The Story of Scripture, Part 9 – Saviour, Judge and King

Even after a period where Israel gave in to rebellion and unbelief, God kept his promise to give Israel the land. Under the leadership of Joshua, they entered into Canaan and took possession of their inheritance. Later, after even more rebellion and unbelief, God continued to show boundless grace to his people. Over and over again the people, through their sin, would allow themselves to be placed back into bondage. Each time, when they were at their lowest, God would send a judge to save them; each of these mighty men showing forth an important glimpse of the ultimate Judge and Saviour. 

Eventually, they were given a king named David, under whom they prospered. God made a covenant with David which was an important continuation of his first promise to Adam;

1Chr 17:11-12;

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. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 

This was vital new revelation concerning the promised Messiah. The promise as it first came to Adam and Eve in the garden, revealed that the Saviour would be one born of a women (i.e., from mankind). This was then narrowed in focus so as to show that the one born of a women would be born in the lineage of Abraham and indeed part of the nation of Israel. Now, through the covenant made with David, it was shown that the Messiah would be a king, from David’s own royal lineage!

In this regard, much of David’s life served as a type and foreshadowing of the Christ. We are introduced to David as the humble shepherd who stands in the place of God’s people, doing battle on their behalf, and even gaining victory against the great foe (Goliath).  As David matures, he becomes the promised theocratic king of Israel, slaying God’s enemies and bringing his people into a settled prosperity.

While the nation of Israel flourished under David’s rule, it reached the peak of its glory during the reign of his son, Solomon. This too was purposed in showing forth the glories of the covenant promise. Once again:

. . . I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 

It was indeed through Solomon that the kingdom was established, and the temple built. Moreover, it was at this time that the kingdom of Israel (and the land of Canaan) found its most profound expression as a foreshadowing of the glories of the new heaven and the new earth itself.  In like manner to his father, much of Solomon’s life was also intended to serve as a display of the King still to come; the Great and Wise King.

The Story of Scripture, Part 8 – God Saves.

The Mosaic covenant promised blessing and prosperity. However, it was conditioned upon obedience. When entering into this covenant arrangement, the people of Israel displayed a grossly naive overconfidence with regard to their own ability. Without a thought to the contrary, they assumed that it would not be any trouble for them to keep their side of the bargain. However, despite their promises, they soon joined Adam in deep-seated covenant-breaking rebellion. Indeed, during their travels to the land of Canaan, Israel gave in almost completely to a contemptuous unbelief before God, and so had already forsaken any hope of entering the land as their promised covenant reward. Like Adam, they had failed to enter rest. 

Through it all however, God did not cast them off, showing them even at this stage that a promise of grace (Gen 3:15) undergirded the present typological Mosaic arrangement. Eventually, when this Mosaic law had served its function in destroying their false confidence, thereby properly joining them to Adam’s rebellion (and showing them their need for a Saviour); then, the undergirding covenant grace already promised to their forefather Abraham would bloom even further, eventually finding its full expression in the promise of the New Covenant itself. Before the New Covenant Messiah came however, they would have their whole national history (of failure) to look back on in order to prove one simple point: because of their failure to be obedient to God, they were under just condemnation, and had no hope of entering into the promised land of eternal sabbath rest. Only a Saviour, one who had not shared in their sin, could lead them into this promised land. While this truth would become clearer and clearer as they moved towards the New Covenant, already it was being shown to them in picture form. For even at this point, it was only once they had forsaken any right to the land that one of their kinsmen, one who had not shared in their wilderness rebellion, would lead them into the promised land. His name was Joshua, meaning “God saves”. It was the Hebrew equivalent of the name, Jesus.