The Bible… Love it. So much empowerment comes through regular reading and meditating on the pages, and if I am not cautious, empowerment of my ideas. Just seems God has not put in our hands a book that is so clearly delineated that I am the one inside the ‘lines’ and I put others ‘outside’. Chosenness places us in the door, not in possession of the house. All ins in Scripture seem to be so that all can be in… Jews so that the whole earth, all the ethna are able to enter. That seems to be the ultimate manifestation of the ‘tabernacle of David’ (Acts 15:16, 17). It is not centred in on 24 hour worship (though we worship in Spirit and in truth and that is a flow from our lives), nor about the ‘throne’ of David in the sense of some Jewish restoration… though all of those aspects can perhaps serve along the journey.
Israel, so different. And the many diverse understandings of Israel / election led to the sects within the developing people – particularly post-Exile once they had lost the land – and probably also leads to so many viewpoints within Scripture. There is a strong ‘we must have a king’ angle to counter that of ‘every person doing what is right in their own eyes’. I like the double-meaning that I read in there, but clearly the editors are agreeing that ‘we need a king’ and the only legitimate king is the one that is descended from David, hence the disaster that had come on the Northern kingdoms. (Interestingly in the earlier books there is a lot of justification why David should be king and why Solomon should be king, but by the time of the Exile with Chronicles there is no justification for this at all. By then it was clear David and his lineage is the authorised one from heaven. Now that is a viewpoint!)
And the other stream… the one I like of course. Kingship is rejecting God. Saul does not cut it… that soon becomes clear, so God then looks for someone after ‘his own heart’. Soft, open, meditative, reflective, worshipping for sure. But that takes us so far. If kingship is a rejection (the statement is not ‘if they choose Saul they are rejecting me’, but ‘asking for a king is rejecting me’) then to be after God’s own heart is to empty kingship of all it consists of, it is to bring kingship to an end, so that with renewed hearts, sight changes (a big Pauline theme) leading to each person doing what is right in their own eyes.
I have prior to this blog pointed out that Solomon displays wisdom and foolishness seemingly in equal measure, his structure in the land is Egyptian (very impressive to a Queen of Sheba)… leading to the divided kingdom and one part choosing one who came up from Egypt as their king. And the other part, Judah, overtly not choosing such a person, but the die is already cast.
Jesus comes as the ‘son of David’. He represents humanity in all its forms, and as son of David there is an implicit understanding of him being ‘king’, and king he is, just as David was. The fruit of David’s kingship is mixed and there are despots as well as good kings released, for ‘power corrupts’… Then we look at the cross, there nailed to it, to be read is ‘king of the Jews’. Accidental? Or is kingship nailed to the cross?
Yes we can use the terms ‘king of kings’ for Jesus, and how ironic that was in the NT era where there was always one who claimed to be ‘king of kings’, the one based in Rome. The pathway though is so different. Jesus is not the victor over the (Roman) king of kings through out-kinging the emperor. Laying down his life, the principalities that lie behind kingship are drained of their power. Language is so challenging. We use the term ‘king of kings’ and probably go very quickly to that of power and enforcing a rule.
‘Not so among you’ are words that were explained in the act of foot-washing.
I don’t really know what Jesus as king really looks like. In his presence we rightly tremble, we fear… not because of impending wrath but because we simply do not comprehend love like that.
David was to totally re-calibrate kingship so that power does not shape the future. God as ‘king’ does not shape the future according to power. Love overcomes.