Hello there!!! We hope you enjoyed reading our last post as much as we enjoyed writing it. In the hope of the prophets, we mentioned that the long awaited messiah of Israel was going to come from the family of David. We also realized that although the nation of Israel waited for centuries, they missed the coming of Jesus.
Why was the family of David so important and why did the nation of Israel miss out on such a life changing moment? This is the focus of today’s post. Let’s jump right in.
In our first post in THE GOSPEL series, we looked at Abraham and how his family which eventually became the great nation of Israel fit into the story of the salvation of the entire world. Get all caught up here . After Israel rejected God’s reign over them as king and requested to have a king like the other nations, God granted their heart’s desire and gave them kings that ruled over them till they eventually went astray and ended up in exile ( we really must be careful what we ask for). Israel’s second King, David, stood out from amongst the pack. He was one who truly loved God and to the best of his abilities sought to please the Lord albeit he was not without flaws. God even describes him as a man after his own heart. He was a great warrior and an all-conquering King. He subdued all the enemies of Israel and under his reign brought rest to a nation that had known only war. Some of his conquests are recorded for us in 2 Samuel 8. In the latter years, the Israelites would look back with fondness to the period of David’s reign as the golden era of their history. Towards the end of David’s life, he sought to build a temple for God out of gratitude for all God had done for him. From the period of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, the Ark of the Covenant (God’s physical presence) dwelt in a mobile tent known as the tabernacle. With the Kingdom now firmly established under his rule, David felt a more permanent structure for the God of Israel was long overdue. God however, through the Prophet Nathan stopped David in his tracks. God was moved by David’s intention but stopped him because David’s hand had shed too much blood.
God still promised David that because it was in his heart to honor Him, he would establish the throne and dynasty of David forever. In Samuel chapter 7 from verses 12-16 we read these words;
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.’”
These words form the basis of what is known as the “Davidic Covenant”. This covenant God entered into with David raised the expectation for his lineage. Great things were expected from his children and grandchildren. After David died His son Solomon took over the Kingdom. He started on a very good note. He built the temple that his father had originally intended. He had peace all round but soon under the influence of his numerous wives began worshipping foreign gods. After Solomon, his son Rehoboam took over. He was a proud and insolent king and under his leadership the nation of Israel split into two. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was comprised of ten tribes and the southern kingdom of Judah was made up of Judah and Benjamin. The northern kingdom was ruled by different dynasties but in the south the rulership stayed in the family of David. Both kingdoms had one thing in common. They kept going against the covenant of God and soon God gave them up into exile to the surrounding nations (remember the theme of exile from episode 1?).
Years later when the prophets emerged on the scene prophesying the coming of a messiah from the line of David, the words of the Davidic covenant formed the framework for the hope of the Jews. They anticipated an all-conquering King who like David would usher in a golden age of prosperity and peace. But as the years went by it looked as though this hope would never materialize. Israel (both northern and southern Kingdoms) was tossed from one kingdom to another in exile. By the time Jesus appeared on the scene, Israel and the region of Palestine was under Roman occupation. At this time there were some sections of Jews who had completely given up on the idea of a coming savior but there were also those who firmly held to the messianic hope believing that the messiah would come and put an end to Roman rule and domination once and for all.
But why did they not recognize Jesus for who he was? There’s a scene in the book of The Revelation that best illustrates it.
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
Did you see it? Read again. This time pay close attention to the difference between what John (the author of The Revelation) hears and what he sees. He is told that the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has prevailed but when he looks in the midst of the throne to see the all-conquering being, he actually sees a Lamb that looks as though it had been slain (epic right?). The lion had indeed conquered but he did so as the lamb that was slain.
This was exactly what happened with Israel. They were expecting an all-powerful military ruler who would come and with his army crush their Roman overlords, restoring Israel to her former glory. But that wasn’t the case. He ruled by serving, was powerful yet humble, gave life through death and conquered his enemies by loving them. He caused a redefining of all our human categories. Jesus did indeed come to conquer but he conquered humanity’s eternal enemies; The Devil and the nature of rebellion in all humanity. John the Baptist described Him as the Lamb of God that was here to take away the sin of the world. In his death on the cross, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the royal seed of David in one fell swoop, disarmed the devil and all the powers of darkness and paid the price for our release from the hold of sin.
Most often we are like the nation of Israel, looking to the external and pointing fingers at any and everyone we can identify as our enemies. But we often forget that the true enemy is the nature of sin within us that needs to be dealt with. Jesus has paid the price for our sin and promises to set free anyone who in loyalty and trust will submit to his rule.
What will your response be? Will you submit to him? Make a personal decision today.