Thursday, October 3, 2013

Only Son (part 18)

More evidence that Israel wanted a king like Solomon---though they did generally believe that (because they didn’t truly remember the way that their God wrought their Egyptian exodus, though it was constantly referenced as was the ground for their self-understanding as God’s chosen people) before they could have such a king, who could enjoy such a rule, they would first have to see a warrior-king like David---was that when a portion of that people were said to have hailed their messiah-king, they did so when Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on “a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21:5b).  According to Israel’s historical narrative, when Solomon was appointed to the kingship by David and anointed as king over the covenant people, he would come to the place of coronation by riding on his father’s mule (1 Kings 1:38).    

When it comes to Solomon, the Creator God reportedly speaks to King David about his dynasty and about his own son, saying “I will become his Father and he will become My son.  When he sins, I will correct him with the rod of men and with wounds inflicted by human beings.  But My loyal love will not be removed from him” (2 Samuel 7:14-15a).  This is joyous, ominous, and reassuring; and yet again, with these words, Israel’s God, the same one that is being referenced by Jesus when He says “For this is the way God loved the world,” speaks of His son.  It is understood that this reference is to Solomon, because before the words of verse fourteen and fifteen, one can find it said that “He will build a house for My name, and I will make his dynasty permanent” (7:13).  Solomon, of course, would build the Temple in Jerusalem, as a glorious house to represent the God of Israel (the God that built the creation itself as His own glorious temple). 

When one is to consider what it means for Solomon to be considered as a son of God, this must be done in the context of the Creator God’s intended role for Israel in the world (as the firstborn son of God), and that role as connected to the Abrahamic and Deuteronomic covenants.  As Solomon is firmly entrenched on the throne of Israel, the record insists that “The people of Judah and Israel were as innumerable as the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:20a).  A few verses beyond that, it is said that “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment; the breadth of his understanding was as infinite as the sand on the seashore” (4:29).  This is quite telling.  It tells the observer that the Creator God is blessing Israel. 

Of course, with these words, the author is connecting the prosperous blessings being enjoyed by the Creator God’s people under the rule of Solomon with the covenant promises that had been given to Abraham.  In Genesis, the covenant God informed Abraham, following His own intervention to spare the life of Isaac, that “I will indeed bless you, and I will greatly multiply your descendants so that they will be as countless as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand on the seashore” (22:17a).  There, the Creator God is said to have gone on to say “Because you have obeyed Me, all the nations of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another using the name of your descendants” (22:18).    

As the author alludes to the promise to Abraham by his statement concerning “sand on the seashore,” he is not attempting to call to mind just one particular story from Abraham’s life, but rather, the whole of the story of Abraham.  The story of Abraham, naturally, is resolutely fastened to the story of creation and of the whole of the world, as the initial call of the Creator God to Abraham has Him speaking of all nations, along with Abraham’s exemplification of divine blessing (Genesis 12:1-3).  From the outset, the implication is that through Abraham and his descendants that the Creator God is going to accomplish the restoration of the world, in order to fulfill that at which Adam failed.  

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