Friday, October 4, 2013

Only Son (part 19)

Calling to mind the story of Abraham, and particularly the covenant and its purpose, not only brings to mind the failure of Adam, but also the story of Israel, along with its covenant and its purpose.  So with the simple use of a phrase such as “sand on the seashore,” Solomon (and his mission as the king over the Creator God’s chosen people) is intimately linked with Adam (son of God) and Israel (son of God), This link fostered by a reference to the Abrahamic covenant, which stands as the bridge between Adam and Israel, thus making sense of the covenant God referring to Solomon as His son.  If the author of the first book of the Kings is doing this, then one can reasonably suppose that Jesus is doing the same type of thing. 

Based on what one can go on to read about during the reign of Solomon, it will become apparent that Israel, during part of this time (and perhaps only during this time), is finally fulfilling its purpose of being a blessing to the nations.  It is during this period that Israel can be understood to be reflecting the glory of their God into the world, and causing all nations to seek the God of Israel because of the immense blessings that are being poured out on the nation in what it is suggested is an obvious way.  Israel under Solomon---presumably because the Creator God has gifted Solomon (upon his request) with “the ability to make wise judicial decisions” (3:11), so as to “distinguish right from wrong” (3:9) on behalf of the Creator God’s people---was approaching that which the Creator had intended for Adam, as well as what He had intended for Israel when they were called out of Egypt. 

Adam’s charge, of course, had been to secure the Creator God’s ongoing blessings for the whole of creation, with this charge also being reflected in the covenant with Abraham.  Israel’s charge had been to be and to do for their promised land what Adam was supposed to have been and done for the whole world.  Faithfulness to this charge would cause their God to enter in, and through Israel, extend His blessings to the whole of the world, as nations would look to Israel and subsequently to its God. 

It would be understood that this was occurring for Israel in the light of their knowledge of that which is reflected in records of the Levitical and Deuteronomic covenants.  So when one reads that “they had plenty to eat and drink and were happy” (1 Kings 4:20b), that “Solomon ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt” (4:21a), that “these kingdoms paid tribute as Solomon’s subjects throughout his lifetime” (4:21b), and that kings and queens would come to Solomon (as representatives of the people that they ruled), these things are to be considered from within a state of reflection on the promised blessings of Leviticus twenty-six and Deuteronomy twenty-eight, with its blessings upon produce and livestock and the promise that “the peoples of the earth will see that you belong to the Lord, and they will respect you” (28:10).       

In addition, something to consider is the respective roles of Adam, of Israel, and of Solomon.  All three are referred to as the son of God, and all three are given a charge in relation to the dwelling place of the Creator God.  Adam was charged with being the Creator God’s representative throughout the whole of the creation.  If he was to properly perform in this role, the glory of his God would fill the whole of the world.  Adam failed.  Israel was then charged with being the representative of the Creator God in the land that had been promised to Abraham.  Their God is reported to have said that He desired to dwell among His people, and would do so as long as they obeyed Him and fulfilled the basic requirements of their covenant obligation.  Israel would fail at this from almost the very beginning.  Solomon was charged with building a Temple in Jerusalem that would be a dwelling place for the God of Israel.  While the Temple was constructed, and while the Lord is indeed said to have filled the Temple with His glory, in the end, though there was a time of great prosperity and blessing for Israel during his reign, Solomon would fail, falling to idolatry. 

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