Dr. John Hartmann

Proclaiming the Whole Counsel of God

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God’s Purposes for Kingship in Israel

December 26th, 2010 · No Comments

Unfortunately, this message was cut off after about 14 minutes due to technical issues. However, what is here is inspiring, and the summary will allow you to fill in the gaps.

The repeated refrain of the book of Judges is that “in those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). This describes conditions that ensued after the death of Joshua and the generation of elders that outlived him, a long period of Israel’s history which lasted over three centuries. The point being made here is not a positive one, but bemoans the fact that without some form of Divinely- instituted government conditions of chaos and anarchy prevailed. 2 Chronicles 15:3-6 offers another perspective on the period, in which Israel was without the worship of the true God, a teaching priest or the enactment and enforcement of the covenant Law.

This brings us to the basic question that this study addresses, at least in a preliminary way. “Was kingship antithetical to the purposes of God for His people Israel”? A popular view, much propagated in our time, answers, “Yes, kingship was contrary to God’s will and subversive to the theocratic model that He desired for His people Israel”. This perspective is largely based on a certain reading of the events that transpired in 1 Samuel 8, leading to the appointing of Saul in 1 Samuel 9-12. The standard logic that accompanies this interpretation goes something as follows: “God wanted to be Israel’s only King and no earthly king was necessary; God wanted His people to be directly ruled by Him, with judges, priests, and prophets acting as His intermediaries in some sense of the word”.

Our teacher suggests that this perspective is flawed, based largely on 1) a misreading of 1 Samuel 8; and 2) a failure to understand the role of kingship in God’s broader redemptive purpose for the nations. Kingship is ultimately an outworking of the Creator God’s original purpose for Adam (Genesis 1:26-28) and must be understood within the scope of a more broadly based Biblical theology that takes into account His long-range purposes for the redemption of the earth and the reconciliation of the nations in and through Jesus, God’s ultimate Davidic Messianic-King,

Some Scriptures to be considered as a preliminary attempt to broach this topic:

Genesis 1:26-28: Adam’s royal role

Genesis 17: 5, 16: kings would come from Abraham’s loins

Genesis 35:11: royalty would descend from Jacob

Genesis 49:10: the scepter would not depart from Judah

Deuteronomy 17:14-20: God’s prescriptions for a king in Israel

This study is not intended to be absolutely conclusive. It does provide an introduction to a much neglected topic that our teacher, God-willing, will continue to take up and expand upon in the near future.

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