The Reign of Christ.
1 Chronicles 17-18, Colossians 2
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever. – 1 Chronicles 17:13-14 ESV
David wanted to build a permanent structure in which to place the Ark of the Covenant. He desired to build a “house” or temple for God. But God let David know that He had more important plans for him. It was God’s intention to build a house for David, but in a metaphorical sense (1 Chronicles 17:10). The “house” God promised to build for David had to do with a kingly dynasty. “When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom” (1 Chronicles 17:11 ESV). This son, who would turn out to be Solomon, would fulfill David’s desire to build a temple for the Lord, and God promised to establish his kingdom forever. This is part of what is referred to as the Davidic Covenant. But we know that Solomon’s kingdom did not last forever. His reign ended poorly and God was forced to split the kingdom of Israel in half, dividing it between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Both of these nations would eventually end up in exile, and the city of Jerusalem would like in ruins for years, with no king ruling from the throne of David. And yet God had promised David concerning one of his heirs, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever” (1 Chronicles 17:13-14 ESV). The writer of Hebrews quotes these very verses when speaking of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He saw Jesus as the fulfillment of this portion of the covenant God had made with David. “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” (Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV). Quoting directly from 1 Chronicles 17, the writer of Hebrews says of Jesus, “For to which of the angels did God ever say, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’? Or again, ‘I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son’?”
Jesus was to be the offspring of David whose throne would be established forever. David’s “house” would be everlasting in nature, in spite of the sins of Solomon, the split of the nation of Israel, the failure of its kings, the fall of Jerusalem, or the exile of the people of God. The gospels of Luke and Matthew both make it clear that Jesus was a direct descendant of David and the rightful heir to the throne. The writer of Hebrews, quoting from another Old Testament passage, writes, “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions’” (Hebrews 1:8-9 ESV).
What does this passage reveal about God?
David’s kingdom was a foreshadowing of a far greater kingdom to come. David was a mighty warrior, but he cannot be compared to the One who will come at the end of the age and who will fully defeat the enemies of God once and for all. In fact, Paul reminds us that with His death on the cross and resurrection to new life, Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians 2:15 ESV). Solomon was a wise king, but his wisdom is nothing compared with that of Jesus, the Son of God. Again Paul refers to Him as “God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3 ESV). David and Solomon were mere men who, in spite of their love for God and desire to live for him, were ultimately sidetracked by their own sin. But Jesus was sinless. He was the God-man, in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9 ESV). He “is the head of all rule and authority” (Colossians 2:10 ESV). He is “the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:19 ESV). Jesus Christ was to be the fulfillment of God’s promise to David. With His arrival on earth, Jesus would establish a different kind of kingdom, one that was of a spiritual nature. At His trial before Pilate, Jesus claimed, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36 ESV). When Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king, He replied, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18:37 ESV). Jesus was and is the king God had promised, and His kingdom is everlasting and eternal. There will be no end to His rule or reign. In the book of the Revelation, we are given a glimpse into the future, when God will establish a “new heaven and a new earth” and “the holy city, new Jerusalem” will come “down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:1-3 ESV). And there in the new Jerusalem will be a throne, upon which will sit Jesus Christ, who will declare, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3 ESV).
What does this passage reveal about man?
So much of what we experience in our lifetimes is temporal and a mere shadow of what is to come. This world is not all there is and is not all it should be. There is still the presence and reality of sin. The enemies of God still exist and stand against the people of God. Satan still has a powerful influence over this world. But God is not yet done. As His children, we must constantly remind ourselves of this fact. We must not judge the success of God’s plan or the reality of Christ’s kingdom by what we see going on at any given moment. There is much that must happen before God’s plan is complete and Christ’s kingdom is fully established on this earth. David’s success as a king was completely dependent upon God. It was the Lord who gave him success and who made it possible for his kingdom to prosper. Solomon was given his wisdom by God. His kingdom was established by God. But both of these men would end up sinning against the very One who had set them on their thrones and given them their kingdoms. There is only one man who has lived His life faithfully in obedience and submission to God: Jesus Christ, the God-man. And Paul would remind us, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith” (Colossians 2:6-7 ESV).
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
I am to “walk in him,” which literally means to “conduct my life” totally dependent upon Him for everything. He is not only my source of salvation, but my means of sanctification. He is my strength. He is my source of righteousness. He is my model for holiness and my reason for joyfulness. We have been “made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (Colossians 2:13 ESV). He has cancelled “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14 ESV). We must hold fast to Him, who is the Head, “from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2:19 ESV). He must reign and rule over our lives, and we must live our lives in such a way that we reflect our citizenship in His eternal kingdom.
Father, may I continually learn to live as if Jesus is the literal king of my life. May my thoughts and actions reflect His rule and reign over my life. I want to live as if He is the one who is in control over my life. Don’t let me replace His rule with self-made religion or self-effort. I want to learn to submit to Him and willingly, joyfully obey His Lordship over my life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men