Come, Lord Jesus, You Are Our King! Rule over Us!
O Lord God, my precious Savior and my powerful King—please watch over and bless me as I enter into Your presence for worship this day. Guard my mind and keep me from pondering distracting thoughts. Preserve my heart and fill it with only pure intentions. Open my lips so that I might sing Your praises and offer You my sincere petitions. Enlighten my eyes so that I might see opportunities to serve. Yes, be with me this day my Savior and King. Amen.
God has highly exalted Jesus, placing Him above all things with this result: that every tongue—believer and unbeliever alike—will ultimately confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Luke here records Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she was chosen by God to be the mother of the Christ Child. Mary could hardly believe what she was hearing, but accepted the fact that with God all things are possible and all promises are kept!
Text: 2 Samuel 7:8-16
Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will 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. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.
In Christ Jesus, our Savior and our King, dear fellow redeemed:
Today in our final Advent meditation we consider one of the more familiar Old Testament word-pictures of the promised Savior—Jesus as king! While it is familiar in its Biblical context, it quite frankly is unfamiliar to us culturally as Americans. When we think of kings we usually associate them with fairy tales or foreign countries. We do not have kings here in the United States and frankly do not want one! We live in a democratic republic, where we are all considered free and equal. Consequently, while we may easily say Jesus is our king, we can also very easily fail to recognize what that truly means for us in our everyday lives.
Let me explain. A king is someone who rules his subjects. A king’s will guides his subjects, and his commands control their lives. As Christians that means that Christ’s will is to guide us and His commands are to control our lives. In America, however, we grow up being taught that everyone has a right to the pursuit of happiness, with each individual defining what happiness means. Most Americans, therefore, including we Christians develop their own guiding principles for life and live like they want without regard to the will and commands of King Jesus.
The spiritual reality, however, is that no one is truly free in this life. The Bible clearly teaches us that we are all dependent completely upon the power and providential care of God just to exist (cf. Acts 17:25-28). The Bible also clearly teaches that everyone who does not know Jesus Christ by faith remains in sin and so is a slave of Satan (cf. John 8:34, 44-45). It is only when we understand and acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord that we can be truly free—free subjects within the kingdom of God and His Son, Jesus Christ (cf. John 8:36; Galatians 3:26; 4:6-7). Therefore, we pray this morning COME, LORD JESUS, YOU ARE OUR KING! RULE OVER US!
Do so as You have done for Your children in the past! Our text contains the LORD’s message to David as delivered by His prophet Nathan. At this point in his life David was fully established as king in Israel. He had conquered his enemies and was living at peace with Israel’s neighbors. He had built himself an elaborate palace and had only shortly before proposed to Nathan that he build a glorious temple for the LORD whom he deeply loved and whom he sincerely wanted to honor. Initially Nathan was enthused and told David to go ahead with his plans, but then the word of the LORD came to Nathan during the night and informed him that the LORD did not want David to build him a temple—that task would be reserved for his son, Solomon. Rather, the LORD wanted David to know that God had chosen to honor his family and build his house by sending the promised Savior through them. While informing him of this fact, the LORD reminded David of what His rule meant for him and for the lives of all of Israel.
He told David: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies…. When your days are fulfilled…you (will) rest with your fathers.’”
Notice, first of all, how the LORD guided David throughout his entire life—from the time he was a child until he was a mature adult. The LORD’s guidance, however, would not end for David, but rather, the LORD promised that His guidance and blessing would continue until his death. God’s guidance, in other words, was from cradle to grave! Notice, as well, that when David was young, he was but a poor shepherd boy. He was not someone of great importance, and still the LORD was with him. In the account of David and Goliath, David informed the then King Saul that the LORD had protected him from both a bear and a lion while he tended his sheep. Consequently, he knew that the LORD would protect him as he faced the giant (cf. 1 Samuel 17:34-37). Notice, thirdly, that David’s life under God was not always easy. He faced many enemies—not just Goliath and the soldiers of many other heathen armies, but also King Saul himself who saw David as a rival and sought to kill him. Frequently, David was in flight simply to save his life. Later as he grew older David would face threats even from some of his own children. His son, Absalom, would rise up in rebellion. Yet, in the midst of all of these struggles, the LORD was with David and allowed him to defeat his enemies. Notice, fourthly, that the LORD enabled David to use his gifts throughout his life to serve both God and God’s people. David began as a lowly shepherd but ultimately became king. God conquered his enemies and thereby secured peace for his people. He established treaties and made trading partners, which brought great prosperity to Israel. God had blessed him, allowing him to achieve as great a success as any man living on earth. David, who is described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart (cf. 1 Samuel 13:14), was truly blessed to have His Lord and Savior’s rule over his life. His subjects consequently were likewise blessed. They did not experience the political upheavals as previous generations had before David’s reign, or as future generations would under apostate kings to come. Rather, God gave them rest through David. Let us, therefore, pray: COME, LORD JESUS, YOU ARE OUR KING! RULE OVER US as You have done for Your children in the past!
Do so also as You promise to do for Your children forever! After addressing everything that the LORD had done for David and for Israel through David, Nathan goes on to speak about what God intended to do through David’s family and the promised Savior who would be one of his descendants. Nathan informed David: “The LORD tells you that He will make you a house…. I will set up your seed after you, who will 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. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”
This prophecy had an immediate fulfillment, for the LORD established Solomon as David’s successor and through Solomon the temple in Jerusalem was built. The prophecy’s ultimate fulfillment, however, was to be found in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of David—our Savior and King. He would establish an everlasting kingdom, for He would rule not just for a few years but forever! He would be chastened by His heavenly Father, as He bore our sins upon the cross, but the LORD promised that His mercy would not depart from Him. Yes, while on the cross Jesus cried out in anguish, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (cf. Matthew 27:46), but as He died He commended His spirit to His heavenly Father (cf. Luke 23:46). Three days later He experienced His Father’s power and approval when He was raised from the dead (cf. Romans 1:4). It is that Jesus to whom all authority has been given in heaven and on earth (cf. Matthew 28:18). He has been placed by His Father over all things and now rules over us from the right hand of His Father as our King (cf. Ephesians 1:20). What does that mean for us?
My dear friends, apply the lessons we learned about David and Israel to your own lives. Cannot we all identify similar blessings in our personal lives and take great comfort in the rule of our Savior King? Our Savior Jesus assures us that He is with us always even as He was with David (cf. Matthew 28:20). That means from the moment we are conceived, He is directly involved in our lives. Indeed, the Bible teaches that He shapes us in the womb and gives us our various talents and abilities (cf. Psalm 33:15; 139:13-16). He watches over and comes to us at the times of our baptism to bless us with faith or to strengthen that faith we already possess. He runs with us on the basketball court and enables our fingers to glide over the keys of our various musical instruments. He is with us on the job and in the office. He travels with us wherever we go. He mourns with us when we are sad and is present at every moment of true joy and satisfaction. He is with us as we pass through the dark valleys filled with the shadows of death. It does not matter whether you are famous or somewhat infamous. Jesus does not treat the rich differently than the poor. He gives no greater preference to the genius than to those intellectually challenged. No, Jesus enters each of our hearts by faith and moves us to use those gifts He has given us in our various tasks, and through their fulfillment He blesses us and brings blessings to others through us. The apostle Paul told the Ephesian Christians that King Jesus is busy right now giving each of us gifts and instructing us through His Word how to use them in order that we might help each other grow in faith and become stronger, so that we might be blessings to each other (cf. Ephesians 4:7-16). Jesus’ simple command as our King is to love, for thereby we fulfill His law (cf. Romans 13:8). It is when we love, that we best acknowledge Him as our King and show Him proper honor and respect.
Some months after Jesus’ birth a group of wise men from the east searched for the new-born King (cf. Matthew 2). Many in the world of that day chose to ignore Him, while a few even tried to destroy Him, but He survived as prophesied of old. The wise men upon finding Him bowed down to worship and to present to Him their gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh, acknowledging Him as their King. May we be wise men, women, and children today—acknowledging Jesus as our King, while offering Him ourselves as gifts to be used in loving service. Let us pray this Advent/Christmas season—COME, LORD JESUS, YOU ARE OUR KING! RULE OVER US as You promise to do for Your children forever! Amen.
—Pastor Paul D. Nolting
Soli Gloria Deo!