Friday, February 01, 2008

History of Human Government (10) - David as King

The Jewish people tended to look upon David as the perfect king and the ideal government. David was a great person with a good heart. His Psalms are a testimony to his good relationship with God.

Despite having a good heart, David was not a good ruler of the people. He did not handle justice well. Absalom rose to power, because David did not provide judges to resolve claims for justice. Hewas able to make a place for himself, by getting justice for people who did not believe they would get justice from King David (2 Sam 15:2-4).

The truth is that David did all the things that Samuel warned a king would do. Samuel warned that the king would take the best property for himself. David had such great wealth and property that he needed twelve overseers to organize the people who worked it (1 Chron 27:25-31). Samuel warned that the King would take their daughters. David did worse; he took the wife of one of his soldiers, Uriah the Hittite, and then had him murdered. Samuel warned that the king would take all the young men for his army. David’s worst decision was taking a census of the people to find out how many soldiers he could include in his army (2 Sam 24). This sin brought judgement on the nation, as the king was their representative.

So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died (1 Sam 24:15).
King David was just doing what kings do, but his mistake cost 70,000 lives.

David’s experience proves that kingship is not an ideal form of government. David was a good man with a good heart, but even he could not make kingship work. A human king can never escape the traps of pride and hubris.

David knew that he was not the ideal king. He honoured the true king who would come in the future.
The LORD is King for ever and ever; (Ps 10:16).
For the kingdom is the LORD’s (Ps 22:28)
For God is the King of all the earth (Ps 47:7).
For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods (Ps 95:3).
Shout for joy before the LORD, the King (Ps 98:6).
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (Ps 145:13).

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