39 And I will afflict the descendants of David because of this, but not forever.’” 1 Kings 11:39 NKJV
The falling away by Solomon and his son, Rehoboam, had implications for the regal line of David. God had promised David that, if his descendants stayed faithful to God, they would never fail to have a king on the throne over Israel. Unfortunately, the kings could not stay faithful, and the majority of the nation of Israel was ripped away and given to Jeroboam to form the Northern Kingdom.
But because of David’s faithfulness, God’s punishment on the line of David would not last forever. God chose to not negate His promise that David’s regal line and throne would continue into eternity. God would install His own faithful sovereign to reign on it – the eternal Messiah, Jesus Christ.
But in the short term, the Southern Kingdom of Judah would be afflicted and stripped of much of its wealth by neighboring Egypt. David’s regal lineage was left to its bare essentials. From time to time, it would produce a faithful king that would help to somewhat turn the hearts of the people back to God. But this did not last, and the throne of Judah basically became a placeholder for a coming Messiah, who would one day reign on it over the entire world.
For all of the Southern Kingdom’s shortcomings, the Northern Kingdom turned out to be much worse. Beginning with the golden calf idols installed by King Jeroboam, each subsequent king would be worse and less faithful to God than the one before.
What was God to do? He reveals His intentions to us in the Book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible.
In it, one of Jesus’s twelve apostles, the youngest John, describes a vision given to him seventy years after the death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven of Jesus. By the time of this vision, John was an old man and the last living apostle. God revealed to John and to us that the regal line of David was always intact. The temporary affliction on David’s regal descendants, a series of somewhat faithful to utterly unfaithful kings and governors, would not last forever. The Davidic line would be upheld throughout and eternally preserved for its final King, Jesus Christ.
In one of his visions, John describes the victorious scene in heaven as Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, approaches the Father’s throne. He had triumphed over the scourge of death through his own death on the cross, a sin sacrifice for all believers, to be followed by His resurrection from the dead and ascension into heaven. This victorious scene in the Father’s throne room set in motion a whole series of events, from the opening of seven seals of judgement to the installation of Jesus as King of God’s divine kingdom over all nations on earth.
5 “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain… 9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:5-6, 9-10 NKJV
Only the coming King of Kings, Jesus Christ, will successfully fulfill the Father’s good plan to install a faithful king in Jerusalem to rule over all the nations of the earth. His victory over death provides all who choose Him with their own victory over the grave, as well as over a host of other evils and afflictions. One day, His followers will become kings and priests to God to reign with Him on the earth throughout eternity.
Many times, we feel down and dejected in life because of poor choices we have made and the painful consequences and fears that result from them. But God is a God of miracles, forgiveness, healing, and restoration. Even David, one of a small number of faithful kings God had, made disastrous choices. Yet, God still chose David’s throne for Jesus to reign on through eternity.
David’s shortcomings were overcome by his faithfulness to God. He always turned back to the Lord after he found himself heading the wrong way. And God honored David for that.
Just as He did with David, God will honor us and our willingness to turn back to Him after a failure. He will forgive us and help us to make our crooked paths straight. He will also use all of our past, successes and failures, to build a better future for us and those around us.