“You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel”

In my daily Bible reading this morning I came across this passage in 1 Kings 2:

When David’s time to die drew near, he commanded Solomon his son, saying, 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man,  3 and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn,  4 that the LORD may establish his word that he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ (1 Kings 2:1-4)

When one looks at the track record of Solomon and his descendents, one finds that David’s commands were habitually ignored. There was very little keeping “the charge of the LORD [their] God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his rules, and his testimonies” in the lives of the kings of Judah and Israel, and it must be said that the practice of ignoring God’s commandments is not strictly confined to the Old Testament kings of God’s people.

It is a way of life for all of mankind. As Paul reminded us in Romans 3:9-12: For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.  12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’” The description of the heart of man that is found in the Westminster Confession in Chapter 6, paragraph 4 definitely describes my heart apart from Christ: “we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil.

I must say, however, that I am forever grateful that there was one king who did not follow this pattern, and is still reigning today: King Jesus the Righteous. As the angel said in the Book of Revelation, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15) Our hope is not to rest in our actions but in the life of the one who perfectly fulfilled God’s Law on our behalf.

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