The Ultimate Victory.
1 Kings 1-2, 1 Corinthians 15
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 ESV
Ultimately, David had to die. Death is the eventual and unavoidable outcome for all men. David had reigned as king of Israel for 40 years, but that reign had to come to an end. And even as David prepared to pass from the scene, the soap-opera-like atmosphere continued to take place all around him. His son, Adonijah followed the example of his late brother, Absalom, and determined to make himself the next king of Israel. Sin continued to raise its ugly head in the household of David, resulting in an eventual confrontation between David’s two sins, Adonijah and Solomon. To prevent Adonijah from splitting the kingdom, David has Solomon anointed his successor and transfers the kingdom over to him. But the influence of sin continues to impact the lives of those who will outlive David. Solomon eventually is forced to have Adonijah executed because he poses a continual threat to his kingdom. Solomon also has Joab, the former commander of David’s army, executed for having taken the lives of two innocent men. Shemei, the man who cursed David as he was fleeing Jerusalem after Absalom had taken over his kingdom, is eventually executed for having violated his house arrest. Sin and death continue to rule and reign even after David has disappeared off the scene.
What does this passage reveal about God?
Sin is a constant reality for all of us on this planet. David experienced it. His son Solomon would soon recognize its undeniable influence not only over his kingdom, but his own life. God, who had created mankind to have an intimate, uninterrupted relationship with Himself, knew that sin would continue to cause chaos, confusion and destroy any chance of men having a right relationship with their Creator. But God had a plan. He had a solution to the problem of sin. David was simply a conduit through whom God would eventually bring a descendant who would conquer mankind’s greatest enemies: sin and death. David had been a mighty warrior, but he could never defeat the sin in his own life and he was totally incapable of conquering death. His son, Solomon, would be one of the wisest men who ever lived, but he would still find himself susceptible to sin and prone to living in broken fellowship with God. Paul told the Corinthians, “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:50 ESV). Man, in his natural state, is infected by sin and, therefore, so contaminated that he is unworthy to live in the presence of God. Just as Adonijah could not live as a citizen in Solomon’s kingdom, no man can be allowed to live in God’s kingdom. Our sin and propensity for insurrection make us unworthy and unacceptable.
What does this passage reveal about man?
David was a man after God’s own heart, but he still struggled with sin. He still failed to successfully live up to God’s righteous standards. His son, Solomon, was filled with wisdom, but he wasn’t smart enough to escape the influence of sin over his life. His disobedience and rebellion would eventually result in God’s division of the kingdom. Man’s only hope was going to come in the form of regeneration and resurrection. Man had to be completely renewed from within. He required a new nature, not a slightly improved version of the old one. God would have to give man a new heart and place a new spirit within him. God’s solution to man’s problem was a Savior. He sent His own Son to solve the sin problem by having Him live a sinless life in perfect obedience to the righteous commands of the Law. Jesus did what no man had ever done before – live without sin. His sinlessness made Him an acceptable sacrifice and substitute for man. Someone had to pay for the sins of mankind, and that someone had to be sinless. Jesus met the criteria and He gave His life so that God’s righteous judgment might be satisfied. God had to deal justly with the sin and rebellion of men. He couldn’t just overlook it or ignore it. Jesus had to die. Paul states it clearly. “…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5 ESV). Christ’s death was not enough. If all He had done was died, then He would simply have been a martyr. But Jesus died and was given back His life by God the Father. He was restored to life, proving that He was not just another man whose life ended in death. He actually conquered death. He proved that God was more powerful than death itself. Peter said of Jesus, “But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip” (Acts 2:23-24 NLT).
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
David’s death didn’t change anything. The world he left behind was just as screwed up as when he lived in it. His sons would continue to feud and fight over the kingdom he left behind. Sin would still influence and infect daily life. But the death of Jesus accomplished something incredible. It not only provided me with forgiveness of sin and payment for my penalty. It guarantees me eternal life. I no longer need to fear death. Physical death will eventually come to all. But eternal death, or permanent separation from God the Father, is not something I ever need to fear again. Because Jesus was raised again to new life, I will be given new life as well. “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (1 Corinthians 15:51-55 ESV). There is a day coming when I will leave this sin-filled world behind. I will leave my sinful nature behind. I will be renewed, regenerated and remade in the likeness of Christ. My sin nature will be done away with. This old body will be replaced with a new, spiritual body that will no longer be susceptible to sin, sickness, or death. “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV).
Father, thank You that I no longer need to fear death. There is a future for me and it is because Your Son has made it possible. I am undeserving of it, but I am grateful for it. Help me live my life on this earth with my focus fixed on the reality of heaven. This life is not all there is. There is more to come and it has been guaranteed by the death, burial and resurrection of Your Son. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men