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Monday, December 15, 2014

Fundamental Questions of The Christian Life # 6

b. The Monarchical Aspect 

The monarchy runs from the First Book of Samuel to the end of the Second Book of Chronicles. The supreme factor in the monarchy was that of glory: God's glory manifested, enjoyed and displayed in the people of His grace, - for, as we have seen, they are indeed that. Now, because they are such, they are to be the people of His glory. The throne is the symbol of ascendency, of power, authority, dominion. It was intended to be the expression of a 'glorious high throne' set in the heavens (Jeremiah 17:12).

Now, as we considered Israel in themselves, so in this connection we have to consider the father and the son in whom the monarchy came to its peak of glory and power - David and Solomon. What shall we say about them?

Consider David. Who is David? What does he think and say about himself, about his past, his present? We are told that David went in and sat  before the Lord and said: "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house ...?" (1 Chronicles 17:16). The Lord said to David: "I took thee ... from following the sheep" (vs 7). David - a man of humble and despised beginning, of little account in the eyes of his own brothers, and of less account in his own eyes. David - a man whose faults and weaknesses are written in large letters and not hidden by God. Things which we fain would cover, and which we wish were not in the Bible - acts of murder, treachery, passion - the Spirit of God has had written and preserved for all time. This is not the story of a man who is outstanding for his perfection and moral excellencies. Indeed, there are good things about David, there are wonderful things about David; but God has given this other side. He is a man, and a man compassed by all the weaknesses and passions of humanity; falling into the deep, deep mire of sin - terrible sin; crying out of the mire for deliverance, and eventually praising God that he has been taken from the pit, the horrible pit. But he had been in it.

Then consider Solomon. Think of his beginning, the handicap of his birth, the sin in which he was born, the iniquity in which he was shapen. Have you never felt a shock reading the eleventh chapter of the First Book of the Kings? Here is a man for whom God had done everything: the man whom God had endued and endowed with wisdom above all men, with riches and honor and power beyond all precedent; standing out, as he did in those days of his glory, head and shoulders above everyone else by Divine blessing. And yet, with all that God had done, his real nature was revealed, and in that terrible chapter: "Now king Solomon loved many strange women." There begins the story of decline and downfall, the awful tragedy of a man going down into the muck and the mire of human iniquity, leading directly to the division of the kingdom and the terrible line of tragedy in the monarchy, issuing eventually in the exile. That is Solomon. It seems almost unthinkable that such a man should have such a downfall.

And yet God knew all that about Solomon before ever He gave him a first blessing. God knew His man; God knew all that could happen and would happen. What are you dealing with in David and Solomon? Ah, you are dealing with men who were ordinary, common stuff, coming to the peak of power and glory - why? - because of the grace of God. And why did God do it? Why did He give Solomon, as the Scripture says, wisdom and riches and glory and power beyond any man that had ever been before him or should come after him (1 Kings 3:12, 13; 10:23, 24)? Why did He make the glory of Solomon fabulous? He has become a proverb. If you want to speak  of wisdom, riches and glory, you mention the name "Solomon". Even the Lord Himself did that: He spoke of "Solomon in all his glory" (Matthew 6:29). Why did God go out of His way to do all that with, and for, David and Solomon?

The answer is found in the New Testament, quite clearly and definitely. Read the passages in the New Testament where David and Solomon are linked with the Lord Jesus. God always had His Son in view. In David and in Solomon God was as it were throwing upon the screen a symbolic presentation of the kingdom of His Son, with all the glory and the blessing that would come to His people through grace by Jesus Christ. That is the explanation of the period of the monarchy. It has no meaning otherwise. By means of these people God is drawing upon the canvas of history the great truths concerning His Son. He portrays first, in the priesthood, the great truth of redeeming grace: everything is provided to bring a people into His presence in unclouded fellowship. Then, in the monarchy, He draws the picture of what grace will lead to: it leads to glory through Christ Jesus.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 7 - (c. The Prophetical Aspect)

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