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Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it, one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. Here at “Word For Life Says,” I want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons and my personal summary notes that I use when teaching. May God bless you!
“God’s Covenant with David”
2 Samuel 7:1-16
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Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2013 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original tounless properly quoted/cited. I am glad you like to read my personal summary notes that I use when teaching, but as always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well. Blessings!)
Even when wickedness prevailed amongst God’s people, God’s covenant with David would endure. Scripture unveils this promise in other areas outside of today’s lesson. For instance, 2 Chronicles 21:7 says, “Howbeit the LORD would not destroy the house of David, because of the covenant he had made with David, and as he promised to give a light to him and to his sons for ever.”
Promises. Although some say they are forever, others may disagree and say that nothing lasts forever. Yet God had a forever promise for this man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). It was a promise that would not fade with the passing of time or circumstance. Rather, it will surely come to pass in God’s own way and proper timing.
2 Samuel 7:1-3 “And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies; That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.”
After successfully winning the war against the Philistine army (2 Samuel 5:17-25). After successfully returning the Ark of the Covenant to its proper place of worship (2 Samuel 6:12-19), King David found himself and his land in a period of “rest round about from his enemies.”
God had granted him the victory over all opposing forces and now peace was the common language of the day. Where fear over foes used to prevail; now the spirit of serenity lay in the heart of this king and his people.
It’s not surprising at times like these, times and periods when one experiences a little respite from adversities when the heart grows contemplative and one just sits back and begins to think about many things concerning life and God.
It is during this time of settled serenity when King David gets an idea and speaks to “Nathan the prophet” about it. As his advisor, and probably friend and confidant, he would want to know his view on the matter at hand. Thus, he says to him, “See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.”
King David’s “house,” or palace, was a solid and permanent structure decorated in the finest the land had to offer. For the idea of using “cedar” spoke volumes about elegance seeing that these huge special trees were brought in from other lands by floating them on the river (see 1 Kings 5:9). Not only would there be the additional expense of getting them there, but his house had to be built by the skilled carpenters and masons sent by Hiram king of Tyre who was used to dealing with those materials (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Chronicles 14:1), thus incurring additional labor costs.
With all the lavished details and attention given to his own house, David believed if he lived like this then surely the place that housed the “ark of God” should be better than a dwelling “within curtains” (compare Exodus 26:1; 36:8).
In his heart, he wanted more for God. It didn’t seem right to him to be living in the lap of luxury while the place that represented the presence of God was far less grand.
Sharing his thoughts on the subject with Nathan, Nathan’s response was, “Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.” He gave King David the okay and supported his endeavor to build something better for God without consulting God.
Enthusiasm tends to get the best of us sometimes. It has been many of times when zeal for what sounds good overrides the good judgment of what should be. This same scenario is playing out here. Nathan’s enthusiastic response in advising King David to move forward with his plans only had one problem: he didn’t actually speak to the Lord about it. He offered David his approval thinking nothing was wrong with the plan and that God would automatically be okay with it.
2 Samuel 7:4-7 “And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?” (Although verse 7 is not in the normal printed text, I chose to add it here)
“That night” a different word other than Nathan’s advice came from “the LORD,” and His perspective on the matter of building a house for Him was totally different from theirs.
“Go and tell my servant David . . . Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?” Although David’s intentions were admirable and I’m sure good at the core, this question of God’s probes into an area David didn’t think about: How does God view the matter?
David and his man-made plan was a “no-go” with God. Proverbs 19:21 tells us, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the LORD will stand,” (NASB). God has the final say and approval over all, even over what may seem like a good idea to us.
If we look back into history at the actual preparing and building of the tabernacle we will see there were many chapters devoted to covering the extensive details that went into the building and furnishing of every part of it (see some references in Exodus 25-27; 30:1-10; 31:1-11; 35:4-29; 36:1-38:31; 40). This was not done on a whim nor just because it was a good idea for man to pursue, but it was an ordained, orchestrated effort commissioned by God, for the people to follow.
There was a lot of planning, but God was in the planning. David and Nathan left that part out – they left God out of the plan and God has something to say about that: “Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.”
God has always been with His people wherever they went. God has never been absent. From the time that He delivered them from “Egypt”, He has been a securing presence to them and for them, dwelling in their midst. In Leviticus 26:11-12 He says, “I will set my tabernacle among you . . . and I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.”
“Since that time . . . even to this day” the dwelling place of God has been in a “tent and in a tabernacle,” moving with them wherever they went. God, never once, in all their traveling and through all of the time, questioned them as to why He didn’t have a permanent structure of cedar like David’s house (compare with verse 7 above). Almost the same sentiment is expressed in Isaiah 66:1 where it says, “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?”
God doesn’t need a man-made plan to house Him. God is Creator of all. “Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?”
2 Samuel 7:8-11 “Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel: And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime, And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.” (Although verse 11 is not in the normal printed text, I chose to add it here).
A new message is to be given to “David.” God reminds David where He brought him from. David was the forgotten son when the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king, (1 Sam. 16:11). He was the one that all viewed as the least possible choice, by the standards of men, to be “ruler” over God’s people. Yet, God took him from being a follower of animals and lifted His head above all the people in the land. He took him from sitting on rocks out in the pasture to sitting on the throne in the palace.
With enemies subdued all around because God “was with thee withersoever thou wentest,” David reigns as Israel’s king. He is now the “ruler” over the flock of God instead of the flock of “sheep.” In His own timing, God exalts whom He chooses. In His timing, “He bringeth low, and lifteth up,” (1Sam. 2:7, see also Psalm 75:6-7 for God’s promotion). God advances the cause of His people. God raises up some and He puts down others. God’s people progress and move forward because of His leading and according to His perfect plan. David didn’t get to where he was because of his own abilities and ingenuity. He was where he was because of God!
He is the one that will cause David’s name to be “great.” Even in our modern day era, the name and legacy of King David is significant and carries tremendous weight and power. His reputation of being a “man after God’s own heart,” (Acts 13:22) was still spoken of in the New Testament, as well as today. God indeed fulfilled all that He spoke through Nathan the prophet about His “servant.”
“I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them.” God takes sole responsibility for His people and where He wants them in life. I love the words “I will.” God gets personally involved in the establishment and the elevation of them that are His. He is personally invested in His people. When God uses those words “I will” they become a sure foundation of promise upon which one can stand. Those words become a solid truth and reality unlike anything found in mankind. An “I will” with God means the performance of what He spoke shall surely come to pass.
The words “appoint” and “plant” gives the sense of being fixed and secured in this promise. Those resonate with one being right where God places them. Following through with His statement of “I will,” God promises that in His right timing He has a special place for His people. This will not be any kind of place, rather a place where they can feel protected and cared for by their heavenly Father; a place where they will be planted. When something is planted it has roots. Those roots feed, hold and secure the plant. God is in the makings of something permanent that will nourish the souls of His people forever.
From verse 11, not in the normal printed text of today’s lesson but very pivotal in what God was going to do, He speaks, “Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.” “You’re making Me a house, no I’m making you a house,” are the words that are expressed here. David desired to build a physical building that would house the Ark of the Covenant. But God had something greater in mind. In order for His people to find that permanent security that He promised in the previous verse, God was going beyond structures of brick and mortar. God was going for a holy legacy.
2 Samuel 7:12-16 “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”
David’s time on this earth would not last forever. He may be noted as being a “man after God’s own heart” but that heart is made of flesh just like the rest of him, and all flesh will perish in its time. But, when the time of David’s passing shall come he has been assured by God that his legacy will go on. David may leave the earth when he sleeps with his fathers but God is setting up something after him. David will leave the earth with a great promise that though he is gone, God is still not done with him and his family yet.
“I will set up thy seed after thee . . . I will establish his kingdom.” Here we see God using those words “I will” again. This is not something that David has to work to obtain. The promises of God are just that, promises. It’s something that God said He would do, and guess what, He will do it. “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good,” (Num. 23:19). God makes good on His promises. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God already knows His plans for His people and He will follow through with it. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD . . . to give you an expected end.” There is something special waiting for David “after thee.”
“He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.” David’s desire to build God a house was not wrong, but God was looking for a kingdom that would last forever. Solomon would come along and be the son that would undertake the building of the physical temple. But Christ would ultimately be the Son where God would “stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever,” through which the line of this rule would continue into eternity.
Acts 13:36 tells us, “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.” As did his son and his son’s sons, and so on. “But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption,” (Acts 13:37). Jesus is the one that was raised from the dead to rule forever on that “throne,” thereby establishing an eternal kingdom. Moving from His death and resurrection back to the time of His birth we see it was declared of Jesus, “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). From before the beginning to the end of His life Jesus was fulfilling the promise of this forever kingdom rule.
Through His covenant, God would maintain a special father-son relationship with the members of this family. In that role as Father, God has the responsibility to chastise a disobedient son. “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth,” (Prov. 3:12). “But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul.”
When Saul disobeyed God, God had to punish him. “Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king,” (1 Sam. 15:23b). His dynasty would not go any further. As a part of God’s covenant with David, the same fate would not befall his sons who disobeyed Him. Oh, they would be punished. God spoke to Solomon once because his heart had turned away from following God and said, “I will surely rend the kingdom from thee,” (1 Kings 11:11). But, because of this covenant, God also said, “Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake,” (1 Kings 11:13).
Through it all and throughout Israel’s history, God’s “mercy” was still at work and the line of David would perpetuate, thereby establishing and fulfilling the promised that “thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” God’s eternal covenant will remain in effect to bring forth what He promised to David.
After hearing all that God spoke through Nathan the prophet, David went before the Lord and humbly uttered these words: “Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord GOD; but thou hast spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant. For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things …,” (2 Sam. 7:18b-21a).
“Who am I, O God, that you would give me such a great and precious promise? But, You did! You made this plan according to Your heart. What more can I say?” was essentially the gist of his prayer at God’s awesome promise.
God promised it and God would fulfill it. God not only made the promised covenant but He painstakingly and patiently put His plan into play that would eventually usher in salvation to all mankind. Through this lesson, we see that God left no stone unturned about how the ins and outs of this plan would come into effect. God takes eternity seriously. His goal is to see as many as possible arrive into that eternal kingdom. That kingdom comes about on the breath of a promise; a covenant made with David but ultimately fulfilled through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Standard Print PDF: God’s Covenant with David Sunday School Lesson Summary Standard Print
Large Print PDF: God’s Covenant with David Sunday School Lesson Summary Large Print
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: God’s Covenant with David Draw the Scene
Memory Verse: God’s Covenant with David Memory Verse
Below are Activities/Links/Resources to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“A Promise God made to David” (I absolutely love this craft! It speaks directly to today’s lesson. Enjoy!)
“God’s Covenant with David” (With a printable faithfulness mobile craft. Enjoy!)
“Making a Jesse Tree” (A lot of printables for the tree. Easy!)
“Family Tree and Other Family Activities” (Activities like these are important because the promise that God gave to David in this lesson comes from his family. Enjoy!)
“Genealogy of Jesus Wheel” (This is great because it not only shows where the promise for Christ starts with David, but students can also put their own genealogy into it. Enjoy!)
“Create A Crown Craft” (An easy printable activity that lets students make and decorate their own crowns just like King David. Enjoy!)
“Sunday School Activities about God’s Covenants” (I particularly like the idea of Letters to God on this page. Have students write to God thanking Him for His promises. Enjoy!)