referring to his dynasty. In his response, God promises that the throne of David’s kingdom would continue forever.

What a promise! Like God’s covenant with Abraham, this is a one-way promise. God promises to correct and discipline David’s line when they rebel against him, but ultimately the promise of an everlasting kingdom could not be revoked.

In astonishment, David says “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” (2 Sam. 7:18). David couldn’t fathom why God would do so great a thing for him, but praises God for it. David prays that God would be magnified through Israel and his descendants; that the nations would look at Israel and know that their God is the One True God. From this point forward in David’s life, his psalms begin to be more and more prophetic, converging to Messiah to come.\autocite[2 Samuel 7:18-29]{MacLaren}

Theological Significance

Perhaps what is most astonishing about the covenant that God makes with David is that it is a one-way promise. Like God’s covenant with Abraham, this is a unilateral promise, meaning that the promise does not depend on David’s faithfulness to God, but only God’s faithfulness to him.

The promise could not depend on David’s obedience, because as we have seen with all Old Testament figures, our obedience isn’t perfect. David, a man after God’s own heart, still fell into deep sin when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband. Abraham, the model of faith, tried to fulfill God’s promise on his own by sleeping with his wife’s servant. The truth is, if God’s promises depend on the fragility of human obedience, they would be nullified almost immediately.

But God knows the brokenness of our hearts. He knows that we are prone to choose sin over him. And that’s why God’s promises to Eve, Abraham, and David, among others, are dependent on his faithfulness alone.

Two thousand years ago, God sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to live a perfect life on our behalf, perfectly faithful in every area where we have failed, to die the death that we deserve, and to rise from the grave victorious over sin, Satan, and death. Jesus is the offspring promised to Eve. He is the descendant who blesses every people group, promised to Abraham. And finally, he is the King of all kings, Lord of all lords, the descendant of David, who is presently sitting on his throne at the right hand of the Father, waiting until the day when he will return to judge humanity and gather his followers. “The establishing of his house, his throne, and his kingdom for ever, can be applied to no other than to Christ and his kingdom: David’s house and kingdom long since came to an end."\autocite[2 Samuel 7:4-17]{MatthewHenry}

The only right response is to bow your knee to this eternal, holy King who is so much greater than David. Jesus calls everyone, everywhere to turn from their sin and submit to his rule. And this command is good for us. When you let Jesus take his rightful place on the throne of your heart and mind, you will find that he is a good King. There is nothing better than to give up control of your life to this King, and in exchange, you will receive eternal life that starts now.

Links to this article