Messiah Is Coming, pt. 3

God made a covenant with Abraham that all nations would be blessed through his offspring. God made a promise through Moses that he would send the people a Prophet like Moses to speak on behalf of God. God made a covenant with David that his heirs would be enthroned forever in the sight of God.

The reigns of King David and his son Solomon were a kind of golden era for the United Kingdom of Israel. During their rule, Israel grew in strength, in numbers, and in territory. They established a military, a government, and a religion. The capital was moved to Jerusalem, and the Temple was built on the very mountain on which Abraham was commanded to offer Isaac so many years before.

It was during this time that the Psalms became an integral part of Israel’s worship and national identity. The Psalms reminded them of their past and brought hope for their future.

The Second Psalm was written for and recited at the coronation ceremony of Israel’s new kings. Let’s look at it, and see if anything sounds familiar. Pay attention to the words in red.

“I am the One who appointed My king who reigns from Zion, My mount of holiness.
He is the one in charge.”
I am telling all of you the truth. I have heard the Eternal’s decree.
He said clearly to me, “You are My son.
Today I have become your Father.
The nations shall be yours for the asking,
and the entire earth will belong to you.”

(Psalm 2:6-8 | The Voice)

There was a special relationship between God and the kings of Israel. As the Jews awaited the Messiah, which literally means Anointed One, they were looking for an earthly king from the line of David who would be honored, not simply as the Son of David, but as God’s own Son.

But even David himself recognized that the one to come would be far greater than himself. Looking ahead to the future Anointed One, David writes these words:

The Eternal said to my lord,
“Sit here at My right hand,
in the place of honor and power,

And I will gather your enemies together,
lead them in on hands and knees;
you will rest your feet on their backs.”
The Eternal will extend your reach as you rule
from your throne on Zion.
You will be out in enemy lands, ruling.
Your people will come as volunteers that day; they will be a sight to see:
on that day, you will lead your army, noble in their holiness.
As the new day dawns and dew settles on the grass,
your young volunteers will make their way to you.
The Eternal has sworn an oath
and cannot change His mind:
“You are a priest forever—
in the honored order of Melchizedek.”

(Psalm 110:1-4 | The Voice)

This coming King would be greater than David, would be honored as God’s Son, and would even take on the mantel of the priesthood in the order of Melchizedek, King and High Priest of Salem (see Genesis 14).

Prophet. Priest. King. Son of Abraham. Son of David. Son of God. Messiah. Anointed One. Christ.

This is who the Jews were waiting for, longing for, praying for. As their ancestors in Egyptian bondage, so they too were crying out to be released from the grip of Rome. The Messiah would do it. The Messiah would rally his followers, march on Jerusalem, and ascend the throne!

Little did they know or consider the prophetic words composed by David that would become the 22nd Psalm.

My God, my God,
why have You turned Your back on me?

Your ears are deaf to my groans…
My life is poured out like water,
and all my bones have slipped out of joint.
My heart melts like wax inside me.
My strength is gone, dried up like shards of pottery;
my dry tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
You lay me in the dust of death.
A throng of evil ones has surrounded me
like a pack of wild dogs;
They pierced my hands and ripped a hole in my feet.
I will speak Your Name to my brothers and sisters
when I praise You in the midst of the community…
He’s not put off
by the suffering of the suffering one;
He doesn’t pretend He hasn’t seen him;
when he pleaded for help, He listened…
They will tell the generations to come
of the righteousness of the Lord,
of what He has done.

The Messiah would be hailed as King of the Jews and Son of God – but only in his death. The Messiah would be pierced by men and forsaken by God. Yet God would not “let his holy one see decay.” The Messiah would be rescued and vindicated by God, beginning a whole new era of love and life and righteousness. The works of God through his Messiah would ripple out into the entire world, like waves in a lake.

The Messiah is Coming.

Messiah Is Coming, pt 2

God promised Abram that he would become a great nation. The only problem was that he and his wife, Sarai, didn’t have any children, and they were well past the child bearing age. God eventually made good on the promise and blessed the elderly couple with a son named Isaac, meaning laughter. God has a sense of humor.

Isaac became the father of Jacob. Jacob became the father of 12 sons whose own offspring would become the 12 Tribes of Israel. Before that, though, they all ended up in Egypt through a series of betrayals, backstabbing, double crossing, and famine. They never intended to stay in Egypt, but that’s just what happened. They never went back home. The subsequent generations, known as the Hebrews, continued to grow in numbers and in strength until a Pharaoh came along who didn’t know about these outsiders. They became enslaved by the Egyptian government, forced into years of hard labor under brutal conditions.

The people cried out for a deliverer, and God heard their cries. God raised up Moses to free his people and lead them to the promised land. They escaped Egypt through a series a plagues. They encamped at the base of Mount Sinai. They ate manna in the wilderness. They were made to live as nomads, wandering the Sinai peninsula for 40 years because they didn’t trust God.

Finally, they were on the edge of entering the Promised Land, the land they had left so many years ago when they were just a small family. Now they are a nation on the brink of seeing God’s promise fulfilled.

But Moses was old. He wasn’t going into the land with them. What would they do without this leader who has guided them for the last 40 years? Who would speak the words of God to them?

Moses gives them this promise:

The nations you’re going to displace seek guidance from people who practice divination and predicting. But the Eternal your God doesn’t want you to do that. He will raise up from among your own people a prophet who will be like me. Listen to him. This is just what you asked Him for on the day you gathered at Mount Horeb: “Don’t make me listen to the voice of the Eternal my God anymore! And don’t make me look at that blazing fire! I’ll die!” The Eternal told me, “They’re right. I’ll send them another prophet like you from among their own people. I’ll put My words in the mouth of this prophet who will tell them everything I command him to say.” (Deuteronomy 18:14-16 | The Voice)

The Prophet is coming.

Moses died and passed the torch on to Joshua who led the people into the land of Canaan. They divided the land and laid down roots. But there was no king, so central government, no true leader. So God raised up a series of Judges who led their tribes in military, religious, and legal matters.

But the people wanted a king. They wanted to be like all the other nations. God warned them what would happen. God wanted to be their King. But he relented and gave them what they wanted. God, through the prophet Samuel, anointed Saul to be the first great king over the united tribes of Israel.

Saul did well for a while, but would ultimately break God’s commands and end up losing his kingdom. Through Samuel again, God anointed a young shepherd boy named David to become the next king after Saul. David was from the town of Bethlehem, of the Tribe of Judah. David was a “man after God’s own heart.”

To David, God made this covenant:

“More importantly, I, the Eternal swear to you that I will raise up a dynasty from your family. When you come to the end of your days, and you leave this life to lie down with your fathers, I will raise up from you a descendant, your own flesh and blood, and I will make his kingdom and family sure. He will be the one to build a temple honoring My name, and I will establish the leadership of his kingdom for all time. I will be to him a father, and he will be to Me a son. When he crosses the line and acts badly, I will teach him with a rod used by people for correction and a lash for discipline. But I will not withdraw My love from him as I did from Saul, whom I set aside in favor of you. Your dynasty, your kingdom, will stand perpetually in My sight; your descendants will rule continually.” (2 Samuel 7:11-16 | The Voice)

The King is coming.

The people of Israel would spend the next thousand years awaiting the Prophet of Deuteronomy and the King, the Son of David, promised in 2 Samuel. The people thought they were looking for two different men. Little did they know this Prophet and King would be one and the same.

The Messiah is coming.