We are continuing our sprint through the Old Testament. This week we were looking at how the role of the human king came to be and how it has played out into the New Testament.
God was the rightful King of the world – he created it as King and then allowed us to reign on His behalf (Genesis 1&2). However when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they abused their freedom and effectively rejected God’s kingship.
God continued to give His people opportunities to view Him as King. But they frequently would look the other way and continue searching for something beyond God. The people consistently chose to move away from God and the direction he had laid out for them.
We get a snapshot of what they were thinking in the book of Judges (17:6 and 21:25):
“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”.
This is not only a statement of Israel’s ignorance to God’s laws, but it also suggests a solution – Israel needed a king or so they thought.
In 1 Samuel 8, we read how this transition happened.
Samuel warned them of what would happen if they had an earthly king, but they people still wanted it. So God granted their request.
At first we see Saul as king, but he was less than ideal (as the Israelites were warned of). When God rejected Saul as king, He called Samuel to anoint David, a shepherd, as the next king. The concept of anointing is important. The king of Israel would literally be anointed with oil, and then he would be known as “the Lord’s anointed”, an idea that is complete in Jesus.
David eventually became the earthly king through whom God would relate to His people as the heavenly King. David was far from perfect, but the Bible describes him as a “man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14), and he set the ideal for what the king of Israel should look like.
In 2 Samuel 7, God makes a covenant with David. This covenant built upon the covenants that God made with Abraham and with Moses. It also expanded these covenants and made promises that find their perfect fulfillment in Jesus.
What God did through David as the king of Israel is a picture that reflects what He had been doing through His people from the time He formed them. But it also points forward to what God would do through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The prophets speak about this coming King that would restore the world to what it was intended to be.
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
“For the time is coming,”
says the Lord,
“when I will raise up a righteous descendant
from King David’s line.
He will be a King who rules with wisdom.
He will do what is just and right throughout the land.
And this will be his name:
‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’
In that day Judah will be saved,
and Israel will live in safety.
And I will set over them one shepherd, my servant David. He will feed them and be a shepherd to them. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David will be a prince among my people. I, the Lord, have spoken!
“In that day I will restore the fallen house of David.
I will repair its damaged walls.
From the ruins I will rebuild it
and restore its former glory.
And Israel will possess what is left of Edom
and all the nations I have called to be mine.”
The Lord has spoken,
and he will do these things.
But afterward the people will return and devote themselves to the Lord their God and to David’s descendant, their king. In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness.
God’s future for Israel was very much tied to the concept of Israel as a kingdom under the reign of the Lord’s Anointed, who would mediate God’s sovereign rule.
After the reign of King David, Israel had a disappointing line of kings. Eventually the kingdom of Israel grew so wicked that God sent them away from the Promised Land and into exile. Once Israel lost the kingdom, their national identity was at stake. They desperately wanted to regain the kingdom. But not until the arrival of Jesus would this become a reality.
Jesus came onto the scene preaching the “gospel of God”, saying “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15).
This is an incredibly exciting proclamation in the light of Israel’s history as a kingdom! The kingdom has finally come – the good news that Jesus was preaching was that the kingdom of God had once again returned and Jesus was there to rule as God’s anointed! In fact, from the moment Jesus’ birth was announced, it was clear that He was the coming King, the Ruler from the line of David who would bring the perfect kingdom of God to earth.
Luke 1:31-33 – “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
The term Christ is a title, not a last name. It is actually the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah” or “Anointed One”. When Jesus walked onto the scene, He came as the anointed King of Israel. His role is to mediate the sovereign reign of God over His earth and His people.
That is the same King we worship today, who has brought and is bringing perfect fulfillment to the covenants made to Abraham, Moses and David.
(for more information on the Kingdom – see the Multiply Material)