Annelise on the Messianic Hope
Throughout Tanach, David is described as being devoted to God (as a creation, and therefore as a worshipper), and keeping His laws and decrees. A lot of these descriptions come in the context of God comparing David’s royal descendants to David’s own heart. He set the standard for the attitude that Israel’s kings, and the king at the time of Israel’s future restoration, must have before God. God made His promises about the people as a whole in the context of whether these kings would walk before Him according to His Law, as David did, understanding that he was not a god or a replacement of God to the people (like the kings of other nations) but that his glory was a reflection of the glory of the One he worshipped in song and in doing justice. Only a human who is not God, not one to be worshipped, but a worshipper of God, can understand what it means to stand where David stood in the relationship between God and His creation. The ability to worship God as Creator is the defining experience of Israel and humanity. For even a king to understand this is the heart of David, which left a deep mark on the musical worship and communal prayers of Israel as a nation after him, even until today. The simple hope of the prophets is that the line of such a kingdom, in that particular lineage, will begin again in the midst of God’s restoration of humanity.
God didn’t teach Israel how to tell the difference between a human who owes worship to God and a human who deserves it. The understanding is that everything with breath owes praise to God, and David’s psalms often portray the human identity within that. Instead of forgetting where creation comes from or thinking that we own ourselves, this kind of worship looks to God in surrender and dependence, not only physically for every blessing, but also spiritually. Our existence and our ability to draw intimately close to God through taking part in righteousness are such a gift. God doesn’t worship or thank Himself for these things in the way that we, who are created at the heart of our experience and of our knowledge of Him, do. The hope for a merely human king who will be anointed by God to again represent this role of David is a good hope. A lot of the book of Isaiah takes the imagery of Hezekiah to illustrate that kind of hope, again because of his submission towards God and the way in which God’s power was shown through his reign. May God restore this throne to Israel and His own Throne in our world, soon, and (if He’s willing) in our own days; may He open the eyes of this world to see what He deserves from us.
That is the message held by the generations of the people who are keeping His covenant Law, including its heart of love, repentance, and thankfulness, which He will bring into the sight of everyone for His own glory and because of His kindness to us.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal