A Son and the Son

By Not Known

Have you tracked your family tree? It can be interesting to see where our ancestors came from and to have a sense of where we fit it. Many in our congregation are of immigrant stock – with ancestors who came from the southern Chinese provinces or via a time as Straits Chinese. My ancestors are also immigrants: from Celtic stock in Ireland and Cornwall.

King David of Israel also came from migrant stock. His grandfather was the child of a Moabite immigrant who moved to Israel in the tragedy of young widowhood and then married a local boy after an interesting courtship (Ruth 4:13-20). David was the youngest of eight sons and, as the youngest, was given the lowly job of looking after the family herd while his brothers had the glamour of military service. (1 Sam 16:8-11).

The Bible tells us that David was good-looking (1 Sam 16:12) and apparently presumptuous – a typical youngest son? Thus he asserted that he would do what his older brothers and the rest of the army could not do, namely defeat Goliath the Philistine (1 Sam 17:26-32). His brothers were not amused!

However, there was more to this episode that a presumptuous youngest son and sibling rivalry. For David was not only Jesse’s son, he was also destined to be ‘son’ of God. Put simply, he was the one chosen to be God’s king – a choice that was validated when he was the Lord’s anointed servant to defeat the enemies of God’s people (1 Sam 17:34-47). Psalm 2 makes much of this as it speaks of how God vindicates his son (Israel’s king) and establishes his rule.

At this point David’s sonship to God overshadows his sonship to Jesse.

The New Testament traces Jesus’ earthly line back through David (eg Matt 1:1; Rom 1:3) and explicitly applies Ps 2 to him (eg Acts 4:25-26; 13:33; Heb 1:5; 5:5). This has big implications for God’s people. David’s parents and brothers took shelter from their enemies under his protection in later life (1 Sam 22:1-4). In the same way, Christian people gather under the protection of Jesus, God’s Son and our big brother. As the son of Jesse’s son and as God’s son, Jesus is our protector from our enemies.

David and Jesus both came from odd family lines. Both had special places in God’s salvation plan. Both were to be trusted and followed as the one sent from God for his people’s deliverance.  It must have been hard for David’s father and older brothers to submit to him as king. Likewise, pride can make it hard for us to trust Jesus and submit to him. However, let’s swallow that pride and keep our faith in Jesus who is God’s son and saving king for us.

David Burke