God’s Covenant with David
October 1, 2017
Topic: Christian Faith & Discipleship Scripture: Matthew 22:41–22:46, 2 Samuel 7:8–7:16
During the last few Sundays, we’ve been exploring the major covenants of scripture—with Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Now we come to the last and greatest of them: God’s covenant with David. More than any other, this one points us toward the new day in Christ. The everlasting dynasty that is promised remains an impossible puzzle apart from the appearance of the Prince of Peace. The gospel writers show us that Jesus is a biological descendant of Israel’s famous king. Above all, he is David’s spiritual descendant. And it goes deeper still. Our Matthew passage explains a great reversal. Jesus, who came long after David, is portrayed as David’s Lord. By his own testimony, David acknowledges One who is far above him. The flawed ruler of old is but an imperfect foreshadowing of the Christ
David had some notable virtues, including courage, military skill, a poetic bent, and a good aim with a slingshot. Part of our lasting impression is of palace intrigue, lust, and if not murder, at least manslaughter. Many of the people we associate with him did not fare well: Saul, Jonathan, Goliath, Bathsheba, Absalom, and Uriah. David’s kingdom began to crumble a few decades after his death. Its demise hastened by the misrule, grandiose projects, and high taxes of his son, Solomon, and his grandson Rehoboam. How could this dysfunctional family possibly constitute a kingdom without end? Not much in this world lasts for very long. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God endures forever.
However: Christ’s spiritual kingdom endures. It continues to influence human hearts and lives to this very day. In Jesus and his realm of love, God’s promise of a kingdom without end is fulfilled. It’s a different kind of kingdom, but it can be traced to the ancient covenant, and to the faith of a flawed king.
Today, we who gather here are the inheritors of the promise. It is for each one of us, and for all of us together. We are citizens of the eternal country, called to live and walk as followers of Jesus. It is both a current commitment and a comfort in this world and the next. The power of this promise is permanent and persists through every trial we face.
A few stories came my way this week. They reflect various dimensions of the kingdom life that we share together.
A presbytery-led training event was held here at the church. Among those present was a pastor from a large church about an hour away. The pastor was quite vocal with praise for the beauty of our building and our wonderful landscaping. This beauty reflects the work and ministry of many, and all of our members together, who have enabled this wise stewardship to happen. We receive and enhance what previous generations have bequeathed to us.
Then I heard a story from a football mom, Lisa Ehlers, who previously served as our Christian Education Director. One day recently, she went to pick up her son Scott from practice. Scott is an outstanding athlete at NCWHS. From a distance, Lisa noticed the entire team seemed to be gathered around Scott and listening to him. When he got to the car she asked what was up. It turns out that he was, at their request, providing spiritual leadership, including prayer, to the team. He is referred to as “Pastor Scott” by the team and others. His Christian witness is real, it’s authentic, and we thank Scott for the way he lives his faith.
Another story about life in Christ’s kingdom comes to us from a ministry of our church and will be shared by Becky Mentzer.