Saturday, 12 March 2016

Man of blood

David slaying Goliath, Rubens
David had designs on building God a house (temple). Nathan the prophet encourages David's good desire but after a revelation from God, Nathan tells David that he is not to build God a house but that God will built up David's house and one of David's sons will build God's house (1Ch 17). Later David charges Solomon:
Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the LORD, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the LORD my God. But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’ (1 Chronicles 22:6-10 ESV)
and
Then King David rose to his feet and said: “Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God, and I made preparations for building. But God said to me, ‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ Yet the Lord God of Israel chose me from all my father's house to be king over Israel forever. For he chose Judah as leader, and in the house of Judah my father's house, and among my father's sons he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel. And of all my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. He said to me, ‘It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father. (1 Chronicles 28:3-6 ESV)
God forbids David to build his temple because David has shed much blood.
But it happened that the word of Yahweh came over me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made much war; you shall not build a house for my name because you have shed much blood upon the ground before me. (1 Chronicles 22:8 LEB)

God said to me, ‘You may not build a house for my name because you are a man of war, and you have shed blood.’ (1 Chronicles 28:3 LEB)
God approves of David's desire to build him a house (temple) and offers to build up his house (posterity). David makes preparation for the temple: he collects much gold, silver, iron, wood and stone; and buys the plot for the future temple where God stays the angel's hand. David had fought his wars to defend the Israelites from her enemies, and at the direction of God. God said David was a man after his own heart. So why does being a man of war disqualify David from building the temple?

Don Richardson links this passage with the events surrounding Peter striking off Malchus' ear (Mat 26:51; Mar 14:47; Luk 22:50; Joh 18:26). His point, and I think he is right, is that the kingdom of heaven cannot grow through the power of the sword. Peter was using a sword in a situation which God was instituting his kingdom. Jesus had to die to secure our salvation and his followers were not to use force in this circumstance.

Because the temple represents God and God's kingdom, it is important that the builder of the temple be seen as a man of peace. The growth of God's kingdom is through persuasion, through God working in the hearts of men and men responding to God. The kingdom is never to grow through the threat of conquest: conversion must not come at the end of a sword.

This is not to disparage the power of the sword. The sword is a tool of judgment that God gives the state (Rom 13:1-4). As king, David wielded the sword appropriately (save Uriah). God judges men and nations; and brings discipline, destruction and, to the stubbornly rebellious, death. Yet God does not will the death of his enemies. God's purpose is to make his foes friends. To that end God is growing the kingdom of heaven, but tools of judgement are not the tools of mercy. The church is not to grow by conquest. A man who says, "Convert or die," is not speaking in the name of the Lord.

3 comments:

  1. "A man who says, "Convert or die," is not speaking in the name of the Lord." I think that I know what you are trying to say here, but the quote doesn't really say it. Actually, it's true that one converts or dies. Scripture is pretty clear about that. Might want to clarify that?

    "The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur." Sometimes known as the second death.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "A man who says, "Convert or die," is not speaking in the name of the Lord." I think that I know what you are trying to say here, but the quote doesn't really say it. Actually, it's true that one converts or dies. Scripture is pretty clear about that. Might want to clarify that?

    "The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur." Sometimes known as the second death.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Larry, perhaps: "The man who threatens murder unless you convert..."?

    Obviously those who don't convert do die, but at the behest of God, and in the second death. It is when man is using the sword for conversion. The kingdom of God does not grow through the power of the sword.

    ReplyDelete

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