The Story Is Promised A King | Part 4
So, where we’re at in the story is this: God’s chosen people Israel, despite all the aid God gave them, still needed a saviour to save them from the corruption they inherited, and a king to rule and lead them back to goodness and glory! It’s important to note that Israel was not any worse than the rest of humanity, so whatever needs they had, all humanity also had! Now, whether it’s true that there is a Being who can/has/will provide for those needs is a different debate. But perhaps we’ve at least arrived at this point: the human race is not anywhere near perfect, and if legitimate help or a solution can be offered, then it should be gladly received!
Well, you may happily laugh away the solution that is offered in this story, but I’ll be sharing it nonetheless for interest’s sake, at least. Remarkably, since the beginning of all the wrongs, a persistent voice sounded among God’s people that a saving king would one day arrive on the earth to right the wrongs and restore the world to its former glory and even beyond it. It was like a fairy tale! But a real one! (at least to those in the story).
Humanity’s earliest ancestors heard a promise directly from God that one day one of their descendants would crush the corruption that had corrupted them 1. It seemed like it was a very cryptic promise at the time and, for that reason, I haven’t quoted it, but, nonetheless, it was still vaguely understandable to first humans and gave rise to hope! Thankfully, as time progressed, God would provide more clarity and detail regarding the promise.
Now, this may frustrate you, as it would anyone, but something like 2,000 years had passed in the story since that promise was first made! The mess only grew worse and worse and there was no sign of the promised deliverer. And then it happened! The promise was reiterated to Abraham, the man we mentioned in blog number three! God said to him:
“I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your special descendant will possess the gate of his enemies, and through your special descendant, all the nations of the earth will be blessed.” 2
What an astounding promise! Surely this was the same person spoken about at the beginning? Here is a special descendant, who would bring good upon all the nations of the earth. He would overthrow the enemy who had brought the mess and prevent that enemy from doing any more harm! Whoever this person is, it’s the one humanity needed.
As frustrating as it is (but most good stories are a bit like this), another long period of time passed – 1,000 years in fact. During this time, it was very adventurous, like, very adventurous! But there was still a no-show from the special individual!
The nation of Israel had grown, as God had promised, and they now ruled the east side of the Mediterranean Sea (where they are today in fact!) as a monarchical kingdom. Ruling over Israel at this time was the greatest king Israel would have for centuries, King David, famous for slaying the giant Goliath in battle. God brought him to the throne because he was the kind of king that God wanted on the earth – a man after God’s own heart 3.
But although he was a great man, even he was not the promised descendant. Before long, the corrupted state of humanity got the best of him as well, in an appalling way (another event he was ‘famous’ for) 4. But God knew David’s heart and chose him, like He did Abraham, to hear the promise reaffirmed to him.
God said to David:
“When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom… and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son… I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.”5
As much as it might seem a tiresome task to read further reiterations of this future saving king, God does not relax His persistent voice of promise. Time and time again, God says things like,
“I have sworn to David my servant: I will establish your descendant forever; and build your throne for all generations… Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David, his descendant shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me.” 6
Other astounding words of promise reverberated from the mouths of God’s prophets as the years rolled on. Some of the most shocking words came through the prophet Isaiah, who said,
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [God with us].” 7
Now, of course, it seems crazy. I mean, we’re now talking about a supernatural person. It goes without saying that this event is not ordinary; this person was conceived in a virgin! No virgin has ever conceived. Almost in the same breath, Isaiah went on to say these prophetic words:
“For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” 8
We’ve never heard of anything or anyone like it! Who could ever be this great? This is a miracle, it’s like magic, it’s like a fairytale! Telling a story like this, I admit, is not a very good sales pitch to ‘get people signing up’. You’d get a lot more traction with something a little more believable! But I wouldn’t be telling the story accurately if I left such looming details by the wayside.
My first priority is to tell the story as it is, not sign up believers. But if that happens I’d be thrilled, because this story is one that I not only love, but one that I also believe to be true.
Another prophet, Jeremiah, prophesied that,
“The days are coming, declares YHWH, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king.” 10
Illustrations and analogies are being used here, which I won’t go into, but you get the drift. I know I’m quoting more than what might retain the interest of some, but I don’t think I can do justice to the story without scratching the surface at least, and really, that’s all I’m doing. So, a couple more; The prophet Daniel spoke of a magical and staggering individual when he said these words:
“Behold, with the clouds of heaven, there came one like a Son of Man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” 11
Micah told the nation of Israel that,
“You, O Bethlehem, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.” 12
One of God’s last prophets to Israel, Zechariah, heralded the news that,
“Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” 13
Well, it’s pretty hard to find the words for all this? Either it’s a ridiculous joke or it’s fair-dinkum and, therefore, the most exhilarating and spine-tingling thing we could ever hear. We are left wondering and questioning with amazement, who is this man? It all fits together that this special descendent of Abraham and David, of the nation of Israel, born into a Jewish home and who lived in the Jewish culture, is the Saviour King who will redeem mankind from corruption and lead them into God’s intended purpose for humanity! As to who fits this bill, you’ll have to wait for the next blog.
Our picture so far is one of a mighty conquering King, yet that’s not the full picture. There is one more alarming and highly complex bit of ancient writing which casts a long shadow of darkness over the mission of this special descendant. It’s not a short bit of text, so take a deep breath and stick with it as we close off this blog. Isaiah was given these words:
“He grew up before God like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and YHWH has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgement he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the YHWH’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though YHWH makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of YHWH will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” 14
Stay tuned for the next part in the story, The Arrival Of The King.