Book 2: Psalm 57 of 72 – His love and my praise

Today, we often say “praise the Lord” when He does amazing work in our lives.  When He gives us favour at work.  When we are blessed with the gift of children.  When we are provided for materially.

Yet, how often do we still praise Him when we are in the midst of difficult circumstances?  When there is a re-structuring in my firm and that I am re-directed to a team that I have no expertise in?  When my supervisor is potentially demonised?  When my financial obligations outweigh my income?  When there is severe illness in the family?

We often look to Job as the forebear, as it were, of the generations of Christians who have suffered and yet looked to the Redeemer: Job 19:25.

Whom we do not often associate with such praise in the midst of suffering is a man like David.  Whilst in the 1st few chapters of the book of Job we learn some facts about the faithfulness of the eponymous hero, the reader is not familiar with him as we are with David, whose generational, familial, military background are laid out in the course of various books in the Old Testament.  Clearly, Job teaches us a lesson on God’s sovereignty in the midst of unjust suffering.  It is a parable for us that even in the most extreme forms of suffering, God’s answer is in the sacrificial lamb: Job 42.

David, on the other hand, teaches us our interaction with the politics of the world as a man who grew from a mere shepherd boy to become a king setting a new precedent (since he likely drew limited inspiration from Saul’s leadership when he took over the reins to lead Israel) of what it means to shepherd a uniquely, unparalleled, theocratic kingdom.

It is within such context that we approach this psalm, which David wrote when he was still but a soldier, fleeing and hiding in a cave from Saul’s wrath: 1 Samuel 21, 24.

David starts not with self-justification, but with humility: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge.”  Indeed, our source of refuge is in God, because our security lies not in our education, not in our accumulated life experiences, not in our accolades.  Those are measures of how the world values us.  God, however, values us simply as His beloved children.  David thus yearsn, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”  Yes – let your will be done, not mine; let your purpose be done, not mine.  Yet this purpose is one that is for me; it is one in which I have the privilege in partaking.

Shortly before the pensive Selah, we are told that God will send from heaven to save David; he will put to shame him who tramples on David.  It is then clarified that God will send out  “his steadfast love and his faithfulness“.  How exactly is this played out?  We see this in 1 Samuel 24:

12 May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you. 13 As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness.’ But my hand shall not be against you. 14 After whom has the king of Israel come out? After whom do you pursue? After a dead dog! After a flea! 15 May the Lord therefore be judge and give sentence between me and you, and see to it and plead my cause and deliver me from your hand.”

16 As soon as David had finished speaking these words to Saul, Saul said, “Is this your voice, my son David?” And Saul lifted up his voice and wept. 17 He said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil. 18 And you have declared this day how you have dealt well with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. 19 For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know that you shall surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in your hand.

This is a turning point for David.  He could have very well set a wicked example of murdering the Lord’s anointed.  He could have uprooted the person whom the Lord, and Samuel, had appointed as the 1st king of Israel.  Instead, David exercised mercy; he repaid wickedness with love.  Why?  This could only be due to the revelation that David received in the cave, in hiding, in the storm.  Instead of justifying himself, instead of finding his comfort in his friends, in his band of brothers, he found comfort in knowing that the Lord sent help in the form of steadfast love and faithfulness.  David therefore approached Saul in the confidence that the Lord is the just judge who would deliver David from Saul’s hand.

The story of David’s mercy is told in generations to come.  David’s rise to kingship was not due to Saul’s own demise.  That was happening concurrently.  The Lord has already been preparing David’s heart to take the role of the anointed king, and this is one of the crucial moments beautifully juxtaposing the persecuted shepherd who exemplifies the meaning of mercy, against the wrathful king who exemplifies the meaning of self-justified vengeance and Pharisaic achievement.

That this happens in a cave is almost, itself, a commentary that this is the spiritual battle which we face in the dark of our hearts.  Do we walk the path of Saul in pursuing every end  and strategy to achieve political and economic might?  Or do we allow God to balance the scales of justice because we trust that He will deliver us from “the midst of lions, fiery beasts, children of man whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords“, as David goes on to describe in this chapter?  David’s goal was not even to exalt himself; he merely set his eyes on Him who provides our refuge; yet, in doing so, we learn from 1 Samuel 24 that he exudes the qualities of a king that Saul does not have.

Much like the story of Joseph and his brothers, Haman and Mordecai, so also the enemies’ plan to dig a pit in David’s way would only end with the pit being the enemies’ ultimate destination.  Satan’s attempts to lure us into death is itself converted into an opportunity for the Lord to save us through death into re-born life.  That is the Selah that David invites us to ponder.  That is the extent of God’s faithful love, that He can transform even the darkest circumstances into the source of our everlasting joy.

As Spurgeon comments on the whole chapter:

Mystically this hymn may be construed of Christ, who was in the days of his flesh assaulted by the tyranny both of spiritual and temporal enemies. His temporal enemies, Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and people of Israel, furiously raged and took counsel together against him. The chief priests and princes were, saith Hierome, like lions, and the people like the whelps of lions, all of them in a readiness to devour his soul. The rulers laid a net for his feetin their captious interrogatories, asking (Mt 22:17), “Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” and (Joh 8:5) whether the woman taken in the very act of adultery should be stoned to death or no. The people were “set on fire, “when as they raged against him, and their teeth and tongues were spears and swords in crying, “Crucify him, crucify him.” His spiritual enemies also sought to swallow him up; his soul was among lions all the days of his life, at the hour of his death especially. The devil in tempting and troubling him, had laid a snare for his feet;and death, in digging a pit for him, had thought to devour him. As David was in death, so Christ the Son of David was in the grave. John Boys, 1571-1625.

 

The Lord’s faithfulness and love in the first half of the chapter are then the cause of David’s gleeful response in the latter half.  “I will sing“, “I will awake the dawn“, “I will give thanks to you“, “I will sing praise to you” – why?  “For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.

David’s preparation for the throne does not require academic excellence, military might, or political savvy.  His preparation was simple.  He turned to God’s steadfast love.  He knew that such love had the power to transform his circumstances.  It was not a distant, impersonal love which would only lift one’s emotions; it was a real, tangible, force personified and exemplified in the work of Christ on the cross.  It is that grace and mercy which drove David to take the high road, and which grew him into a person that he never imagined he would become.  This was his spiritual marker, his milestone, and arguably one of his most important moments in consolidating his kingship.  Oftentimes we face similar dark circumstances, and write them off in hopes that the Lord would give us favour in better times; yet it is in these dark circumstances that we need to find refuge in Him to consolidate His purpose in our lives.

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Book 2: Psalm 57 of 72 – His love and my praise

1 Chronicles 27-29: King to all the Kingdoms of the Countries

Chapter 27:  The Sinful Census and Church Ministries in Israel

Given the LORD’s expression to David that His reason for electing Solomon to build the temple is due to David’s hands being stained with blood and riddled with war (re-iterated in 1 Chronicles 28:3), it is unsurprising that the narrator of 1 Chronicles has explicitly focused on the priesthood aspect of this elected nation.  The “military divisions” is the final allotment to be described in this book, indicating that though this is important, the priestly aspect is far more significant.

In chapter 27, we see the 12 military divisions (from v.1-15), each numbering 24,000 – amounting to 288,000 – an impressive number, though significantly less than the number taken from the census in chapter 21.  The 12 leaders as follows:

1.  Jashobeam (of Perez), chief of all the commanders – the 1st month;

2.  Dodai the Ahohite – the 2nd month;

3.  Benaiah, son of Jehoiada the chief priest (a mighty man of the thirty, commanding the thirty), and his son Ammizabad in charge of his division – the 3rd month;

4.  Asahel (brother of Joab) and his son Zebadiah after him – the 4th month;

5.  Shamhuth the Izrahite – the 5th month;

6.  Ira, the Tekoite – the 6th month;

7.  Helez, of Ephraim – the 7th month;

8.  Sibbecai of the Zerahites – the 8th month;

9.  Abiezer of Benjamin – the 9th month;

10.  Maharai of the Zerahites – the 10th month;

11.  Benaiah of Ephraim – the 11th month;

12.  Heldai the Netophathite, of Othniel – the 12th month.

This is followed by the allocations for the leaders of the tribes from v.16-22:

1.  Eliezer – over Reuben (as chief officer);

2.  Shephatiah – over Simeon;

3.  Hashabiah – over Levi;

4.  Zadok – over Aaron;

5.  Elihu (one of David’s brother) – over Judah;

6.  Omri – over Issachar;

7.  Ishmaiah – over Zebulun;

8.  Jeremoth – over Naphtali;

9.  Hoshea – over Ephraim;

10.  Joel – over half-tribe of Manasseh;

11.  Iddo – over half-tribe of Manasseh in Gilead;

12.  Jaasiel (son of Abner) – over Benjamin

13.  Azarel – over Dan.

Just as the descendants of Abraham are meant to be as numerous as the stars of heaven (Genesis 15:5).  Abraham was challenged by the LORD then that his descendants shall be of such number, if such can be counted.  David was therefore presumptuous to merely refrain from counting those below 20 years of age, when he should not have needed to count at all.  Joab’s futility in counting, alongside his disgust at David’s arrogance as tempted by Satan, is met with the LORD’s wrath – as if David is the man who should be given glory for Israel’s multiplication.  Rightfully so, the number was not (nor could it have been!) entered into King David’s chronicles (v.24).

Then, the descriptions of the stewards of King David’s property (v.25-31):

1.  Azmaveth – over the king’s treasuries;

2.  Jonathan son of Uzziah – over the treasuries in the country, the cities, villages and in the towers;

3.  Ezri – over those who did the work of the field for tilling the soil;

4.  Shimei the Ramathite – over the vineyards;

5.  Zabdi the Shiphmite – over the produce of the vineyards for the wine cellars;

6.  Baal-hanan the Gederite – over the olive and sycamore trees in Shephelah;

7.  Joash – over the stores of oil;

8.  Shitrai the Sharonite – over the herds that pastured in Sharon;

9.  Shaphat the son of Adlai – over the herds in the valleys;

10.  Obil the Ishmaelite – over the camels;

11.  Jehdeiah the Meronothite – over the donkeys;

12.  Jaziz the Hagrite – over the flocks.

Finally, the miscellaneous allocations:

1.  Jonathan (David’s uncle) and Jehiel – attending the king’s sons;

2.  Ahithophel (succeeded by Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar) – the king’s counselor;

3.  Hushai the Archite – the king’s friend; and

4.  Joab – commander of the king’s army.

Upon the various allocations from chapters 23-27, David assembled at Jerusalem all the officials of Israel, of the tribes, and of the divisions, and the commanders, the stewards of the king’s property / livestock / sons, the palace officials, and the mighty men / seasoned warriors.  And this gathering draws us back to chapter 22, the promise of the temple to be built by the true Solomon.

Chapter 28:  Israel’s Foremost Duty

This chapter is very much a reiteration of the purpose of the nation Israel (Exodus 19:6) – that it is a priesthood to the other nations.  It was never an imitation of its neighbours, nor did it seek to be a kingdom on earth; rather, it is an imitation of one neighbour – the kingdom of heaven.  However, it should also remember that it is but an imitation of the heavenly kingdom, at most an incarnation of the taste of new creation.  Yet, it should be remembered as a shadow to the New Jerusalem.  In v.1-8 of this chapter, David provides a short autobiography to the assembled people (a summary of the content from 1 Samuel onwards regarding David), with the LORD’s command to David in 1 Chronicles 22 being the core message of this assembly (v.2-3), that Solomon is David’s promised son and future king of Israel (reflecting what had been stated in 1 Kings 1:30 and the establishment of Solomon’s headship in 1 Kings 2:12).

This is followed by Solomon’s duty, proclaimed from David to Solomon before the assembled men of Israel, commanding Solomon to seek after the LORD truly to best resemble the relationship between the Holy Father and the Holy Son.  However much a type of Christ Solomon is, he is still but a follower of Jesus, and prone to the type of apostasy described in Hebrews 6:4-6 (v.9 – “If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever“).  This is in contrast to the LORD’s persisting love (v.20 – “Be strong and courageous and do it [the building and service of the temple].  Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished“).  This is a defining moment for Solomon and his predestined role in life as the very first priest-king of Israel, just as Christ was both Melchizedek and High Priest of all men.

It is interesting how David in v.11-19 provides the plans and the blueprint of the temple to Solomon, when the LORD could have provided such plans and blueprint to Solomon directly (c.f. the detailed blueprint of the tabernacle provided to Moses directly – Hebrews 8:5).  However, David’s speech to Solomon is itself a glimpse of the relationship between the Holy Father and the Son before Genesis 1:1 – the Father planning and mapping the salvation of mankind, and the Son being the executor of such plan as the chosen heir to the Father’s throne (Matthew 25:31; Revelation 22:3).

Chapter 29:  Worshipful Response

After David’s wonderful speech in chapter 28 to Israel, and his command to Solomon as heard by the assembled people, he poses this question to the crowd – “Who then will offer willingly, consecrating himself today to the LORD?” (v.5).  This evoked a sensational freewill offering from the leaders of fathers’ houses, leaders of the tribes, the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and the officers over the king’s work.  This resembles the awesome freewill offering provided in the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 35-36) – and “the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the LORD” (emphasis included).  Such is the essence of Christian worship, that we give freely as bondservants of Christ and not with hands tied to our guilt and shame in bondage to the father of liars!

David goes further to prevent any Israelite to boast in their giving (v.14).  For all things come from the LORD, and of His own we have given Him.  Truly, what “glory” could we possibly give to the LORD except that which is already His?  Even the gift of faith is not a work in itself, for the circumcised heart also comes from the LORD (v.19).  This beautiful assembly surrounding the theme of the Temple and Solomon’s exaltation was not recorded in 1 Kings, an indication again at priestly as opposed to the deuteronomist source of Chronicles.  Hence, Solomon’s anointing to be the king of Israel and prince for the LORD is very different from the opening verses of 1 Kings 2 (and certainly does not seem to be the same as the first anointing described in 1 Kings 1:39), which does not specify whether Solomon was made king a “second” time.  The narration in Chronicles places his reign in a better context, the context of the covenant promise the LORD has made with Israel from the day of the exodus from Egypt, and provides a fitting background as to why Solomon and David, of all the other kings after them, are the most obvious types of Christ in Israel’s history.  They are not only kings of Israel, examples of Christ to Israelites, but the books of Chronicles considered also the circumstances of all the kingdoms of the countries – a reminder of the wide-reaching implications of salvation through Israel and the promised Messiah especially in these Old Testament pages.

 

1 Chronicles 27-29: King to all the Kingdoms of the Countries

1 Chronicles 12-15: Seeking the Father in the days of Christ

Chapter 12 continued with various descriptions of David’s mighty men, from Benjaminites (v.2), Gadites (v.8), men of Judah (v.16) and Manassites (v.19) to the other tribes listed in the divisions of the armed troops who also assisted David in turning the kingdom of Saul over to him (such as Simeon (v.25), Levi (v.26), Jehoiada of the house of Aaron (v.27), Ephraim (v.30), Issachar (v.32), Zebulun (v.33), Naphtali (v.34), Dan (v.35), Asher (v.36), Reuben (v.37) – altogether a large number of men from all the 12 tribes of Israel).  These were men of notable abilities (v.2), the least was a match for a hundred men and the greatest for a thousand (v.14).  Amasai (the “strong“, the chief of the thirty v.18), being filled with the Spirit, thus declares that these men are as follows:

We are yours, O David, and with you, O Son of Jesse!  Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers!  For your God helps you

Indeed, but for David’s LORD, these mighty men would not be David’s subjects to begin with, that they were scatter from Saul’s headship and kingship to be with the one persecuted and rejected by the kingdom at large (v.19).  These are the men who were added day to day to David’s camp, until there was a great army of God (v.22)  indeed, an army of God, not an army of man.  This army had one single purpose:  to make David king over all Israel (v.38), hundreds of thousands of men feasting with David for three days (v.39) on food from afar, celebratory elements of flour, figs, raisins, wine, oil, oxen and sheep – a shadow of the marriage supper of the Lamb in new creation (v.39-40; Revelation 19:9), for “there was joy in Israel“.

This familial supper is thus combined with the celebratory reclamation of the ark.  Chapter 13 begins with David consulting with the commanders, the leader, and above all – the LORD (v.2), to firstly gather brothers in Christ who were scattered across the land.  Just as the good news was to be brought to the ends of the world as Israel was to be a priest to the nations (Exodus 19:6; Mathew 24:14), Israel must firstly be gathered and seek the LORD as one man (c.f. Judges 20, before the days of Saul).

From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.” (1 Samuel 7).  It has therefore been over two decades until David has ushered in the symbolic presence of the LORD back into the arms of the Israelites.  This explains why David assembled Israel to bring the ark of God from Kiriath-jearim, as it was brought to that region by the Philistines who had been struck with curses (e.g. 1 Samuel 5:6).  Eleazar (God has helped), the son of Abinadab (father of nobleness) has thus taken care of the ark since it was brought to his father’s house in Samuel’s day.

However, terror struck in v.9, at the threshing floor of Chidon (meaning “javelin“; or Nacon, meaning “prepared“- c.f. 2 Samuel 6:6) when Uzzah unwittingly touched the ark when the oxen stumbled and died there before God.  Although it would seem to be merely a careless mistake that this son of Abinadab had died simply from touching the ark, this family of Levites should have known from Exodus 25:14 that the proper method of transporting the ark is not by a cart but by the poles in the side of the ark.  This proper procedure was not observed with care, and thus the incident – a reminder that such joy for the LORD should not come without proper knowledge of the gospel and worshipping in His will and His direction.  Thus, as shown in the house of Abinadab and in the house of Obed-edom – with proper understanding of our standing before the LORD in our worship of Him, understanding that the work of the priesthood can never be replaced or revised, allows us to remember that the Father has indeed chosen to bless us through the High Priest and not through our devised methods of worship.  This, of course, translates into the Protestant obsession with “faith” and “grace” (sometime with a capital G) rather than with Christ Himself:

“The views to which the Wesleys were led by these means became of historic importance, for these views influenced the beliefs they held throughout life.  They both spoke of ‘seeking Christ’, yet as one analyses the pertinent passages in their Journals it becomes evident that they were actuallly seeking faith more than they were Christ. Faith had become the great desideratum in their thinking, insomuch that they began to look upon it as an entity in itself.  Under [the Moravian] Bohler’s instructions they had forsaken their trust in personal endeavours and works, but faith had become a kind of new endeavour which they substituted for their former endeavours and a work which took the place of their former good works.  They had still learned nothing about receiving Christ in the fullness of His person and the completeness of His saving work, but were concerned about faith itself and what measure of it might be necessary for salvation.  Charles expected that the coming of this faith might be associated with some visible presence of Christ, and John looked for an experience which would be accompanied by an emotional response.  ‘I well saw’, he wrote, ‘that no-one could, in the nature of things, have such a sense of forgiveness and not feel it.  But I felt it not.” – Arnold Dallimore on John Wesley in his George Whitfield, vol 1

Chapter 14 chronicles David’s victories against the Philistines, underscoring God who has broken through David’s enemies by David’s hands; so also it is the Father’s joint victory over the cross through the Son.  As Karl Barth states it in his first volume of his Church Dogmatics – the Father’s work has His own distinguishable personality and mark compared to the Son’s, but should never be separated from the Son.  The Son was indeed the One on the cross, but it is as much the Father’s work in the Son’s overcoming of the sting of death as it is the Son’s.  David’s fame is therefore underlined by the LORD (v.17); not by Saul’s type of might, nor by Abinadab’s type of good works, but simply by seeking Christ Himself.

Note the difference in chapter 15 with the break-out against Uzzah in chapter 13; David has learned from his experience and has chosen the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites to consecrate themselves so that they may bring up the ark of the LORD (v.12).  The proper procedure has been observed, and David understood that the failure came from the fact that they “did not carry it the first time, [so] the LORD our God broke out against us, because we did not seek him according to the rule“.  Exodus 24:15 was thus observed in chapter 15:15.  The LORD thus helped the Levites (who had prepared joyous music in this act of worship, see v. 16-25), and their response was to sacrifice seven bulls and seven rams (v.26; c.f. Numbers 23:1; Job 42:8; Ezekiel 45:23) – at the same time, David was dressed as a Levite, robed in fine linen with a linen ephod.  This is a grand picture of the Saviour in His fullness, the salvific work of the Lamb through His sinless sacrifice, the glorious High Priest and King coming in the sound of the horn, trumpets, cymbals, harps and lyres (c.f. Book of Revelation).

Yet, in this wonderful occasion, the chapter ends with Michal’s jealousy for David which is nothing like the jealous love of the LORD.  Her heart for David consumed her above her love for the LORD (2 Samuel 6:23), forgetting what the mystery of marriage truly is about (Ephesians 5:22-33).

1 Chronicles 12-15: Seeking the Father in the days of Christ

2 Kings 19-20: Peace and prosperity in the days of the King

II Kings 19:

1  As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD. 2  And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3  They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4  It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5  When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6  Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7  Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”

 

Hezekiah’s hope is high – “It may be that your Christ heard all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the Father, and will rebuke the words that your Christ has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left” (a more Christocentric translation of the Hebrew).  He knows that the Son has heard these mocking words of blasphemy from Rabshakeh, and that the Father as His witness would rebuke these same words (c.f. John 8:18).  Isaiah thus prays for a spirit of fear to be placed in the heart of this Assyrian king, despite the prideful man’s many victories against neighbouring nations for these nations too have relied on their gods to deliver them, but to no avail:

 

8  The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he heard that the king had left Lachish. 9  Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, 10  “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11  Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12  Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13  Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’”

 

14  Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. 15  And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16  Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17  Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18  and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19  So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”

 

It is refreshing to see a king lying prostrate before the King of the heavens – the LORD who is enthroned above the cherubim, above the mercy seat in the house of the LORD before which Hezekiah prayed (Exodus 25:22).  The kings of Assyria have rightly cast the gods of these nations into the fire, “for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands”.  Is that not the same pandemic facing the world today?  Let us therefore wait on the true LORD to save us from the false leaders of this world, so that the glory of God may be revealed for all to see and be shamed!

 

Thus says the LORD through Isaiah:

 

20  Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21  This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him:

 

“She despises you, she scorns you—

the virgin daughter of Zion;

she wags her head behind you—

the daughter of Jerusalem.

22  “Whom have you mocked and reviled?

Against whom have you raised your voice

and lifted your eyes to the heights?

Against the Holy One of Israel!

23  By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,

and you have said, ‘With my many chariots

I have gone up the heights of the mountains,

to the far recesses of Lebanon;

I felled its tallest cedars,

its choicest cypresses;

I entered its farthest lodging place,

its most fruitful forest.

24  I dug wells

and drank foreign waters,

and I dried up with the sole of my foot

all the streams of Egypt.’

25  “Have you not heard

that I determined it long ago?

I planned from days of old

what now I bring to pass,

that you should turn fortified cities

into heaps of ruins,

26  while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,

are dismayed and confounded,

and have become like plants of the field

and like tender grass,

like grass on the housetops,

blighted before it is grown.

27  “But I know your sitting down

and your going out and coming in,

and your raging against me.

28  Because you have raged against me

and your complacency has come into my ears,

I will put my hook in your nose

and my bit in your mouth,

and I will turn you back on the way

by which you came.

 

These words of judgment against Sennacherib are staunch reminders of how Sennacherib could even potentially achieve victory against Israel to begin with – because the LORD allows it (v.25) – the LORD’s plan from days of old, that is to save men from their sins by the sacrifice of His divine Son (Genesis 3:15).  The Holy One of Israel is not pleased (c.f. Isaiah 41) – for He is the Christ, the remnant of the house of Judah who shall take root downward and bear fruit upward (c.f. Psalm 1).  “The zeal of the LORD will do this”.  Indeed, it is this same zeal of the LORD that the one remnant Jesus Christ indeed took root in the international church and bore fruit for the Gentiles to feed from Him (Romans 11).

 

29  “And this shall be the sign for you: this year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same. Then in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30  And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31  For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.

 

32  “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 33  By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. 34  For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

 

Thus, the messenger of the LORD Jesus Christ went out to strike down many men in the Assyrian camps, pushing Sennacherib back home to Nineveh, worshipping his false god Nisroch (the great eagle) when he should have hid under His wings (c.f. Ezekiel 1:10).  Yet, his demise is akin to the demise of those conspiring kings of Israel – being struck down by Adrammelech (splendor of the king) and Sharezer (prince of fire) only to pave way to Esarhaddon (victor), the irony that his son is named after one of the idols Adrammelech.  This does not bode well for the royal family of Assyria has they increasingly ignore the might and presence of Christ Jesus, hence their eventual ruin:

 

35  And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36  Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. 37  And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

 

II Kings 20:

1  In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’” 2  Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3  “Now, O LORD, please remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4  And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5  “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD, 6  and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” 7  And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.”

 

Thus, on the third day, the son of God is given life (v.5) – fifteen years of more life for the purpose of seeing Jerusalem redeemed from the hand of the king of Assyria.  Yet, this life is not eternal, and is a reminder that Hezekiah serves only as a shadow and reminder to the Christ who shall rise again to achieve an eternal peace in New Jerusalem.  Thus Hezekiah recovers from a cake of sweet figs (1 Samuel 30:12)  contrary to the fig tree without figs, which offends Christ (Mark 11:13-14; sign of peace and prosperity – c.f. 1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10).

 

8  And Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up to the house of the LORD on the third day?” 9  And Isaiah said, “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he has promised: shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or go back ten steps?” 10  And Hezekiah answered, “It is an easy thing for the shadow to lengthen ten steps. Rather let the shadow go back ten steps.” 11  And Isaiah the prophet called to the LORD, and he brought the shadow back ten steps, by which it had gone down on the steps of Ahaz.

 

This event is also recorded in Isaiah 38.  In the words of Matthew Henry:

 

He cried unto the Lord by special warrant and direction, and God brought the sun back ten degrees, which appeared to Hezekiah (for the sign was intended for him) by the going back of the shadow upon the dial of Ahaz, which, it is likely, he could see through his chamber-window; and the same was observed upon all other dials, even in Babylon, 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. Whether this retrograde motion of the sun was gradual or per saltum–suddenly–whether it went back at the same pace that it used to go forward, which would make the day ten hours longer than usual–or whether it darted back on a sudden, and, after continuing a little while, was restored again to its usual place, so that no change was made in the state of the heavenly bodies (as the learned bishop Patrick thinks)–we are not told; but this work of wonder shows the power of God in heaven as well as on earth, the great notice he takes of prayer, and the great favour he bears to his chosen. The most plausible idolatry of the heathen was theirs that worshipped the sun; yet that was hereby convicted of the most egregious folly and absurdity, for by this it appeared that their god was under the check of the God of Israel. Dr. Lightfoot suggests that the fifteen songs of degrees (Ps. cxx., &c.) might perhaps be so called because selected by Hezekiah to be sung to his stringed instruments (Isa. xxxviii. 20) in remembrance of the degrees on the dial which the sun went back and the fifteen years added to his life; and he observes how much of these psalms is applicable to Jerusalem’s distress and deliverance and Hezekiah’s sickness and recovery.

 

12  At that time Merodach-baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13  And Hezekiah welcomed them, and he showed them all his treasure house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his armory, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 14  Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” 15  He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.”

 

Yet, in spite of Hezekiah’s recovery, he opens his house to the man ominously entitled Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan – meaning death who has given a son.  The son of death therefore takes Hezekiah to Sheol, and Isaiah pronounces the inevitable judgment on Israel:

 

16  Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: 17  Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. 18  And some of your own sons, who shall be born to you, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 19  Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?”

 

20  The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah and all his might and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? 21  And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son reigned in his place.

 

Yet, Hezekiah is not the promised son of Psalms 1-2.  He is but a faint (though incredibly influential and powerful) shadow, who brought temporary prosperity to Israel.  This is, however, not enough.  Note the LORD tested him through the son of death, these Babylonians, only to reveal Hezekiah’s flawed heart – the narrative showing a king whose life is marked by peace and security in his days.  This prophecy, however, would ring different in relation to Christ – whose peace and security in His days would be everlasting.  Perhaps this is why Hezekiah believes “the word of the LORD that you have spoken is good” (v.19) – for if only this were true also for Christ, then the eternal God-man would be able to bring far more peace and security than a sinful man like Hezekiah.  If Hezekiah, a tainted picture of what would otherwise be a glorious truth, a man reborn only to not make return according to the benefit done to him, could nonetheless bring temporal peace and prosperity – what more can the glorious Christ, the sinless God-man and Redeemer of Hezekiah, give to the future of Israel?  Yet, until then, we ponder on the life of Hezekiah as he points us towards the God whom he put his faith in (2 Chronicles 32:25-31):

 

25  But Hezekiah did not make return according to the benefit done to him, for his heart was proud. Therefore wrath came upon him and Judah and Jerusalem. 26  But Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

 

27  And Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of costly vessels; 28  storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil; and stalls for all kinds of cattle, and sheepfolds. 29  He likewise provided cities for himself, and flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great possessions. 30  This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works. 31  And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.

2 Kings 19-20: Peace and prosperity in the days of the King

2 Kings 5-6: Prophet of Israel, for the Gentiles

II Kings 5:

1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.

2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife.

3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.”

5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

 

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothes.

6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

 

Consider the perilous times in which Elisha persisted for the LORD.  Even the Christ had this to say about Naaman in Luke 4:24-27 –

 

24 And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown.

25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,

26 and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.

27 And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

Indeed – who is Elisha sent to except to the Israelites?  And yet, if not for Jehoshaphat, the king of Israel would be ignored because Elisha and Elijah have been similarly persecuted.  In the same vein as their object of desire, Christ, they have walked in a path honouring to the Gentiles in bringing them closer to the LORD:

 

There were many widows After throwing back upon themselves the blame of their being deprived of miracles, he produces two examples to prove, that they ought not to think it strange, if God prefers strangers to the inhabitants of the country, and that they ought not to find fault with him for obeying the call of God, as was formerly done by Elijah and Elisha. He throws out an indirect hint as to their vanity and presumption, in entertaining a dislike of him, because he had been brought up among them. When there was a great famine for three years and a half, there were many widows in Israel, whose want of food Elijah was not commanded to relieve, but he was sent to a woman, who belonged to a foreign nation, Zidon, (1 Kings 17:9.) In like manner, Elisha healed no lepers among his countrymen, but he healed Naaman, a Syrian, (2 Kings 5:10.)

 

Though his reproofs strike the inhabitants of Nazareth with peculiar severity, yet he charges the whole nation with ingratitude, because, for a long period, almost all of them had proceeded to more shameful contempt of the Lord, in proportion as he had approached nearer to them. For how did it come about, that a woman, who was a foreigner, was preferred by God to all the Israelites, but because the prophet had been rejected by them, and compelled to seek refuge in a heathen land? And why did God choose that Naaman, a Syrian, should be healed by Elisha, but to put a disgrace on the nation of Israel? The meaning, therefore, is, that the same thing happens now as in former times, when God sends his power to a great distance among foreigners, because he is rejected by the inhabitants of the country.”

 

Note, however, that Elisha’s reputation to Naaman is simply that of the healer.  However, to the servant girl of Naaman’s wife, Elisha is the prophet!  In this chapter, it is this servant girl who acts as the Jehoshaphat, who ushers in Christ working through Elisha.  Neither Naaman, nor the king of Israel, recognize Elisha as a man of God but the girl who recognizes his power.  Yet, Elisha’s decision to heal Naaman is indirectly a service to ensure that Israel is protected; so also, Christ’s choice to reach out to the gentiles is not to replace Israel but rather to restore Israel (Romans 11:25-26).

 

8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.

10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”

11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.

12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”

14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

 

Naaman’s reaction is indeed revealing of the presuppositions surrounding the Christian faith then (v.11).  It would appear that the reputation of prophets is (i) the calling upon the name of the LORD, and (ii) waving of the hand.  However, Elisha as prophet undercuts these presuppositions.  Instead, he simply says “Wash, and be clean” (c.f. Matthew 9:5).  This is a direct affront to the religiosity of the day, the formula and systematic theology of Christianity in Naaman’s time.  Yet, the LORD is not to be contained in human predictions, though He stays true to His triune personalities by healing Naaman in ways unconventional even to the Pharisee’s understanding.  By dipping himself in the symbolic Jordan river, Naaman is partaking in the act which turned the Israelites from mere tribal men to princes of a chosen country (c.f. Joshua 3).  The restoration of his skin, in a number of times representing rest (c.f. Genesis 2:2), is but a firstfruit of new creation.  We too shall see Naaman with child-like rather than leprous skin in New Jerusalem.

 

 

15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.”

16 But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused.

17 Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mules’ load of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD.

18 In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.”

 

It is important to see that Naaman was only addressed by Elisha’s messenger; and upon his cleansing, he goes to see Elisha, face-to-face.  This new life is again a theme explored in the previous chapter, where Elisha brings the Shulammite woman’s son back to life, face-to-face.  Naaman’s conversion is therefore complete – he declares that there is no God in all earth but in Israel, for God is the Healer and Physician (v.15).  His theology is precise – he did not offer anything for his cleansing, but his free-will offering comes out of a heart of gratefulness in having partaken in God’s glory.  For once, we see Elisha’s view of missions – there is no justification for Naaman to stay in Israel as a spiritual Israelite; the truth of Elisha’s mission, as described by Jesus in Luke 4, is that the Christian is to go to all men, and not just to Israel.  Thus, in v.19, Elisha tells Naaman that he is to go in peace, back to Syria a land of false worship – yet, in doing so, Elisha has made a new disciple who would proclaim but one thing – that the God of Israel, the God of Elisha, is the only true God in all the earth.  As symbolic of the importance of the land of Israel, Naaman’s request is not so strange:

 

“He that awhile ago had spoken very slightly of the waters of Israel ( 12) now is in another extreme, and over-values the earth of Israel, supposing (since God has appointed altars of earth, Exod. xx. 24) that an altar of that earth would be most acceptable to him, not considering that all the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof. Or perhaps the transport of his affection and veneration for the prophet, not only upon the account of his power, but of his virtue and generosity, made him, as we say, love the very ground he went upon and desire to have some of it home with him.” – Matthew Henry

 

The irony that he should not wish to worship the idol Rimmon, which intimates fruitfulness (meaning literally ‘pomegranate’) but that he rather settle with the waters of Jordan and the earth of Israel.  He has begun to see through the falsities of religion and grasp at the beauty of Israel because of her God.

 

 

19 He said to him, “Go in peace.”

But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance,

20 Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “See, my master has spared this Naaman the Syrian, in not accepting from his hand what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

21 So Gehazi followed Naaman. And when Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is all well?”

22 And he said, “All is well. My master has sent me to say, ‘There have just now come to me from the hill country of Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets. Please give them a talent of silver and two festal garments.’”

23 And Naaman said, “Be pleased to accept two talents.” And he urged him and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two festal garments, and laid them on two of his servants. And they carried them before Gehazi.

24 And when he came to the hill, he took them from their hand and put them in the house, and he sent the men away, and they departed.

25 He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.”

26 But he said to him, “Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants?

27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow.

 

It is a sad affair that Gehazi’s name is in direct contradiction to the illness of leprosy.  This ‘valley of vision’ is has lost sight of the LORD and had clung onto the silver and festal garments instead.  This deceit was plain in Spirit-filled Elisha’s eyes.  This is not the right time to accept money and garmens, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants – such is but the extrapolation of what Gehazi truly wanted from Naaman’s gifts.  The extent of spiritual sight is a divine measure of our heart’s motivation:

 

“Had Gehazi yet to learn that prophets had spiritual eyes? or could he think to hide any thing from a seer, from him with whom the secret of the Lord was? Note, It is folly to presume upon sin in hopes of secresy. When thou goest aside into any by-path does not thy own conscience go with thee? Does not the eye of God go with thee? He that covers his sin shall not prosper, particularly a lying tongue is but for a moment, Prov. xii. 19. Truth will transpire, and often comes to light strangely, to the confusion of those that make lies their refuge. (2.) What he designed, though he kept that in his own breast. He could tell him the very thoughts and intents of his heart, that he was projecting, now that he had got these two talents, to purchase ground and cattle, to leave Elisha’s service, and to set up for himself. Note, All the foolish hopes and contrivances of carnal worldlings are open before God. And he tells him also the evil of it: “Is it a time to receive money? Is this an opportunity of enriching thyself? Couldst thou find no better way of getting money than by belying thy master and laying a stumbling-block before a young convert?” Note, Those that are for getting wealth at any time, and by any ways and means whatsoever, right or wrong, lay themselves open to a great deal of temptation. Those that will be rich (per fas, per nefas; rem, rem, quocunque modo rem–by fair means, by foul means; careless of principle, intent only on money) drown themselves in destruction and perdition, 1 Tim. vi. 9. War, and fire, and plague, and shipwreck, are not, as many make them, things to get money by. It is not a time to increase our wealth when we cannot do it but in such ways as are dishonourable to God and religion or injurious to our brethren or the public.” – Matthew Henry

 

He is therefore revealed in his true form, being a sinful man, unclean inside and out.

 

II Kings 6:

1 Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us.

2 Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.”

3 Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.”

4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees.

5 But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.”

6 Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float.

7 And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

 

This episode is most unusual and seemingly out of place.  Why did the narrator decide to include the miracle in v.1-7 here?  If anything, removing v.1-7 would enable the story from chapter 5 to flow naturally into v.8 of chapter 6 directly.  Rather, the restoration of the axe head leads me to two other places in the Word:

Deuteronomy 19: 4-6 – If anyone kills his neighbor unintentionally without having hated him in the past— 5as when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down a tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live, 6lest(D) the avenger of blood in hot anger pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and strike him fatally, though the man did not deserve to die, since he had not hated his neighbor in the past.

Luke 3:8-10 –

8Bear fruits(A) in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves,(B) ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from(C) these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 9Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees.(D) Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

These two places are firm reminders for us that the axe head laid onto the woods in Jordan is a picture of the enlargement of God’s kingdom – the divine increase.  Yet, under Deuteronomy 19 and Luke 3, we are reminded that symbolically – the axe loses its purpose if its head is removed.  Under Deuteronomy 19, this may even lead to an innocent death.  Yet in Luke 3, the axe head is to remain on the axe to ensure that every tree that does not bear good fruit is to be cut down, as a forewarning of judgment.  Elisha’s presence ensured that the axes do not lose their purpose in ensuring the enlargement of God’s kingdom, but all the meanwhile a faint reminder of the coming verses of judgment against Syria.  In this manner, the story of Naaman’s healing, followed by the restoration of the axe head serves as a pretext to the destruction of the Syrian forces and the enlargement of spiritual Israel.

 

8 Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.”

9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.”

10 And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.

11 And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?”

12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”

13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.”

14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.

 

Unlike the previous chapter where Elisha seems to be unknown even to Naaman, the reputation of Elisha has spread even to the ears of the king of Syria by way of one of his servants (v.12).  The servant recognizes Elisha’s power.  It is possible that Naaman, upon his return to Syria, was a twofold witness – he preached the Word in providing greater knowledge to the Syrians that Elisha possesses such might because of the LORD, and he was a living witness of a leprous man now with child-like skin (c.f. Matthew 8:4).

 

15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

18 And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha.

19 And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.

 

 

20 As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

21 As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?”

22 He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.”

23 So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.

 

Elisha’s gift of spiritual sight is thus transferred to his servant (who may not be Gehazi) as a reminder of the reality of the force of light in extinguishing darkness (John 1:5).  There was never a struggle against the Satan – Christ was victorious even before creation, even before the fall (Revelation 13:8).  Yet, the enemy who is the prince of air (Ephesians 2:2) is but a temporary illusion until our creation is renewed.

 

Further, instead of fulfilling the bloodthirsty nature of the king of Israel (which only led to the sacrifice of the firstborn in 2 Kings 3), Elisha preached the Christian message of loving one’s enemies, preparing a great feast in the land of Samaria.  What a wondrous picture of the LORD’s mercy in uniting the Syrians and Israelites in the residing land of Elisha, a foretelling of the removed divides between nations in their faith in Christ to gather in the place of the prophet, in the heart of mountains of Israel.  However, the Syrians were not accompanies by their king – and their head still clings onto Rimmon rather than Yahweh, the provider of the great feast of Samaria.

 

24 Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria.

25 And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.

26 Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”

27 And he said, “If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?”

28 And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’

29 So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.”

30 When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body—

31 and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”

 

What ignorance of the king of Israel – in his blood is only the message of violence and vengeance.  Yet, Elisha preached a message of vulnerable love only to be crucified in return, the lamb led to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), the true picture of a man of God.

 

The picture of Samaria, however, is indeed tragic.  The hosting venue of a momentous feast between Israelites and Syrians is now but a desolate place with a great famine (v.25).  Yet the LORD’s favour lies not only with Israel, but through Israel, is to bless Samaria.  The king of Israel could only think of murder, forgetting that it is Elisha who intercedes to bless Israel and in turn, bless Samaria.

 

32 Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Now the king had dispatched a man from his presence, but before the messenger arrived Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent to take off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold the door fast against him. Is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”

33 And while he was still speaking with them, the messenger came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the LORD! Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”

 

It is interesting to see the messenger of the king of Israel speak such words of despair.  “This trouble is from the LORD!  Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”  That is exactly the difference between the loyalty of the king of Israel and the loyalty of Elisha, who was in the good company of the elders; whereas the king stands alone in his persecution of holy men.   Yet, is this not the remedy of the world, that we place our blame on others?  Surely it is the king who is to blame; the king who has not taken the sin upon himself as the head of the nation (Deuteronomy 17:18-19).  The trouble is not from the LORD – the trouble is from the Christless king.

2 Kings 5-6: Prophet of Israel, for the Gentiles

1 Kings 1: Jesus, King above Solomon

It is easy to presume that 1 and 2 Samuel are but a precursor to the great reign of the kings of Israel.  In some sense, there is truth to that presumption – we have first seen the kings of the world in (Genesis 14); these enraged madmen fighting each other, only to be easily defeated by the Spirit-filled Abraham.  Where the kings fought for land (Genesis 14:18-22) and lordship, Abraham fought to save his nephew Lot.  Such is the love of the Christ who would fight for the one sheep (Luke 15:4-6).  Such is the love of the anointed one who would reclaim the dead bones from the enemy’s bondage (1 Samuel 31:13) to give it a new lease.  A new life (2 Samuel 21:12-14).

Yet, 2 Samuel did not end with a victorious bang of man’s triumph over sin.  It is quite the opposite – much like the first time the Satan appeared in the story of creation, Satan re-appears for the first time in the narration of the story (though referenced by 1 Chronicles 21:1) to tempt the anointed king to number the physical church.  This mandate is so disgusting that even Joab, the murderous army general, thought it to be repulsive.  Yet, the LORD had used this opportunity to display the greater gospel, the flesh and body of Whom David was a mere shadow of.  The Angel of the LORD, who stood by the burnt offering, in the very place of Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1), where the same Angel, Sent One of the Father, would Himself be sacrificed for the sins of mankind.

With 2 Samuel ending with the failure of king David, the inevitable enthronement of Solomon (the oath between Bathsheba and Solomon never mentioned throughout 2 Samuel) is shrouded with mystery.  Is this boy the one who will secure the Kingdom of David eternally (2 Samuel 7)?  Though the Israelites would like to believe so, it is the end of 2 Samuel which has already dictated that this Adam is not to be the true inheritor of the kingdom of heaven, just as the first Adam in the garden was made of dust outside of the heavenly garden.  Solomon, like the rest of the kings in 1 and 2 Kings, are but continuing the baton of the Light, until the Light of the World enters darkness upon the Father’s speech (Genesis 1:3 – “Let there be light” – light was not created) and order is brought to a chaotic world ruled by corrupt kings, hypocritical Pharisees, fallen government, sexual orgies, what have you.

And the weakness of Adam is not only displayed at the end of 2 Samuel, but immediately in 1 Kings 1 – David is old and advanced in age.  He is not the same young shepherd boy who defeated Goliath with a smooth stone.  He is not the same man who had led the mighty thirty.  Instead, we see a faint picture of a return to the garden – the weakness of man in covering oneself up with man-made garment, failing entirely to keep the body warm.  Only Jesus, the Second Person who walked with Adam (Genesis 3:8) in the garden, could provide the animal skin.  And thus, the first death in creation was not Abel, as sometimes improperly chronicled by commentators.  Rather, the first death is the innocent animal, the robe of righteousness over Adam (Isaiah 61).  The mysterious Abishag (“given to error / ignorance of the father”), never again mentioned in Scripture, who is a Shunammite, from the tribe of Issachar (Joshua 13:18) – she is the beautiful woman who can give David warmth.  Yet, simultaneous to David’s weakness in being cloaked by the beautiful flesh; simultaneous to the Fatherly love towards Adam in cloaking him with the beautiful animal garment compared to the filthy man-made rags, is the very fact that both Adam and David have fallen.  Where Adam fell by submitting to the serpent, David here is simply marred by the consequence of Adam’s sin as he nears the very death that Adam had caused.  So the enemy moves like a ravenous wolf (Matthew 7:15), like a prowling lion (1 Peter 5:8), waiting to usurp the Father’s throne.

Is this not the very behaviour of Adonijah (“my Lord is Jehovah”), the son of Haggith (“festive” – 2 Samuel 3:4, a wife of David), bearing such charm like Absalom (2 Samuel 15:13) and appealing to both Joab and Abiathar (who had once aided David in his escape in 1 Samuel 22, bearing the ark of God back to Jerusalem alongside Zadok in 2 Samuel 15:29-36)?  Like Amnon (2 Samuel 13), “…his father had never at any time displeased him…”.  Just like Adam, David had inherited the first man’s sin of silence when his wife listened to the serpent.

5Now(B) Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.”(C) And he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” He was also a very handsome man,(D) and he was born next after Absalom. 7He conferred with(E) Joab the son of Zeruiah and with(F) Abiathar the priest. And they followed Adonijah and helped him. 8But(G) Zadok the priest and(H) Benaiah the son of Jehoiada and(I) Nathan the prophet and(J) Shimei and Rei and(K) David’s mighty men were not with Adonijah.

9Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fattened cattle by the Serpent’s Stone, which is beside(L) En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king’s sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, 10but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the mighty men or(M) Solomon his brother.

Is this therefore not the classic case of pretence in religion?  That Adonijah should choose the one mighty man not in the ranks of the thirty; one of the two renowned priests who had stood alongside David (2 Samuel 15-19); and chose to invite all the other brothers of David’s lineage and all the royal officials of Judah?  These are all choice men, men of honour, men of influence, great men who can aid Adonijah rise to high places (Luke 6:35, 14:12); but it is the prophet Nathan who rebuked David (2 Samuel 12); it is Zadok the priest and Benaiah who carried the ark and was one of the mighty three respectively (2 Samuel 15, 23); and it is Shimei  (likely to be one of the twelve officers of Solomon in 1 Kings 4:18) and Rei (v.8 – one who was never mentioned again in Scripture but was named explicitly in this chapter simply for his allegiance to David just as we are named for we stand under the banner of Christ) and David’s mighty men who belonged to the caliber of men who would lay their lives before the LORD to retrieve water for David (2 Samuel 23).

Following this, we see the underlying Trinitarian mediation at play – from Bathsheba standing as the witness between David and Solomon, to Nathan, standing between Bathsheba and David in confirming her words that Solomon is the chosen oath.  He is part of Christ’s election, promised by David to Bathsheba and confirmed by Nathan – the importance lying in the fact that Solomon is not David’s explicit choice after 2 Samuel 7, enabling the reader and hearer of this chapter to understand that David saw beyond Solomon.

Notice how in verse 14 that Nathan encourages Bathsheba to first speak, then Nathan enters (v.22) to confirm Bathsheba’s words.  Notice how v.16-21 (Bathsheba’s words) are almost exactly mirrored by Nathan’s words in v.22-27; the latter adding extra details, such as the inclusion of the “commanders” of the army (where Bathsheba spoke only of Joab, the one commander who was invited); and secondly v.25b-27: “And behold, they are eating and drinking before him, and saying,(V) ‘Long live King Adonijah!’ 26(W) But me, your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon he has not invited.”  Such is the manner of witness and of revelation, that truth is brought as light into darkness just as the Son’s witness is the Spirit before the heavenly Father, as we see Bathsheba’s witness as the prophet Nathan before the great king.  Notice how, throughout this chapter (at least five times the phrase “King David”, not to mention the numerous times David is simply referred to as king despite Adonijah’s “kingship”) David is still referred to as “King” – as is to denote strongly that Adonijah’s self-exaltation, enthronement and celebration is ridiculed by the narration.  David is still King.  Not Adonjiah.  Therefore this appeal is made even more powerful, as Adonijah appeals to his religious exterior and pretence, but Bathsheba and Nathan appeal to the true king and shadow of Christ whose reason to honour his oath is because of the LORD (v.29-30):

28Then King David answered, “Call Bathsheba to me.” So she came into the king’s presence and stood before the king. 29And the king swore, saying,(X) “As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity, 30(Y) as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,’ even so will I do this day.” 31Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and paid homage to the king and said,(Z) “May my lord King David live forever!”

32King David said, “Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.” So they came before the king. 33And the king said to them, “Take with you(AA) the servants of your lord and have Solomon my son ride on my own mule, and bring him down to(AB) Gihon. 34And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there(AC) anoint him king over Israel.(AD) Then blow the trumpet and say,(AE) ‘Long live King Solomon!’ 35You shall then come up after him, and he shall come and sit on my throne, for he shall be king in my place. And I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.” 36And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, “Amen! May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, say so. 37(AF) As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may he be with Solomon,(AG) and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.”

Note David’s command to the servants who have not defected to Adonijah’s camp – “Take with you the servants of your lord” (v.33).  His first command is immediately mingled with an implication of faithfulness.  Who is their “lord” but David?  Who is the LORD of lords but Yahweh (v.37; Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3; 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16).  Who are the servants but Cherethites and Pelethites (“executioners” and “couriers” from foreign land – 1 Samuel 30:14; 2 Samuel 15:18; Ezekiel 25:16; Zephaniah 2:5)?  The second command is then in relation to Solomon’s enthronement and anointing by way of the mule (Matthew 21), and bringing him down to Gihon, the valley of grace and one of the rivers flowing out of the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:13) – a powerful image of not only Solomon’s anointing, but also of victorious works (in relation to Hezekiah and the Fish Gate – 2 Chronicles 32:30, 33:14), as well as it being the only natural spring of water in the vicinity of Jerusalem as it feeds the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7).  In this pool of healing, we now begin to see the healing of the nation by the leadership of Solomon one of whose first acts as king is the marriage alliance with Egypt.  This is reminiscent of Gishon as a river in the Ethiopian regions of Cush, reminding us of the Israel-Gentile relationship.

Such is the foundational difference between Solomon being made the heir of David’s throne, as opposed to Adonijah’s enthronement which is not surrounded by the humility of the passage by mule; nor by the Spirit-anointing (Hebrews 1:9; Psalm 89:20; 1 John 2:27); nor by the trumpet blowing reminiscent of the trumpet blowing of the opening of the year (Leviticus 23:24, the seventh month, the month of Tishri, being the first month of the year being the day of trumpets) and LORD’s return (Revelation 11:15).  This is the grand picture of the true enthronement of our LORD Jesus, who by the trumpet blast enters into our world victoriously when creation is riddled with faux-kings (Genesis 14) and a faux Baal (Matthew 4:9), shattering the delusion created by the false angel (2 Corinthians 11:14).  Just as Solomon is anointed as king by both priest and prophet as confirmatory witnesses to Solomon’s new lordship, so also it is by the Levitical priesthood and prophethood established in pre-Israel days (Genesis 14:18; Exodus 2:16; Genesis 20:7; Exodus 7:1) which precedes and underlines the qualification of true lordship, for Christ is not only LORD but also prophet and priest (John 7:40; Hebrews 5:6) before He is proclaimed as LORD of all creation (Hebrews 1:13, 10:13).

38So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada,(AH) and the Cherethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon ride on King David’s mule and brought him to Gihon. 39There Zadok the priest took the horn of(AI) oil from the tent and(AJ) anointed Solomon.(AK) Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said,(AL) “Long live King Solomon!” 40And all the people went up after him, playing on pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise.

Contrast v.40 with v.41 – where there was true joy in the anointing of Solomon, the one appointed by God, we also see a rejoicing at the feasting table of Adonjiah.  However, such feasting has no foundation, just as the feasting of those mighty men of Nimrod in the days of Noah (Genesis 10) were not scenes of Christocentric joy.  This juxtaposition of v.40 and 41 is therefore very poignant in pointing out the eternal gladness of Solomon’s kingship in comparison to the temporary man-made gladness stemming not from God’s election, but from man’s religious self-election.  Joab’s ignorance is akin to the ignorance of the men who scoffed at Noah (Genesis 7; 2 Peter 2:13) – “What does this uproar in the city mean”? (v.41), suggesting that these men of Adonijah neither knew nor served the true king.  “This is the noise that you have heard” (or “voice” which is a better description, the same “voice” of God in Genesis 3:8) – what a clanging stumbling block of a noise in Joab’s ears, that he should receive the true king like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5)!

It comes therefore as no surprise that the chapter ends triumphantly, a picture of rejoicing shattering the false image of v.41 with the delusion revealed in v.49.  “…all the guests… trembled and rose, and each went his own way”.  What a prototypical picture of the day of Christ’s return! (Revelation 6:16-17)  That even Adonijah, in the midst of his fear, would go to the horns of the altar (Exodus 30:10 – where the High Priest shall make atonement on its horns once a year as most holy sin offering throughout the generations), and appeal to King Solomon by first going to the altar of sacrifice where Christ’s blood would lay.  And just is the response of Solomon, upon hearing that Adonijah has laid hold of the altar’s horns (v.51) – that he shall prove he does not hold onto Christ emptily, but that he will prove it by his good works (1 John 3; James 2:14).

1 Kings 1: Jesus, King above Solomon

1 Samuel 8: That’s My King

Who is the King?

“The law and the prophets and evangelists have declared that Christ was born of a virgin, and suffered on the cross; was raised also from the dead, and taken up to heaven; that He was glorified, and reigns for ever. He is Himself termed the Perfect Intellect, the Word of God. He is the First-begotten, after a transcendent manner, the Creator of man; All in all; Patriarch among the patriarchs; Law in the law; the Priest among priests; among kings Prime Leader; the Prophet among the prophets; the Angel among angels; the Man among men; Son in the Father; God in God; King to all eternity. He was sold with Joseph, and He guided Abraham; was bound along with Isaac, and wandered with Jacob; with Moses He was Leader, and, respecting the people, Legislator. He preached in the prophets; was incarnate of a virgin; born in Bethlehem; received by John, and baptized in Jordan; was tempted in the desert, and proved to be the Lord. He gathered the apostles together, and preached the kingdom of heaven; gave light to the blind, and raised the dead; was seen in the temple, but was not held by the people as worthy of credit; was arrested by the priests, conducted before Herod, and condemned in the presence of Pilate; He manifested Himself in the body, was suspended upon a beam of wood, and raised from the dead; shown to the apostles, and, having been carried up to heaven, sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and has been glorified by Him as the Resurrection of the dead. Moreover, He is the Salvation of the lost, the Light to those dwelling in darkness, and Redemption to those who have been born; the Shepherd of the saved, and the Bridegroom of the Church; the Charioteer of the cherubim, the Leader of the angelic host; God of God; Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Irenaeus, Fragments 54)

Indeed, the Lamb is my King.  Yet, will my King be presented as one like the kings of the nations (v.20)?  Will he go out before us and fight our battles like the worthy knights, soldiers and infantrymen of yesteryear?

No – our King’s strength is in His weakness to His Father.  He is the One Sent by His Father, but He can do nothing by Himself (John 8:16, 8:29).  A bruised reed He shall not break (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20), for His strength is manifested entirely as that nursing lamb (chapter 7:9) led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7).  He is our God who shall not be sculpted by human hands (c.f. Deuteronomy 27:6), for He is who He is (Exodus 3:14, John 8:58), who rules and mediates from His Father’s right hand (Psalm 110, Hebrews 12:2, 1 Peter 3:22).

Yet, this King shall not come through Samuel’s line; much like the beheaded Baptist who paved the path for Jesus of Nazareth, so also Samuel’s descendants – whatever name they bear, be Jehovah their true Father or God – will not live in the covenant typifying the relationship of the true Father and the Son.  Samuel will continue to stand at the end of his circuit, at Mizpah the watchtower, watching for the one true king who destroys the world’s Spirit-less recognition of kingship (Matthew 17:12).  Only this role is fulfilled by the Davidic royal line superseding that of the priestly office – the line of Melchizedek, the King-Priest.  Unlike the household of Eli where the high priest led the Israelites astray, Samuel stays faithful to the LORD who still speaks to him despite his children’s perversion of justice; and it is clear that if it is not Samuel’s children who are to lead the Israelites, then it is either through God’s appointed King or the pitiful king who does not follow His ways, but the ways of the pagans.  Instead of obeying the Word of God, they obeyed the words of the surrounding nations.  What simple blasphemy and usurpation of the true throne, as is prophesied by the missing ark-throne which is left neglected until the one worthy of the throne, David, seeks to restore it in its rightful tabernacle.  What simple adultery as prophesied by the golden calf of Exodus 32, that the Israelites would dare imagine that these are the gods who took them out of Egypt!  Such is the idolatrous heart of man, that we seek to fill the throne with golden idols of our own creation, the truest expression of self-exaltation and self-worship.

All the while the true ark and throne is in Kiriath-jearim, the city of woods; the true David is shepherding his sheep peacefully in the pastures; the faithful High Priest is rejected, thus simultaneously rejecting Christ Himself who is the King of the parable:

Mat 25:31-46  “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  (32)  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  (33)  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  (34)  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  (35)  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  (36)  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  (37)  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  (38)  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  (39)  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  (40)  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’  (41)  “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  (42)  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  (43)  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  (44)  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  (45)  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  (46)  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

It is thus clear that the King who does not sacrifice himself for his men (v.13-18) is not the King of Scripture.  The King of Scripture is Immanuel – God with us, the Word who became flesh so that we receive Him and receive the Father at once in the Spirit, lest we obey the voice of man and create our own gods by our own hands and words.  “Make them a king” – the LORD said; indeed, we make many things our kings daily, but the true King is not made.  He is to be revealed and received as our Bridegroom, Lover, Head and Redeemer, identifying us as the kingdom of priests, citizens of New Jerusalem, which no other nation however magnificent can even imitate in their perversion of true justice and in their false understanding of true cruciform and Trinitarian kingship of mutual reliance and divine community.

1 Samuel 8: That’s My King