All the tribes of Israel then came to David at Hebron. ‘Look’ they said ‘we are your own flesh and blood. In days past when Saul was our king, it was you who led Israel in all their exploits; and the Lord said to you, “You are the man who shall be shepherd of my people Israel, you shall be the leader of Israel.”’
So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them at Hebron in the presence of the Lord, and they anointed David king of Israel.
2 Samuel 5:1-3
Today is the feast of Christ the King, and the last Sunday of the Church’s Year. It is also the last day of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Kingship is a challenging concept in the Old Testament. Israel chooses to have an earthly king and in so doing jeopardises her relationship with her one true King, namely God.
Her first king was Saul, and by this point in 2 Samuel Israel is all too aware of his shortcomings. She knows David’s better qualities, but has yet to learn of his weaknesses. God guarantees the line of David, but that line brings disaster on Israel, leading to the exile and loss of the Northern tribes and then the humiliation and exile of the Southern tribes.
Israel and her kings are unfaithful. Then comes the shoot from the stump of Jesse, and the King of kings is born, Jesus. A King unlike kings he wins salvation not for a people and a time, but for all peoples and all times. Jesus achieves what has seemed but a fanciful dream – and he invites us to share in the fullness of it.
We live in earthly kingdoms and republics but are invited even here invited to live as his brothers and sisters in the Kingdom.
Israel anointed David for his kingship. We are anointed in Baptism and Confirmation to share in Christ’s.
- How would you describe your king?
- In which of his qualities would you most like his help to grow?
David crowned by Samuel. All Saints church, Leamington Spa. (c) 2016, Allen Morris