A King for a Kingdom
2 Samuel 7:8-17
There’s a man named Kevin Baugh. Get this… he has his own country—The Republic of Molossia—and if you don’t mind, he’d prefer you call him “His Excellency Kevin Baugh.” After all, he has an impressive khaki uniform with six big medals, a gold braid, epaulets at the shoulders, and a blue, white, and green sash. Oh, and a general’s cap with a gold star burst over the bill.
Never heard of The Republic of Molossia? That’s understandable because it consists of Baugh’s three-bedroom house and 1.3 acre yard outside of Dayton, Nevada. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, “He has a space program (a model rocket), his own currency (pegged to the value of chocolate-chip cookie dough), a railroad (model size), a national sport (broomball), and—in his landlocked desert region—a navy (an inflatable boat).”
The newspaper article goes on to say: “Baugh, a 45-year-old father of two, is a micro-nationalist, one of a wacky band of do-it-yourself nation builders who raise flags over their front yards and declare their property to be, as Baugh puts it ‘the kingdom of me.’”For Baugh, it’s a fun joke, but he’s joking about what all humans want to do—build a “kingdom of me.”
If we’re honest, we’re a bit more like Kevin Baugh than we’d like to admit. Sure, we might not call our home “the Republic of (insert your name here),” but if we’re honest, we like to build our own kingdoms. And when we build our own kingdoms, who ends up being the king (or the queen)? And then we wonder why we don’t experience the seemingly ever-elusive blessing of the “fullness and abundance of life” that Jesus promises and offers.
As we continue in “The Story of God,” we are going to talk about kings, kingdoms, and blessings. And to help us with that, we are going to look at the covenant that God makes with David over 3,000 years ago. Then we’re going to push the fast-forward button on the story and see how that covenant with David is most fully and finally fulfilled in Christ. We’ll finish by looking at our calling and what happens in our lives when we recognize Jesus Christ as the King and choose to build His kingdom instead of our own.
Theme #1: Covenant
Here’s the covenant given to David in 2 Samuel 7:8-17:
“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, to be ruler over My people Israel. “I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. “I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, 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 a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”‘ In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.”
Historical Background and Overview. God has rescued and redeemed His chosen people Israel from Egyptian slavery. Then He gives them the Law, which are the God-given boundaries to live within so that they might be His redemptive community for the world. After He gives them the Law, and they agree that they will live within the boundaries of this covenant relationship, the children of Israel spend the next 40 years in the wilderness because of their sin… their lack of faith in the promise of their God to give them the Promised Land. So finally after 40 years in the wilderness and an entire generation dies off, the Israelites finally go into the Promised Land of Canaan and take over the land. After they take over most of the Land and the 12 Tribes of Israel, God appoints judges to rule over the Israelites. That doesn’t go so well, and so Israel asks for a king… and God gives them one… a guy named Saul. Saul doesn’t do too well as king… he’s basically a neurotic mess. In the midst of Saul’s decline, God raises up a young shepherd boy named David to become the next king. In 1000 BC, 14 years after David was chosen and anointed as king, he finally takes the throne over all Israel. 1 Samuel 13:14 tells us that David is a “man after God’s own heart.” David is not a perfect man nor a perfect king, but God in His grace enters into an unconditional covenant with David. God takes the initiative to enter into the covenant, and God will do whatever it takes to fulfill His promises to the covenant.
God’s Covenant with David. The basic thrust of the covenant with David is this: the Lord, Yahweh, the covenant God of Israel, will firmly and forever establish the dynasty of David by promising and providing a king and a kingdom. Let’s look a bit more in-depth at God’s covenant with David.
vv. 8-11. God tells David that He took him from fields filled with sheep and placed him as king over a kingdom filled with God’s people. God has been with David wherever he has gone, in whatever battles David had to fight. Whether it was David’s battles with wild animals while He was a shepherd, David’s victory over the Philistine big man Goliath, or David’s numerous victories over battles and wars with enemies of Israel, God has given David victory. The Lord promises Israel a land of their own where they will experience rest, stability, and security as they live like His promised people and redemptive community.
“The Lord of Hosts” literally means the Lord of the Armies. It can also carry the meaning, “the Lord, the mightiest Warrior” or “the Lord, the all-powerful King.” Remember that God’s covenant with David is grounded in the character and nature of the God who is initiating the covenant. His name here as “Lord of Hosts” carries all of the heavenly and divine power and authority needed to fulfill the promises that will follow.
“I will give you rest from all your enemies… the Lord will make a house for you” (v. 11). The Lord promises to give David security and rest from enemies who will try to attack Israel. And the Lord promises to make a “house” for David… this refers to descendants… a Davidic dynasty.
vv. 12-13. God would raise up David’s descendants to sit on the throne of Israel. The next Davidic king, David’s son Solomon, would build a temple for the Lord… and the Lord would establish the throne of the Davidic Kings forever. Forever means forever. There are years when Israel is living in a place of sin and disobedience where they are not living in the land… they are attacked by Assyria then exiled in Babylon… and there is not a Davidic king. God didn’t necessarily say that this line would not be interrupted… He said that the Davidic throne would be an everlasting throne… more on that in a moment.
vv. 14-15. The Lord would be a Father to the Davidic king who would be His son. It would be an intimate relationship. Just like an intimate Father/Son relationship, there would be discipline from the Father if the son strayed from the commands and heart of the Father. What’ interesting is that now that the Lord has appointed an earthly king and leader over His redemptive community, He is telling the king and the people, “so goes the king, so goes the nation.” But the key in this covenant is that the Lord’s “lovingkindness” (His covenant faithfulness and His loyal love) would not depart or be removed from the Davidic king even when they wandered from Him. He would discipline them severely, but He would not break His own covenant with them.
v. 16. The Lord reiterates that He would firmly and forever establishes David’s everlasting kingship and kingdom. And once again, forever means forever.
The History of the Davidic Kings. As the story continues through Old Testament history, we discover that David’s grandson Rehoboam is not a good king, and he doesn’t walk with the Lord or trust Him. In the end, Rehoboam plunges Israel into a civil war. So Israel is divided. The 10 Northern Tribes keep the name “Israel” and the 2 Southern Tribes take the name “Judah.” It is important to know and remember that the Davidic Kings are from the tribe of Judah. None of the kings from the 10 Northern Tribes in Israel follow after the Lord… their batting average is a dismal .000. And in 722 BC, Assyria destroys the 10 Northern Tribes. And only 1/3 of the Davidic kings in the Southern Tribes of Judah follow after the Lord. So the Lord makes good on His promise that He’ll correct the iniquity and sin of the Davidic King with the “rod of men.” God allows Babylon to come in and in 586 BC, Jerusalem is destroyed and the king and people are carted off to captivity in Babylon for 70 years. Finally after those 70 years in captivity and Babylon has conceded power to the Medo-Persian empire, the people of Judah begin returning back to the Promised Land… but they never really have a full-functioning Davidic king during the next 400 years… so has God made good on His promises in the covenant with David?
Theme #2: Christ
Remember what we learned from God’s covenant with David: the Lord will firmly and forever establish the dynasty of David by promising and providing a king and a kingdom. As the Story of God continues, we find that God does deliver on His promises. God the Father has firmly and forever established Jesus Christ, God the Son, to be the King of kings and Lord of lords who will reign forever and ever, and this is the fullest and final fulfillment of the covenant that the Lord made with David and His descendants.
Jesus Christ fulfills the Davidic Covenant. Let’s focus in for a moment on how Jesus Christ fully and finally fulfills the covenant that God made with David. And I’ll simply show you this by reading only four of over a hundred NT texts that point to Jesus Christ as the “son of David,” the rightful heir to the Davidic Throne (see Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:31-33; Romans 1:1-4; Revelation 22:16).
Jesus Christ is the fullest and final fulfillment of all of the biblical covenants. We need to realize that all of the biblical covenants that we have looked at thus far in the story of God find their fullest and final fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus Christ, God Himself. Beginning in two weeks, we will spend 8 weeks on the person and work of Christ, but let me give you a quick snapshot at how Jesus Christ, God the Son, is the fullest and final fulfillment of all of the biblical covenants.
The Creational Covenant (Genesis 1:26-27). God as King appoints humanity to rule with Him. Jesus Christ, the God-Man, perfectly fulfills that command and calling to rule with God the Father.
The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, 15, 17). God tells Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” The redemptive community of God is formed. And it is through Jesus Christ, from the nation of Israel, son of Abraham, that the entire world is blessed… “In you, all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
The Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19:1-6). The redeemed community of Israel, called to be a redemptive community for the world, is given Divine Law and boundaries to live within. Jesus Christ is the only One who has ever perfectly fulfilled every part of the Law. Jesus tells us in the Gospels that He hasn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill the Law. He is only sinless One that has every lived.
The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-16). The people of God, Jew and Gentile, the redemptive community for the world, are now led by an eternal divinely appointed King, Jesus Christ… the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36). The redemptive community of God will be transformed from the inside out by the very presence of God. And is Jesus Christ, along with God the Father, who sends the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer who is transformed by the very presence of God.
I love to read. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed reading Tom Clancy’s novels. If you’ve ever read one of Clancy’s novels, you know that he typically begins his novels with several stories. And as you read the stories that he weaves into the larger story, you’re not sure how all of the different stories are going to fit together. But surely and slowly as the larger story picks up speed, the smaller stories begin to collide and mesh into one larger story, and it begins to make sense. It’s that “ah-ha” moment when you begin to get the larger story. It’s the same way with Jesus Christ most fully and finally fulfilling all of the covenants that God makes with His people. At first, it’s difficult to perceive how they all fit together… but surely and slowly as the larger story of God progresses, the story takes on more and more meaning, and then there’s finally that “ah-ha” moment when we see that all of the Old Testament is pointing forward to Jesus, and then in the New Testament, we see that the story has a wonderful, beautiful, powerful unity as Jesus Christ in His person and work brings it all together as forever reigning King of kings and Lord of lords.
Theme #3: Calling
Remember where we started… with our propensity to build our own kingdoms… a “kingdom of me” where we crown ourselves as the king or queen of our own lives. I think you know this by now, at least intellectually, but that’s not the way that life is designed to be lived. And it’s definitely not the way life is to be lived if we want to experience the fullness of life in our relationship with Jesus Christ, the King. So we get to our calling, if we have seen and begin to believe that Jesus Christ really is the King of kings and Lord of lords, where does that lead us?
Recognize Jesus Christ as King. I don’t simply mean recognize as in “hey there’s Jesus… He’s the king… isn’t that cool.” By recognize, I mean that we understand, we acknowledge, and we live like we believe that Jesus Christ is the King… and the King is the leader of the kingdom… and we as part of the kingdom of God, we build His kingdom and not our own. No “micro-kingdoms” allowed in the Kingdom of God. What would our lives be like if we really and fully recognized Jesus Christ as King? What would it look like if we really and fully lived under His loving Lordship? It seems to me that we would follow Him with every bit of who we are. We wouldn’t be so divided and duplicitous in the way we lived our life. We wouldn’t be so compartmentalized in our lives… allowing Jesus to speak into our lives when we’re at church but then edging Him out in other areas of our lives. If we fully recognized Jesus Christ as the King, we’d be fully committed to His ministry with one another and His mission to the world around us. In the ancient world and even in the modern world where kings still rule a country, what the king says goes… His commands are not optional. “A new command I give to you,” Jesus says in John 13, “that you love one another even as I have loved you.” It’s His command of ministry to one another. “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” It’s His command of mission to the world. When we recognize Jesus Christ as the King, we follow Him in His ministry and His mission. When we recognize Jesus Christ as the King, we joyfully order our lives to be lived under His loving lordship and leadership.
Receive the blessing of grace and life from the King. When we recognize, acknowledge, and live like we believe that Jesus Christ is the King, then we receive the blessing of grace and life from the King. The Bible continually tells us that there is the blessing of grace and life when we are in the presence of the King (Proverbs 16:15; Psalm 80:3, Numbers 6:24-26).
In the presence of Jesus Christ the King, there is grace and life, It is only when we pursue Him as our King and our Lord that we experience the fullness of His strengthening and equipping grace and the abundance of His life poured out in us. It is only when we live under His loving lordship and leadership that we have His heart and mind as we attempt to navigate the complexity of life that we face each and every day. It is only as we come to Jesus the crucified yet risen King that we have the strength to endure difficulties as inevitably and invariably come our way. The King gives grace… the King gives life… and Jesus Christ is that King. He is the Hero of the story… He is the centerpiece of the story… He is the God who creates and recreates for His glory and for our good. Here’s our calling… to come to Jesus Christ, the King of Heaven and Earth. Call Him your King and give every part of your life to Him and receive His grace and His life poured out in and through you as we as the redemptive community for the world answer that call of His ministry to one another and His mission to the world.