Treason, Triumph, and Totality:The Story of the King Who rules Forevermore

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GOd uses our story as well as our mistakes to bring about his narrative. In Israel he used the lives of the kings to lead Israel until he sent his son Jesus to earth. Throughout the Bible toe Lord shows us how kings should lead with we can apply to our lives today.

Introduce yourself
Give a re-introduction of the Threads series
Through the life of this character:
What is God teaching us about Himself?
What is God teaching us about ourselves?
What is He teaching us about Jesus?
What is God teaching us about his larger plan and story?

God: King Over Israel

God promises to make Abraham and his offspring a great nation which will bless the world.
Genesis 17:1-8: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
The people of God are enslaved for 400 years.
They’re rejected, unloved, destitute, abused, and neglected at the hands of the Egyptians. They’re the lowest of the low.
After 400 centuries of neglect, they’d probably all but forgotten the promises God made to their forefathers, but God hadn’t forgotten about them. By his mighty hand, God frees the Israelites from the enslavement of the Egyptians, defeating them at the Red Sea, and then through Moses establishes the nation anew.
To help establish them as their own nation, God sets up a government for His people.
God reigns as king over the government in what is called a theocracy.
God commissions the people of Israel to live as a holy nation, set apart from the rest of the world so that, in their purity and devotion, they might draw people to God, the very one the world needs.
God rules as King over Israel for about 1000 years.
But then dissension begins to rear its head. The people of Israel see the kings of other surrounding nations and decide that they want a human king.
This leads us to our passage in 1 Samuel 12, starting in verse 6. Turn with me there.

1 Samuel 12:6-25

“And Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your fathers. When Jacob went into Egypt, and the Egyptians oppressed them, then your fathers cried out to the Lord and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. 9 But they forgot the Lord their God. And he sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab. And they fought against them. And they cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. But now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, that we may serve you.’ And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barak and Jephthah and Samuel and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in safety. And when you saw that Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king. And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the Lord has set a king over you. If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest today? I will call upon the Lord, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking for yourselves a king.” So Samuel called upon the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king.” And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”
Can you see how wicked this is?
The Israelites didn’t have George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, or Donald Trump as king. They had God himself, creator of the universe, the very essence of love and goodness, as their king, and yet they’re asking for someone else.
The people of Israel are, in a real way, committing treason against God.
They had enjoyed the salvation God provided them, they’d enjoyed the benefits he gave them, but now that things seemed to be going ok, they wanted control.
Side note: Before we place too much judgement on the people of Israel, we need to take a step back and realize that we do the very same thing all of the time.
We love that God saves us, we love the benefits He gives us, but once our problems have seemed to pass, we try and take God off of the throne of our lives so we can take control.
This is so wicked that Samuel even prays down punishment on the Israel in the form of a thunderstorm that destroys their great wheat harvest. That would have devastating to a community based around agriculture like Israel was.
To be clear, it’s not wrong for them to want a king. There have been multiple promises of a coming king as we saw in Genesis 17 and as we’ll see soon in Deuteronomy 17.
The sin of their desires comes in the fact that they want a human king that will make them like the wicked nations that surround Israel. God’s desire for them is to be different and to stand out so that they can draw people to God. Yet, they wish to be just like the other nations. They want someone else on the throne.
But why would Israel desire another king than God Himself?
I think a few reasons could be given, but the main one in my view is this: the people of Israel desired a king that they could see face to face. Think about it: they had to go through an incredibly extensive process just to communicate formally with their king. There was a whole atonement and priestly process that had to be carried out just to go into the presence of their King and only one person, the High Priest could do so at that.
And yet, as Israel looked around at the surrounding nations, they saw that those nations had real, physical kings that the people could see face to face. And Israel deeply desired that.
We’ll come back to that, because I think that’s significant, but I think that’s a very understandable longing.
And yet, even among their incredible wickedness, God doesn’t give up on Israel. Notice Samuel’s words of the Lord in verses 20-22 in the passage we just read:
“Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.”
Side note: Even when we sin against God and commit treason against Him, He won’t give up on us.
God grants the wicked wish of Israel and gives them a king. Most of us know this king as Saul. Saul ruled for 40 years.

Deuteronomy 17

How was the king over God’s people supposed to act?
Deuteronomy 17:18-20: “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.”
The kings over God’s people are supposed to be absolutely saturated in the Law of the Lord. They’re literally instructed to write out a new copy of the law for themselves and use it as a guide to help them walk in the ways of the Lord as they rule and reign. By doing so, their reign will last long.

Psalm 45

Psalm 45 gives us another part of the picture of how the king over God’s people is supposed rule.
This Psalm is written to a young king to instruct and encourage him you rule well. It almost serves as a model to aspire to for the kings of God’s people.
Psalm 45:1-8, 17
My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;     I address my verses to the king;     my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
You are the most handsome of the sons of men;     grace is poured upon your lips;     therefore God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,     in your splendor and majesty!
In your majesty ride out victoriously     for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;     let your right hand teach you awesome deeds! Your arrows are sharp     in the heart of the king's enemies;     the peoples fall under you.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.     The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;     you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you     with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;    your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.
This love song to the king praises God and reminds the king that he is sitting in the throne that God sat in. It is reminding the king of the immeasurable amount of responsibility he has in light of that.
The Psalm paints a glorious and beautiful picture of a king ruling well in majesty, beauty, and honor. The people adore this king.
This king is a king of grace who God loves and anoints with the oil of gladness. God rejoices in this king because he is ruling His people well.
What a beautiful model for the kings of God’s people.

2 Samuel 7

After Saul’s rule, David assumed the throne, and God makes a significant covenant promise to Him and the people of God. Turn with me to 2 Samuel 7.
2 Samuel 7:1-14: “Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”’ Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.”
This passage starts out as David wanting to build a house for God, and ends with God promises to uphold the house of David forever.
God promises to uphold the line and throne and kingdom of David forever.
This is a source of great hope for the people of Israel.

The King as Representative: Of God (Son of God) and of the People (Model Citizen)

In the ancient Middle East the kings were seen as representatives of the gods. Because of this, they were often called sons of Gods.
The kings were also seen as representatives of the people. They were to be model citizens for their kingdoms, showing the people how they should live.
There is some sick irony in this that can be seen in the biblical narrative. Just as the kings of Israel and Judah were wicked and evil, so were Israel and Judah. For years, the Law of the Lord actually lost. It wasn’t just that the kings weren’t writing out the law to teach themselves and walk with the Lord like we see instructed in Deuteronomy 17, it was totally lost for years until it was discovered again during the reign of king Josiah. It’s hard to walk with the Lord and rule with justice and righteousness if you don’t even have the Law of the Lord to be guided by.

The Wickedness of the Kings and the Splitting of the People of God

Saul, David, and Solomon rule for 40 years each.
After the rule of Solomon, the nation of Israel splits into 2 nations: the Northern kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
This flies in the face of everything God’s people were supposed to be. Not only did their kings and nations look just like the surrounding nations when they were supposed to stand out in purity, they were supposed to unify the nations of the world by being a blessing to them. How were the people of god supposed to unify the nations under God if they could even remain a unified nation in themselves?
Between these two kingdoms, there were over 40 kings during a span of 300 years in Israel and 500 years in Judah.
The sad thing is that these kings were supposed to rule for many years, say 40, 50, or 60 years, most reigned for less than 20, and many reigned for less than 10, and some for only a few months. Some, like Zimri of Israel, reigned for just 7 days. It was like one king would take the throne and then be assassinated, then another would take his place and be overthrown, and then another would be wiped out, and so on. It was terrible.
In the 200 years that Israel was its own nation, there was not one single good king. Not one. They all just varied on a scale of bad to utterly wicked.
In 723 B.C. the Assyrians take over the nation of Israel and the Israelites are forced into captivity.
Judah fared a little better, but not much. Out of 20 or so kings, there were 2-3 mostly good kings. But outside of that, the rest of the kings were terrible.
The kings of Israel and Judah were not good. Rather than paying tribute to God, many ended up paying tribute to other kings, nations, and gods. Their reigns were full of debauchery, lies, evil schemes, assassination, idolatry, war, and rivalry.

Random Prophecies of Isaiah

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born,     to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,     and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace     there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom,     to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness     from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
There will be a descendant of David whose rule and reign will be everlasting.
Isaiah 11:1-5,10
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,     and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,     the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,     the Spirit of counsel and might,     the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see,     or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,     and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,     and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,     and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.
This future king will be a banner, or representative, for the nations, and the nations will come to him.
We also see that the Holy Spirit will rest upon him and he will love the Lord.
Isaiah 2:1-5
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
O house of Jacob,
come, let us walk
in the light of the Lord.”
In this last verse we see that the nations who stream to God will receive God’s law through the King and that the king will deliver the Word of God to the nations.
So the Jews knew that there would be a coming king of the Davidic line whose reign would never end, who would rule with justice and righteousness, who would serve as a banner or representative for the people of all of the world, who the Holy Spirit would rest upon, who would love the Lord, and through whom the nations would go to get to God.

Daniel 7:13-14

In 586 B.C. the Babylonians end any real hope for a future kingdom for the people of God as they wipe out the kingship and overtake God’s people.
Our passage is taking place in the wake of this destruction of Judah as its own nation.
Amidst all of this destruction and humiliation, we see a surprising and seemingly out of place prophecy:
“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven     there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days (that’s God)     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.”
This prophecy would have felt like a gross joke when the people heard it. Not only is there no king like this in sight, there’s not even a kingdom of Israel for him to rule over.
What do you mean there is a coming king? Is this a joke God? How could this possibly give us hope right now?
God, I thought you said that David’s throne would last forever? Have you lied to us?

Intertestamental Period: 400 years of Silence and Longings for a Messiah and King

After 400 B.C. and the passing of the prophet Malachi, there are no more prophets sent from the Lord. The people of God are no longing hearing the Word of God delivered to them.
You can actually read Jewish writings in the Talmud crying out to God to send them another prophet to deliver the Word of God to them.
So there is no king, no prophet, and in all of the turmoil, there remained no good high priests.
For 400 years, the people of God had no real remnant of government or rule left, felt like God was distant, and were ruled by other powerful nations.
It seemed like all hope was lost. Like the people of God were in the darkest of times.

The Dawning of Indestructible Joy

But night is darkest before the dawn. Out of the most unlikely of places at the most unlikely of times and from the most humble of roots, in the city of Bethlehem, came the dawning of indestructible joy.
Turn with me to Matthew chapter 1
Matthew 1:1-6: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.”
With the coming of this son of David, nothing will ever be the same.

Jesus: The King of Kings

Overview of Jesus ministry.
Jesus systematically fulfills prophecy after prophecy of the coming king od David.
Jesus perfectly lives out the law.
Jesus is like the picture on the front of the puzzle box that makes sense of all of the pieces that seems to be scattered about.
Don’t you see why Pilate’s question (are you king of the Jews?) is so inadequate? Of course Jesus is the King of the Jews. But he also rules over so much more. That’s why Jesus can also say that His kingdom is not of this world.

J.L. Reynolds Quote

"When Christ uttered, in the judgment hall of Pilate, the remarkable words—“I am a king,” he pronounced a sentiment fraught with unspeak- able dignity and power. His enemies might deride his pretensions and express their mockery of his claim, by presenting him with a crown of thorns, a reed and a purple robe, and nailing him to the cross; but in the eyes of unfallen intelligences, he was a king. A higher power presided over that derisive ceremony, and converted it into a real coronation. That crown of thorns was indeed the diadem of empire; that purple robe was the badge of royalty; that fragile reed was the symbol of unbounded power; and that cross the throne of dominion which shall never end."- J.L. Reynolds, "The Kingdom of Christ in its Internal and External Development" (1849)
Jesus fulfills the Jewish understanding of the Messiah in far greater fashion that they could have ever imagined.
By the time of Jesus, the Jews expected the Messiah to ride in wearing magnificent robe on a mighty white horse. They expected the Messiah to conquer their enemies and then assume his rightful place on the throne. This understanding of the Messiah had become a purely political understanding with a purely political.
So when Jesus rides in on a lowly donkey wearing a dirty, dusty robe, there’s an incredible amount of irony.
The people are crying out to Jesus, “Hosanna” which is a political cry meaning, “Save us!”. They wanted him to save them politically.
Jesus begins to weep because he sees that the people he’s come to save have totally missed the point. He’s not coming to save them politically at that time. He’s saving them from a far greater enemy.
The irony is that Jesus ends up fulfilling their image of the Messiah later on, just not when they were expecting it.
Turn with me to Revelation 19:11.
Revelation 19:11-16: “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems(crowns), and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”
Jesus rides in on a white horse in a magnificent robe and slays the enemies of the people of God, Satan and his demons, and brings perfect justice to the world once and for all. After the battle, he again claims his throne, shown again to all to be exactly who he said he was: the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Psalm 47

“Clap your hands, all peoples!     Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared,     a great king over all the earth. He subdued peoples under us,     and nations under our feet. He chose our heritage for us,     the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah
God has gone up with a shout,     the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to God, sing praises!     Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth;     sing praises with a psalm![a]
God reigns over the nations;     God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather     as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God;     he is highly exalted!”

Implications and the Gospel

Have you ever wondered why we’re supposed to live like Christ? It’s because, as our king, he serves as the model citizen who we’re supposed to emulate.
In Jesus and the cross, God gives us a New Exodus to look back on for hope.
In the Old Testament in times of hardship and strife, God would often point His people back to the Exodus to remind them of the faithfulness of God and that He was mighty to save.
Before the first Exodus, the people of God were ruled by another nation for 400 years. For 4 centuries they were not ruled by their own people. God felt distant and they were the lowest of low as they were dominated by more powerful nations. But in fulfillment of His promises to their forefathers, God saves His people by His mighty hand, and places himself as king over them.
In the New Exodus found in Jesus, for 400 years, God’s people had no prophet, no good high priest, and no king. They didn’t rule themselves. They were dominated by more powerful tyrants and nations. God seemed distant and silent. But then, by the power of His mighty hand through Jesus Christ, God saves His people and places Himself (in Jesus) over His people.
We can look back on the cross and the New Exodus as a reminder that God is in control and that He is mighty to save.
The kingship of Jesus should give us hope that, amidst the turmoil and instability of our world today, whether it be politics, the economy, world violence, etc. Jesus will never be dethroned. He will rule and reign forever and when the leaders around us are wicked and rule in selfishness, Jesus rules with majesty and righteousness.
As the universe expands every single second, so do the physical reaches of the kingdom of Jesus. I'm thankful for the simple and profound reminders God provides us of the greatness and glory of His Son.
Sometimes God gives us the wicked wishes of our hearts, not because he condones them, but because when those things leave us ultimately empty, God shows us that Jesus is the only one who can truly satisfy us.
God is the Author of eternity. Every story finds its home and truth in the Bible.
Why do you think we so resonate with the victorious king who claims His throne and wins the battle so that good triumphs over evil? It’s because we’re living in the story now.
Romans 8:28 implications
This story shows us that God can use the greatest of evils, the greatest of sins and make them work for our good and His glory.
This should give us a deep hope.
This story provides a powerful answer for to the heart-felt cry of many who, in the wake of sorrow, ask God “Where were you when this terrible thing happened?”
Why would God allow all of the chaos to happen with all of the many kings of Israel and Judah if he knew he was going to send Jesus? Why would God reign for 1000 years, then have over 40 kings and the overthrowing of his people, just to have Jesus on the throne at the end? To show the people that only God is their rightful king and that only God will truly rule well. God is meant to be king over his people. He showed them that people are not good kings unto themselves.
Two Choices with Jesus as King


(Read Hebrews 1:1-4 after “What a Beautiful Name”)
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