Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Highly Exalted Kingdom (part 1 of 2)

And David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel, and that his kingdom was highly exalted for the sake of his people Israel. – 1 Chronicles 14:2  (ESV)

There are many that insist that King David is set forth in the Hebrew Scriptures as a type of Christ, that is, a type of the promised Messiah for God’s people Israel.  This makes sense to a point, most specifically in light of the fact that Messianic expectations in the time of Jesus were inextricably linked to the re-establishment of a monarchy like that which was in place in Israel, under David.  Rather than to look to David individually, it is better to see that, like David, the Messiah would be established as king over Israel, that is, as king over a God-governed people that are consistently cognizant of their covenant responsibilities and act in and for the world according to that understanding. 

These God-governed people, those in a covenant of faithfulness with the Creator God based on allegiance to His principles and purposes, were to be the ones by whom God would exercise His dominion over the earth, extending the blessings of His covenant, through them as the subjects of His kingdom of heaven, to the families of the world and to all creation.  It can most assuredly be declared, in contemplation of the kingdom of the Messiah, that His kingdom was to be highly exalted for the sake of God’s covenant people.

The Scriptural witness seems to indicate that King David felt as though his kingdom had truly been established when the Ark of the Covenant had been brought into Jerusalem.  That is, when that which symbolized the presence of God was brought into the midst of the people of God.  It was on that day that “David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord” (1 Chronicles 16:7).  Do not such ideas force us to contemplate our Lord Jesus?  Because Jesus would prove Himself to be the long-awaited Messiah, deliverer, redeemer, and King of Israel, it can truly be said that the kingdom of God, the kingdom of His people, was established when the One that symbolized the presence of God, that indeed was “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3a), came to dwell in the midst of God’s people. 

In response to that, what was the song that was to be sung?  What song should we sing?  With David, we sing, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His Name; make known His deeds among the peoples!  Sing to Him; sing praises to Him; tell of all His wondrous works!  Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!  Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles and the judgments He uttered, O offspring of Israel His servant, sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!” (16:8-9, 11-13)  That sounds like a call to preach, in word and deed, the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of Him as King and Lord of all creation. 

Why sing such songs of praise?  Because doing so is a recognition of God’s covenant faithfulness, and His allowing them to participate in bringing to pass for His people all that He has promised.  Is that so?  Well, that’s what David thought, as he follows those first few lines by proclaiming that “He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth.  Remember His covenant forever, the word that He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant that He made with Abraham, His sworn promise to Isaac, which He confirmed as a statute to Jacob, as an everlasting covenant to Israel” (16:14-17).  It is in the midst of his kingdom being established that David demands a bringing to mind of God’s covenant.

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