DAVID, KING OF ISRAEL
When David was still a boy, perhaps 16 or 17 years old, the prophet Samuel was sent by God to anoint the young shepherd boy as the future king of Israel. David lived an extraordinary life after his anointing. He single-handedly killed Goliath, fought countless battles against the enemies of Israel, evaded numerous murderous attempts on his life, and, after the death of King Saul, was proclaimed king over the southern territory of Judah at the age of 30. He invited the northern territory of Israel to join him, but they instead chose Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth as their king. After a long seven and a half years of conflict between the two kingdoms, the northern territory of Israel collapsed with the death of Ish-bosheth. The stage was finally set for David to be anointed king over all Israel, as God had promised so many years earlier. I invite you to join me in 2 Samuel 5:1-5
Then all the tribes of Israel went to David at Hebron and told him, “We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, when Saul was our king, you were the one who really led the forces of Israel. And the Lord told you, ‘You will be the shepherd of my people Israel. You will be Israel’s leader.’” So there at Hebron, King David made a covenant before the Lord with all the elders of Israel. And they anointed him king of Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in all. He had reigned over Judah from Hebron for seven years and six months, and from Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.
The Kingdom of God in David’s day is the Kingdom of David, and the Kingdom of David points to or is a foreshadowing of the Kingdom of God that God will establish with Jesus as its king. As we look together at our text this morning, we will see how the various elements of David’s kingship foreshadows Jesus’ kingship.
The first thing to note is that the tribes of Israel, represented by their elders, came to David. The Kingdom of God is not a coerced kingdom. It is not one in which people have no choice and are somehow forced to be a part of it. Just as the people came to David, so you and I are welcome to come to Jesus and to acknowledge him as our king. When we do so, we become part of the Kingdom of God.
In coming to David, the elders gave three reasons why they wanted David as their king. The first reason was because of a personal relationship. David was one of them: “We are your own flesh and blood.” Although they were a diverse people made up of 12 tribes, each having its own particularities, they were united in their common descent from Abraham. The Son of God became a human being precisely so we could say to him, “You are one of us.” And, by coming to him and entering the Kingdom of God, we enter into a personal relationship with him and with his heavenly Father.
The second reason they came to David was because of his track record. He had shown himself worthy to be a king in his leadership of the forces of Israel against their enemies, bringing them back safe and victorious. Indeed, what good is a king who can’t provide victory for his people? We come to Jesus because he has won the victory over death. Like him, we will all die, but like him, we will be raised from death into eternal life.
The third reason they accepted David as their king was because of God’s divine decree. God had declared that the shepherd boy would become the shepherd king, the leader of his people Israel. We come to Jesus because he is the Good Shepherd, the one who calls us by name and whose voice we recognize when we hear it.
Having come to David, and having given their three reasons for wanting him to be their king, David makes a covenant with them. A biblical covenant is an agreement between two parties in which the parties specify what they promise to do on behalf of the other. Additionally, the covenant contains consequence for failing to do what one has promised. The biblical shorthand for these promises and consequences is “blessings” and “curses.” A blessing is one party doing for the other what has been promised. And a curse is the consequence of failing to do what has been promised.
We are not given the details of the covenant David establishes with the people, but we do know the details of the covenant that Jesus has established with those who come to him. “This is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sin. Drink all of you of it.” Jesus’ words at the Last Supper summarize the covenant we enter into when we come to Jesus, when we become a part of the Kingdom of God. What Jesus promises is that our sin is forgiven through the shedding of his blood on the cross. What we promise is to drink of the cup, that is, we promise to not only come to him but to believe that he is who he says he is and accept what he says he does for us. Our part of the covenant is to have faith. As Jesus says is the Gospel of John, “All who come to me and believe will be raised from the dead.”
Is Jesus your king? Are you living in God’s kingdom, abiding by God’s principles for kingdom living? Or are you, like so many people in the world, your own king, living in the kingdom of me? You are free to choose into God’s kingdom or to remain in the kingdom of your own making, but you are not free to choose the consequences of that choice. God’s kingdom is eternal and all other kingdoms will fall. Which kingdom do you choose today?