Long Live the King
The nation of Israel had a great king. This king had been their deliverer, their instructor, their provider, and the protector. This great king loved Israel as a man would love his wife and children. All the king asked for was Israel’s faithful obedience, complete love, and genuine worship. In the latter part of 1 Samuel 10:24, the people of Israel shouted, “Long live the king!” Sadly this shout was not for the king who had loved them, who had delivered them and cared for them. This shout was for a man named Saul.
Jehovah God had been the king who had delivered Israel. It was God who had cared for Israel and protected Israel. Yet, in their stubborn rebellion, the nation of Israel had rejected God as their king. When Israel had said to Samuel, “Give us a king that he may judge over us,” God’s instruction to Samuel was quite simple and telling. God said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7) God took Israel’s request to be a direct rejection of Him as their king.
Instead of striking Israel with a great plague or sending the Philistines in massive waves upon the people, God gave the people that for which they asked. God gave the people an earthly king. Such a request did not come without a cost. Samuel told the people the king would take their sons to fight in his army and their daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. The king would take the best of their fields, their vineyards and their olive groves and give them to his servants. The king would take the people’s servants, young men and donkeys to work for him in his kingdom. The king would also take a tenth of their sheep. After telling the people the cost of having a king, Samuel said to the people, “And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:18)
While it was a terrible thing Israel did in rejecting God as their king, their rejection ultimately lead to us being subjects of the King of kings and Lord of lords. The king who succeeded Saul was David, the son of Jesse. This David was of the tribe of Judah. Take a moment and think back to Jacob’s blessing to his son Judah. Jacob said, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” (Genesis 49:10) When God appointed David as king, the “scepter” entered into the family of Judah. As you study the history of the kings of Judah, you will see a continuation of David’s lineage serving as kings until the Babylonian captivity. The last and final king would also come from the lineage of David.
Let us now turn our attention to a young lady as she listens to the words of the angel Gabriel telling her of the birth of Jesus. The angel Gabriel said, “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32-33) The Lord, through the angel, promised Mary regarding her Son Jesus that He would one day sit on the “throne of His father David,” He would “reign over the house of Jacob forever” and there would be no end to His kingdom.
While Mary did not understand the full meaning of this promise, we, who sit on the other side of the cross, understand the message of the angel. This son of Mary, Jesus the Christ, died on the cross, was buried, and was resurrected from the grave. Approximately fifty days after Jesus’ death, the apostle Peter stood before the people and gave greater understanding to the promise which Mary had heard. Let us take a look as Peter begins the long awaited explanation:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know–Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For you will not leave my soul in hades, nor will you allow your holy one to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in your presence.’” (Act 2:22-28)
About whom was David speaking? Was David speaking of himself or of someone else? Peter answers that question by saying, “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses . . .” (Act 2:30-33) God raised up Jesus to sit at His right hand, to reign over His kingdom. The apostle Paul, in reference to Jesus, wrote, “(T)hat you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,” (1 Timothy 6:14-15)
If you are a Christian, then you are a citizen of the kingdom of the Lord, the kingdom of Christ. Unlike Israel who rejected God as their king, you must never reject Jesus Christ as your king. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus Christ is the one and only sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ is the only one who has overcome death and ascended into heaven. Jesus Christ is the only King of kings. Let us truly say about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, “Long live the King!”