Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Promise of His Coming (5)

Turbulent times seem to be the norm for Israel's history. After Moses died, Joshua led the people into the promised land. In between some bright spots, there were some dark periods, increasing in length and depth. The judges were local saviours, men (and women) God raised up to save his people from an immediate threat, but the cycle continued - apostasy, threat, rescue, peace, apostasy (and so on...). Each of the judges point to their failings and flag the need for a great rescuer who will put an end to the cycle of violence.

As the book Judges ends, the refrain is loud and clear: 'In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.' (Judges 21:25). Samuel the prophet anoints Saul as king, and things are looking up, until Saul throws it away through disobedience.

David is anointed king, first of Judah and then of Israel, and the promises made to Abraham are coming together again. Israel is in the land; a time of peace is here; the nation is expanding; and God's blessing is being known. David expresses the wish to build a temple (or house) for God in his new capital city, Jerusalem, and it's in this context that the next great promise is made.

Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but 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. (2 Samuel 7:11-16)

Great David's greater son will have his throne established forever. In this passage, we see the two horizons of Bible prophecy - sometimes there is an immediate fulfillment, as well as a longer term, ultimate fulfillment. In the immediate term, we see in the following chapters how Solomon, David's son, is chosen to be king after him.

The ultimate fulfillment, however, is seen in the eternal king, Jesus, whose kingdom will never come to an end. When we apply these verses to Jesus, some get a bit jittery with that mention of 'when he commits iniquity', quickly remembering that Jesus was sinless, but it's helpful to remember the two horizons - Solomon was profoundly wicked as his heart was led astray by his wives' idols. Yet even as God punished Solomon, the kingdom of Judah (separate again from Israel) remained in David's line out of kindness to David and in fulfillment of this promise.

How amazing, therefore, to see that, despite personally sinless, nevertheless, the coming king bore the stripes of men for the sake of his subjects and by his stripes we are healed.

The coming king is the son of David, and his throne shall be established forever. Come, King Jesus.

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