Jesus: The Final King

This term at both 10am and NightChurch, we’ve been enjoying hearing from God through the Old Testament; in Joshua at 10am, and journeying with King David at NightChurch. One understandable question is; why do we read about King David, whereas Joshua is just, well, Joshua?

In Joshua’s day, God ruled his people, with Joshua as his spokesperson, leader and servant. Following Joshua’s death, other Joshua-like figures, the “judges”, represented God’s rule to his people. While these warrior-prophet-leaders were a mixed bag, the final leader, Samuel was faithful to God. The turning point comes during Samuel’s time, when the people of Israel, frustrated at the (mostly) bad judges they’ve had to put up with demand a king, “such as all the other nations have” (1 Sam 8). Despite Samuel’s and God’s best efforts to warn them how much worse this will be, eventually God grants their request and Samuel is instructed to get them a king. Saul, the first king, starts well, but soon becomes unfaithful. David is the second king, and is described by God as a “man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). However, even David’s reign is not without disappointment, and following David, a succession of mostly unfaithful kings shows the worst in human nature. Clearly God kept his promise and gave his people kings “such as the other nations have”.

Given this rough history of human kings, an easy assumption would be that God would seek to return the people to the Joshua-model of leadership; a warrior-prophet hearing from God, with God the Father as the ultimate ruler. The surprise is that God is committed to a human king ruling his people; a human king that will get it right this time, as David almost did. A human king who will guide his people unlike the kings of the nations, but justly, faithfully and mercifully. For example, in Daniel, we read of this promised future human king: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. … His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

Less surprising is that this promised king is Jesus, the final king of God’s kingdom. Jesus is the one who finally gets it right. And because of that, Jesus is the one that we ultimately should follow.

In Joshua and David, we are given two great portraits of leaders of God’s people; one in the warrior-prophet era, and one a coronated king. Both are wise, faithful, courageous, and even humble in confessing their short-fallings (Joshua 7:6-9, 2 Samuel 12:13-17). We can look to both as models for faithful living. But ultimately, our model is Jesus, the only completely obedient king.

Paul Pallot

King David: The Worshipping Warrior

King David is a towering figure in Jewish and Christian history. A young shepherd boy who rose to be a great king, a songwriter and poet, a military strategist and warrior, a passionate worshipper of God, and a person who made big mistakes.

This week at NightChurch we begin a teaching series on David’s life and seek to discover how to live a life of worship that is deeply spiritual, but also fully integrated into our daily lives and lived experience. If you want to get a head start, read through 1 & 2 Samuel. Here’s a summary of David’s life from one commentator:

“As he is presented in the Bible, David was ideally suited to the tasks of kingship that came to him. His popular following, his victories over the Philistines and others, and his establishment of a powerful kingdom show him to have been a shrewd military strategist and motivator. His successful courting of the factions in Israel and Judah, and his forging of a united Israel that retained its identity for close to 80 years, showed his political skills; and his descendants were able to retain their position on the throne in Jerusalem for centuries afterward. Administratively, his establishment of the military, civil, and religious bureaucracies displayed yet another dimension of his talents.

David’s skills as a poet, musician, and sponsor of music were renowned as well. His compositions in 2 Samuel and the Davidic psalms demonstrate a poetic genius. His sponsorship of, and involvement in, religious celebrations in connection with the ark show his musical talents and interests. We even read of “instruments of David” that he created or that were associated with him (2 Chr 29:26; Neh 12:36; cf. Amos 6:5).

David displayed a fine religious sensitivity [and] the Davidic psalms demonstrate this…[and] David’s relationship with his God, his concern for others’ welfare, his ready repentance when confronted with his sin, and his concerns for the religious matters pertaining to the temple and the cult all evidence this as well.

Ultimately, however, David’s lasting significance lay in his position as the LORD’s chosen king for Israel and as the father of the royal dynasty that the LORD chose to bless. He occupied a midpoint between his great ancestor Abraham and his great descendant Jesus. The promises made to David stood in continuity with those to Abraham, and they pointed to a messianic ideal of great promise for the world, an ideal that, so Christians have affirmed, found its expression in Jesus, the Christ.”

David M. Howard Jr., “David (Person),” The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992).