The Second Sunday of Advent: Love

Light the previously lit purple candle again and a second purple candle.

The love that is on display at Christmas must first be understood through a covenant that was made between God himself and King David long ago. The people of Israel had begged and pleaded to be like the other nations and to have a king to rule over them. Their first king, Saul, was anointed by God, but Saul did not keep God’s commands and so God rejected him. The prophet Samuel was then sent to Bethlehem to the home of a man named Jesse, who was the father of a family of sons. Seven of them passed by Samuel, but none were the one whom God had chosen to be king. The youngest, David, was finally called in from the fields where he had been tending the sheep. God spoke to Samuel and confirmed it was David who was to be anointed to become the next king over Israel.

Years later David ascended the throne. Once he was settled God spoke through His prophet, Nathan, that He would establish David’s throne and raise up his offspring to succeed him as king. God promised to establish his kingdom forever, and to never take away His love from the house of David. When David died his son, Solomon, followed him as king. However, Solomon’s heart was led into sin, and as a result the majority of the kingdom was taken away from David’s grandson. Yet, God had promised that a king from the line of David would always rule, and because of His love and His promise to David his offspring continued to lead the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

The prophets told the people that from the house of David a new king would come, one who would rule with justice and righteousness, one whose reign would be never ending and ever increasing. But, when would he come? The people of Judah saw king after king come from the line of David. Some of those kings sought the Lord and did righteous things, but none truly matched the prophets’ description.

King after king came to power looking less and less like this promised one. Finally, the people of all Israel and Judah were taken captive and exiled from their land. Yet, even then God was faithful to His promise to David and his descendants were spared. When the people were taken captive by Babylon many kings were killed, but the line of David was kept as a remnant. God’s love for David and for His people continued. The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 tells us that God kept a king from the line of David on the throne for 14 generations and was gracious to another 14 generations after that. And then from that line one Christmas morning a new king was born – not in a palace, but in a stable; not heralded by kingly proclamations, but by angels in the sky over the fields nearby.

A king had come – the promised one – the one in whom the “hopes and fears of all the years” rested upon. This king wouldn’t act like the kings who had come before. This king would create a new order – one in which the needy would be judged with righteousness and where decisions for the poor of the earth would be made with justice. This king wouldn’t come just to bring temporary change to one nation; He would come to permanently change the hearts of all individuals who would look to Him. King Jesus came to save the people from their sins. He came not just to rule for a little while or to be the next in a long line of kings, or even to make Israel an autonomous nation again – He came to be the king over and above all other kings. He came as the fulfillment of the promise given that He would be King of all kings and Lord of all lords forever and ever and ever. Jesus came as proof that God was true to His promises. God loved King David and kept His covenant by sending His very own Son whom He loved and in whom He was well pleased. Jesus was the shoot that would come up from the stump of Jesse to sit on David’s throne forever.

The scripture reveals this to us:

The prophet Nathan declared to King David that the Lord himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. I will be his father, and he will be my son. My love will never be taken away from him. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever (2 Samuel 7:11-14).

In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it – one from the house of David – one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness (Isaiah 16:5).

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit (Isaiah 11:1).

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord – and he will delight in the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever (Isaiah 9:6-7).

The angel said to Mary: You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end (Luke 1:30-33).

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him (1 John 4:9).

God sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins and to be the Savior of the world (1 John 2:2).

See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed (Revelation 5:5).

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever! (Revelation 5:13).

A king was born at Christmas just as the prophets had said to fulfill the words God had spoken to David. Advent reminds us that no matter how long the wait we can trust our faithful God to keep His promises. The story of Jesus as King begins with David and finishes never. For His kingdom will have no end. One day soon we will join with the saints who have gone before us around the throne of King Jesus and bow down in worship. What a glorious day of arrival that will be.