Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” –Genesis 12:1–3
After sin entered the world, God inaugurated His Kingdom rescue mission by calling Abraham, blessing him, and making him the father of an offspring and a nation through whom all the sin-ruined families would be blessed.21 Again, God works through a man, Abraham, who is part of the problem as well as part of the solution. God promised that Abraham would also enjoy a plot of land that had previously been the garden of Eden as a place from which the nations would be blessed.
But things did not go well. Abraham, and then his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, increasingly failed to be faithful to the covenant call. The Kingdom family found themselves exiled in the kingdom of Egypt. In an ironic twist, the rescuers needed to be rescued. So God in His faithfulness brought them back to ensure the continuation of His Kingdom mission. As a response, Exodus 15 sings the triumph of God over the pagan power of the defeated king, the gods of Egypt, and the dark forces behind the kingdom.22
At Mount Sinai, God’s people were once again reminded of their Kingdom role among the nations. God called them His “treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”23 As such, they existed to bring His glory to the whole earth. But despite God’s gift of a beautiful land,24 they longed to return to Egypt;25 they preferred slavery to freedom and a pagan earthly kingdom to His perfect heavenly Kingdom. Despite God’s command,26 the people turned back to the defeated gods and continually preferred a kingdom of darkness.27
The glory of God’s Kingdom comes briefly in the rule of David and in the promise of the Messiah’s coming as the Kingdom King.28 Nonetheless, David’s very serious sin ruins the glorious reign,29 and conflict rules through the rest of his time on the throne. In the following years, the twin sins of idolatry and injustice dominate in the land. The whole nation goes into exile in Babylon until God rescues them.
Upon their rescue from Babylon, God tells Israel they will see the return of the Lord to Zion. This is not just a vision for redeemed Jerusalem but for all nations because “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.”30 Instead of seeing a king in splendid robes of glory, though, they will see the battered and mangled body of a servant who bears pain and torture, who is wounded for our transgressions, who takes the chastisement for our sins, and who died for our sins only to rise again and make the many righteous.31
Are you looking forward to an eternal Kingdom where politics comes to an end and all we have is Jesus ruling and reigning with love and mercy?
21 Gen. 12:1–3.
22 Ex. 12:12; Num. 33:4; Zeph. 2:11.
23 Ex. 19:5–6.
24 Ex. 3:8–9; Num. 13.
25 Num. 14:3–10.
26 Ex. 20:3; 23:13–33.
27 Ex. 32.
28 2 Sam. 7:1–17; Ps. 89.
29 2 Sam. 11–12.
30 Isa. 52:8–10.
31 Isa. 52:14–53:12.