Recently I’ve been reading through 1 Kings, and I was considering these words Solomon spoke in chapter eight verses 25-26:
“Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ Now therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David my father.”
If you look at the state of Israel now (not the current political nation but rather the monarchical system that no longer exists), you would think God has failed in keeping this particular promise to Israel. In addition, Christ, the Messiah has come, died, risen from the grave, and ascended into heaven, with a large majority of the Jews having rejected Christ, stumbling over the stumbling block.
There is also another big problem: God says, “You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel,” and then adds, “IF only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me …” And if you continue to read into 1 and 2 Kings, they fail miserably, because they, along with all other people’s of the world, are great sinners and are incapable in themselves of fulfilling God’s spoken decrees and statutes. So you would definitely think at this point all is lost and God has failed in keeping His promise. And if He failed in keeping His promise to His chosen people, whom He dwelt with and brought out of Egypt with great sovereign power, what are we to make of His promises to us Gentiles, the grafted in branches?
So how does God fulfill this promise to Israel? God brought this promise to pass through His Son, Christ. He alone is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the great sovereign God who reigns on high, who sits on the Throne of thrones. He is the King whose reign will never end and is established forever. Christ is the fulfillment of this promise and the final, greatest of all kings to ever have reigned.
But God fulfills this promise in a most unexpected way; so unexpected that many of the Jews stumbled over it when God brought it to pass. In Jesus’s day, the Jews were expecting a Messiah to come in and wipe out the Romans; expecting a political Savior. They in no way envisioned a Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52, 53) who would make Himself nothing, becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross. This was in fact the opposite of how they thought God would do things. They fundamentally did not understand they were incapable of fulfilling the law God by themselves, but rather assumed they were doing exactly that, which is the reason why they stumbled over the Messiah when He did arrive as a peasant, a servant of humble means.
Christ came though, in this way, because we all, including the Jews, are incapable of meeting the requirements of God. In the verse I quoted earlier where God promises, “You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, IF only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me …” this was fulfilled in Christ. He is the One who walked perfectly in all the ways of God, without blemish or spot, and by the eternal power within Himself, has ascended to the eternal throne of God. But He did this at much cost to Himself. He bore the wrath of God in Himself on the cross for us who believe!
Because of the great infinite chasm between us and God, it had to be done this way: Christ fulfilling the law for us in His perfect life, bearing in Himself the wrath of God for us on the cross, dying in our place, and rising from the grave, in order to bring us to life in Himself. The greatest King of all time set aside His heavenly dwelling, His place of eternal honor, and made Himself nothing so that those who believe and trust in Him could be heirs with Him of the throne He so greatly deserves, and we so greatly undeserve. What a Savior and King!
This is the King we have, not one who idly stood by and waited for us to save ourselves, or who even did “most” of the work and left us to get ourselves into His eternal blessings, but rather, One that by His eternal power, made us alive together with Himself when we desired nothing of Him, uniting Himself to His people whom He foreloved from eternity; uniting them to Himself at every point in His life, death and resurrection. This Jesus, who man mocks, is the One whose throne will never end, and He has brought great meaning to the passage above, being the final and greatest King of kings Israel has ever seen: “God with us,” Emmanuel.
May we sit and ponder just the vastness of His Kingship and Lordship over our lives and the entire universe, creating, upholding and sustaining everything by His powerful word. Submit to the One true sovereign God and King who lovingly became nothing for us so that we could be made right again in the presence of God and have final, divine, eternal peace and acceptance with God forever. Lord Jesus, You reign on high!