Wednesday, August 22, 2012

David’s Now and Not Yet Kingdom

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."
            -Luke 1:32-33 (NASB)

in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
            -Hebrews 1:2-3 (NASB)

When I first encountered the already-but-not-yet establishment of Jesus’s kingdom on earth I had a little trouble getting a sense of what that could mean. Then one day I was thinking about the story of King David. Who better to look at as a type of Christ as King then King David. And David had a period of already but not yet kingship. In 1 Samuel 16:12-13 God has Samuel anoint David as king of Israel. But it is not until many stages of life and many years later that David is actually acknowledged King by all Israel in 2 Samuel 5:3-4
        I’m definitely not saying the Jesus’s actives are in any way constrained or foretold by David’s story, but I do think it’s useful to look at this period of David’s life to help my ability to picture possibilities for how this period of Christ’s ministry might look. In fact there are lots of different possibilities that David models as he goes through different stages: total unknown to society, rising star at court, target for royal paranoia, hunted fugitive, leader of a mercenary band, and king of half a kingdom.
David and Saul
    When David was first anointed king he didn’t announce the fact, he didn’t try to start building a power base. In fact he did his current job, and he took opportunities to make the job of the existing power structure easier, soothing King Saul and driving his evil spirit away. (1 Sam 16:21-23) David volunteers to face the problem that no one else is willing to face, but when he goes out to fight Goliath he takes his own weapons and not Saul’s but sticks to the pattern of showing respect for the existing government as legitimate.
    People begin to praise David as one would a conquering King, (see 1 Sam. 18:17 and the comment on it in 1 Sam. 21:11) and Saul becomes jealous. In impulse and trough plots Saul starts trying to Murder David. David escapes again and again (1Sam 18:11, 1 Sam 18:25, 1 Sam 19:1, 1 Sam 19:10, 1 Sam 19:11,15, and 1 Sam 19:20-21) and keeps returning to Saul as a loyal servant. By my count it is only after the seventh time (1 Sam 19:22-23) that David because reluctant to present himself again. After Sauls show himself ready to make an eighth attempt (1 Sam 20:31-33) David flees Saul’s authority. As long as he could David tried to help Saul’s efforts to protect and govern Israel and when that was no longer possible David chose flight over confrontation.
    Even as Saul hunts David in the wilderness and David does nothing more then cut off a corner of his robe When he has Saul in his power. (1 Sam 24:4) David continues to plead humbly with Saul. (1 Sam 24:8-15) David considers that it would be immoral for him or his followers to kill Saul (1 Sam 26:9-11) Even when Saul is eventually killed in battle David mourns for him and executes his killer. (2 Sam 1:11, 16)
    During this whole time God has removed His blessing from Saul and chosen David to be Israel's king. But David does not try to enforce God’s decision in his own strength. Neither does God seem to be in a hurry to dispose of Saul and bring all Israel under His chosen ruler. This helps me to be comfortable with the fact that though the kingdom of God has been initiated, Jesus is waiting to enforce his rule with power.

A Psalm of David.
The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
-Psalm 110:1 (NKJV)

Triumph of David, Nicolas Poussin

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