Summary: The "Kingdom of God" may have been a term used in the Gospels more frequently than anywhere else in the Bible but God' has always ruled His Kingdom. This message traces God's rule from Abraham to Israel.
God’s Dynamic Kingdom Rule from Abraham to Israel
Last week we saw that Adam had failed in his God-given role to rule as God had intended, but God did not abandon mankind. He renewed the same dominion mandate to Abraham in Genesis 17:4-6:
“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.”
So Adam was GIVEN the RESPONSIBILITY, the “work” as it were, to rule and govern over the creation but Abraham was told that God would GRANT HIM rule or dominion. God would MAKE Abraham “the father of a multitude of nations”. (Remember John 6:65: "For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.")
Adam’s commission was given when there was no sin to deter him, but after Adam’s fall into sin, dominion over the earth would only be pleasing to God and possible by man unless it were “GRANTED” or gifted from God, although God’s people would still have an important role to play in God’s fulfillment. Man’s dominion as a gift would be given in the context of God’s gracious redemption of a sinful people, which is why the sacrificial system was commanded by God as a central part of national Israel.
In the book of Judges we see the downward spiritual of national sin and rebellion against God in Israel: Judges 17: 6 says: “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Israel certainly needed a godly king to lead them in God’s ways, much like most nations in the world today.
When Israel DID ask for a king in the days of Samuel, they asked with sinful motives; 1 Samuel 8:4-7 says: 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." 6 But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.”
The chapter goes on to tell the people that in asking for a king, they were asking for a lot of trouble, war and persecution in their lives. But despite their wrong God nonetheless grants His people their request, in fulfillment of His own promise in Deuteronomy 17:14-20: “When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us," 15 be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. Verse 17 He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. 18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.”
God instituted a monarchy in Israel and Saul, Israel’s first king, did not rule according to the Lord’s commands (see 1 Sam 13:8-15), and eventually was removed from his throne (1 Sam 15). It is at this point that David is anointed king (1 Sam 16), and which culminates in the covenant God makes with David in 2 Samuel 7 (see also Ps 89:35). In this covenant God promises (through Nathan the prophet) to preserve a kingly line into the future, beginning with King David (2 Sam 7:12-16)”:
“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall 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 to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established FOREVER.” (Taken from Dr. Ben C Dunson Blog: “The Kingdom of God in the Old Testament: From Abraham to Israel”)