The Priestly King | Day 14

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4 ESV)

For the final day of week two, we return briefly to David, who authored Psalm 110.

David composed this royal hymn about his promised offspring who would one day sit on an eternal throne over all people. As one of the most cited Old Testament texts in the New Testament, we can clearly understand David to be speaking of Jesus. And though David lived roughly a thousand years before Christ, it is incredible that David refers to his descendant in verse one as his Lord.

In the midst of this psalm’s declarations about the kingship of the coming Savior, we receive a very interesting statement: David proclaims that the Serpent-Crusher would be a priest as well.

Throughout the Old Testament, Israel’s priests came from the tribe of Levi, but this coming King would be an offspring of David, from the tribe of Judah.

How then could Messiah be both a king and priest?

David answers this problem by claiming that He will not be a Levitical priest; rather, He will be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

In Genesis 14, Levi’s great-grandfather, Abraham, tithed to a priest named Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews will make the point that because Levi, through Abraham, tithed to Melchizedek, Melchizedek’s priesthood is superior to Levi’s.

Because the role of the priest was to offer sacrifices and prayers to God on behalf of the people, Jesus is not only our King to obey, but He is our great Priest who represents us before the Father.


Take a moment today to consider the beauty of Jesus being our high priest before the Father and the privilege of being able to come before the Father in prayer because of the ultimate and final sacrifice of Christ for our sins.


 

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A Wise King | Day 11

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. (1 Kings 4:29 ESV)

On his death bed, David bypassed the traditional succession of kings in the ancient world by appointing Solomon instead of his eldest living son, Adonijah.

Born to David by Bathsheba, Solomon was beloved by the LORD from his birth. In fact, God sent Nathan to David upon Solomon’s birth to give him a second name, Jedidiah, which means beloved of the LORD.

So from the beginning of his life, Solomon had favor with God.

In 1 Kings 3, God comes to Solomon in dream, saying that because he loved the LORD like David did, the LORD would give him anything he asked. The new king humbly asks God for wisdom to lead the people of Israel. The LORD loves this answer and declares that because he did not ask for longevity, riches, or safety, God would give those to him anyway.

And God did as He promised.

Solomon became wise without equal, and he became rich. The king was so wealthy that he is still considered one of the richest men to ever live. And the LORD finished by giving Solomon’s reign forty years of peace, which is still unheard of in Israel today!

But though God greatly blessed and used Solomon to build the temple, he was still not the perfect fulfillment of the promise that God made to David. As we will read tomorrow, for all of his wisdom, even Solomon could not overcome the curse of sin.


Like Solomon, James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” Therefore, make your prayer today for God-granted wisdom.


 

A Repentant King | Day 10

David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” (2 Samuel 12:13 ESV)

The events of 2 Samuel 11 are nothing short of a tragedy.

Deciding one spring not to go to war with his armies, David stayed in the comfort of his palace instead. While walking around one day, he looked out the window to see a woman bathing on her rooftop. Fixated upon her beauty, David calls her to his palace and sleeps with her.

Soon he learns that she is pregnant, and because her husband, Uriah, was a noble soldier, David’s attempt to have Uriah leave the battlefield to sleep with his wife fails.

In desperation to hide his sin, David has Uriah murdered in the heat of battle.

Months pass, and Bathsheba, now David’s wife, gives birth to David’s son. The sin was successfully hidden; David could proceed with business as usual.

But God has other plans.

He sends Nathan the prophet to rebuke David with a parable about a wealthy man who slaughters his poor neighbor’s beloved and only lamb rather than using one of his many lambs. When David becomes angry at the story, Nathan declares that David is the wealthy man and Uriah was the poor man.

David was caught red-handed before God. The anointed king was now an adulterer and murderer.

Though we knew from chapter 7 that David was not the Savior, we now get a glaring display of why he was not the Serpent-Crusher.

The coming Messiah, though wounded by the serpent, would smash the serpent’s head; He would defeat sin and evil decisively. David, however, did not conquer sin but was conquered by sin.

Fortunately, because Jesus would defeat sin, David was able to come before God in repentance, writing Psalm 51 for our benefit and to give words to the repentant heart.


Take time today to consider and repent of any sins you have committed. Use Psalm 51 to guide your prayerful repentance.


 

The Eternal King | Day 9

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13 ESV)

When considering the life of David, he appears to be the Bible’s best candidate yet for the Serpent-Crusher.

He comes from the lineage of Abraham, and he became a king from the line of Judah. His resume of actions after becoming anointed look pretty favorable as well. While still a youth, David became Israel’s champion by slaying the giant, Goliath, in combat. And though anointed king, David still served Saul gladly and faithfully, even though Saul repeatedly tried to kill him.

In 2 Samuel 7, David proclaims that he longs to build God a house, a temple for the Ark because the Ark of God’s presence was kept in a tent since the days of Moses.

It seemed like a great idea, but God counters David’s offer.

The LORD states that instead of David building Him a house, He would build a house for David. The beacon of David’s house would be his offspring that God would give an eternal throne and a kingdom that lasts forever.

God’s words to David have a distinctly dual application. First, Solomon is the immediate fulfillment, as he did construct the temple. However, Solomon did not fulfill this completely or else he would still be reigning as king today.

Instead, God gave to David the glorious promise that the Messiah was going to be his offspring, coming from his lineage, and would rule as king for all eternity.


If you truly believe that Jesus is the reigning Messiah, the offspring of David, do you submit your entire life to Him and His commands? Is there any area or aspect of your life that you do not fully give over to your King? If so, why not?


 

An Unexpected King | Day 8

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13 ESV)

Saul was not a good king; in fact, he was pretty terrible.

After being made king, Saul disobeys the LORD by making a sacrifice instead of waiting for Samuel to make it, making a hasty vow that almost kills his son, and defies God’s command by keeping spoils of war that God forbade.

It is no surprise then that God rejected Saul as king in 1 Samuel 15.

The LORD soon sends Samuel to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem, a descendant of Judah. Samuel is to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel, and one by one, seven of Jesse’s sons come before Samuel.

But the LORD rejects each of them.

Samuel asks if there is another, and with what appears to be some reluctance, Jesse tells him that the youngest is keeping the sheep. David, the youngest of his brothers, is brought before Samuel and anointed to be the next king of Israel.

Interestingly, this practice of anointing God’s chosen servants will lead to one of the most common titles for the Serpent-Crusher: Messiah (or Christ), which means anointed one.

But absolutely, no one expected David to be anointed as king.

We are told that Eliab, David’s eldest brother, had the physical stature of a king, so that Samuel immediately assumed him to be the king whenever he first saw him. David, by contrast, was just a youth with the lowly familial chore of shepherding the sheep.

God, however, reminds Samuel that He does not see how humans see: “man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart (v. 7).”


Like Samuel, do you tend to let outward appearances guide your judgment? More pointedly, is your worship of God outward alone or does it flow from the heart?


 

Introduction for Week 2 of Advent

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13 ESV)

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4 ESV)

OPENING THOUGHT

God’s over-arching epic narrative for humanity began in Genesis and slowly forms a crescendo of anticipation for the coming Savior, the Serpent-Crusher.

We know that He would be the offspring of woman and come from Abraham’s lineage (Judah’s line to be more specific). Also, Israel’s exodus from Egypt prefigures the coming of the Moses-like Prophet to free His people from sin, and before his death, Moses told Israel to watchfully wait for this Prophet.

Following his death, Moses’ disciple, Joshua, led Israel into Canaan, conquering the land promised to them through Abraham.

For 400 years, Israel is ruled by God through designated judges; however, the Israelites eventually demand to God’s prophet, Samuel, that they want a king like all the other nations.

Samuel reluctantly appoints the first king of Israel, Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. We quickly learn, however, that Saul is quite a terrible king, so the LORD has Samuel anoint a new king from the tribe of Judah, David.

The heart of this week’s readings is God’s covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7.

In that chapter, God promises to give to David an offspring that will sit on the throne forever. This, of course, is the promised offspring from Genesis 3:15.

He will come from the lineage of David, and the Serpent-Crusher will be an eternal king, whose reign over the entire earth will never end.

The Heart of Repentance (Psalm 51)

Psalm Study Guide (Week 4)

SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12)

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  (Psalm 51:17)

OPENING THOUGHT

All of life is worship. We cannot escape from God’s glory as revealed in His creation. We cannot feign ignorance of God’s revelation through His Word. The only question is whether we will worship God or something else. There can be no other answer. We were made to worship. Last week, we saw the great psalmist, David, worshiping the LORD by expressing his confidence that the LORD is his shepherd. His faith in God is worshipful to God because it expresses his reliance upon (and the reliability of) God.

We now leave the beautiful and tranquil 23rd Psalm in order to study Psalm 51, which is anything but tranquil. The subscript of the psalm informs us that David wrote this psalm after Nathan spoke to him about Bathsheba, which can be read in 2 Samuel 11-12. This was, by far, the darkest moment of sin in David’s life. He had committed adultery with a woman named Bathsheba, and when she became pregnant, he had her husband killed as a cover up. David went months thinking that he managed to fully hide his sin until God sent Nathan to rebuke David.

From this rebuke, David pens one of the most insightful chapters in all of the Bible. We have modeled for us within this psalm the heart of repentance. David humbly and brokenly begs God to cleanse him of sin and to restore his joy in the LORD’s salvation. Within this psalm, there are many important keys for us to learn from David of how repentance is a form of worship.

Read verses 1-2 and discuss the following.

  • In beginning his petition for forgiveness, David sets the foundations of his prayer upon God’s steadfast love and abundant mercy. This shows that David is completely reliant upon the LORD’s grace for forgiveness. In what ways is this similar to how we believe in the gospel?

Read verses 3-6 and discuss the following.

  • Here David claims that his sin was only against God; however, we know that his sin also did great damage to Bathsheba and, of course, Uriah. What does David mean then by saying that he only sinned against God?

Read verses 7-12 and discuss the following.

  • In the midst of the guilt of his sin, David prays to hear joy and gladness. By comparing his guilt to having broken bones, we know that David was burdened with the weight of his transgressions, but still he prays that they would rejoice in being broken. How is David able to take comfort, and even rejoice, in the breaking of his spiritual bones that God is doing?

Read verses 13-17 and discuss the following.

  • David claims that the result of God forgiving his sin will be David teaching sinners about the LORD. Out of his gratitude, David will gladly and boldly declare the glorious goodness of the LORD. How ought our approach to evangelism be similar to these verses?

Read verses 18-19 and discuss the following.

  • In making a prayer for Zion, David understands that his sins have impact upon others in Israel; thus, he also prays for God to do good to them as well. In what ways can our sin harm or impact others?

ACTIONS TO CONSIDER

  • Note David’s desire for more than simply forgiveness of his sins; he longs for God to fundamentally change his heart. Prayerfully consider if this too is your heart’s desire.
  • Consider David’s thought on sacrificing to God, which he knew that God wanted to come from gratitude, not from obligation. Consider also your own offerings and giving to God, whether they come from gratitude or obligation.