No King in Israel

1      2016-06-15     Audio

Our theology cannot be disconnected from the structures of our life. It cannot be disconnected from what we regard as important and relevant. Fundamentally we were not made for a democracy. Fundamentally we were made for a kingdom; a kingdom with one King. We were made for one ultimate and perfect monarchy.

The central structure of the Bible has to do with kingdom. From start to finish it is about the kingdom of God. The center is unmistakably God Himself. But the idea of kingdom involves at least three key elements: (1) The King, (2) His people, and (3) His kingdom (or a please for the King to dwell with His people). The Bible presents to us what we were made for, namely to dwell with God in a perfect God-glorifying kingdom. The message of Scripture is often understood in terms of salvation, because the King’s subjects have rebelled and the kingdom must now be recreated.

The Book of Samuel introduces the grand theme of God’s Kingdom and King. It embodies the grand drama of God as King establishing His kingdom through covenant. That we may a people with God in a kingdom on earth, with all evil foes vanquished. This is the great hope of people who know God.

The theme of Samuel anticipates a coming kingdom—God’s kingdom where God is king. It encompasses a biblical philosophy of history.

What we are here calling Historical Books are technically referred to by scholars as the Former Prophets.

"First and Second Samuel are part of the section of the Hebrew Bible known as the Former Prophets. This section, which includes the books from Joshua to 2 Kings (excluding Ruth), presents a theological narrative of the history of Israel from the time of Israel's entrance into Palestine under Joshua through its departure from the land in the time of Zedekiah. Its overarching purpose is to affirm and explain the teachings of the Torah. Particularly prominent in the Former Prophets are narratives that demonstrate the influence of the Lord's prophets in Israel's history. At times their influence eclipsed that of the kings, perhaps explaining why this section title includes the word 'prophets.'" (Bergen, 18).

Together these books constitute an extended narrative.

Notice that King David and the Kingship Covenant that God made with him is the center of the entire drama of the Former Prophets. Therefore, we may see that a central focal point of the Historical Books is concerned with God's kingdom and God's king.

Judges makes the case that there is an increasing need for a king in Israel(cf. Judges 18:1). Without a king, "everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6; 21:25). The principal illustration is found in Judges 17, where the absence of a king is linked with the idolatry of the people. When man does what is right in his own eyes, idolatry marks the people.

These four books that constitute this extended historical narrative mirror the same kind of structure: each one ends on the note or implication of death.

We will see what scholars call the Deuteronomic formula: God's people will experience blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience.