Worship and the Davidic Kings

“In the Old Testament no credence is given to kingship which does not share the character of obedient sonship, whether this be in the kingship Psalms or in the wider kingship theology of the Old Testament. The king was Yahweh’s ‘beloved’, the son of his choosing and the object of his gracious affections. In response, the kings of Israel were to love the Lord and his Law, and lead the nation in covenantal faithfulness to him. They were to shepherd the nation with integrity of heart (so Ps. 78:70-72 cf. I Kings 9:4f.), and to walk in humble worship and adoration before the Creator God who had adopted Israel as his son, and appointed them to rule over this chosen nation….

It also laid upon the king covenant obligations to walk in obedience to the Lord, such obedience being particularly emphasized in the matter of worship. Such worship would be faithful to Yahweh’s covenant Law, as expressed externally in theTemple, but as known internally in the attitude of a humble and obedient heart (cf. Ps. 51:17)….

Thus one of the prime aspects of his shepherd/guardian role over Israel was the preservation of true worship…including the removal of the high places and the promotion of true worship in the Temple. The reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah are particularly commended in this regard…

In short: where the kings of Israel led the nation in true worship of Yahweh, blessing was the result, and their reigns were commended in the writings of the former prophets. Where they refused to lead the nation in their covenantal obligations regarding worship, they and the nation reaped the curses of God’s judgment. Their epitaph is entirely negative, often linking them with ‘Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin’ (e.g. 1 Kings 16:26; 21:22; 22:52 etc.), especially by raising up false worship centers and encouraging idolatry…

The anointing of Jesus with the Spirit at his baptism thus identifies him as the covenant king of Israel, who is both the vice-regent of God and the covenantally obligated ruler of God’s people. His mission as the great Davidic King would hinge entirely on his worship of God. Its successful outcome would be a worshiping people, led by his own faithfulness to the throne of his Father. Jesus’ role as the purifier of the Temple (e.g. John 2:13-22) and the transformer of worship (e.g. John 4:19-24) is thus fully fitting for his kingly ministry over Israel and for his construction of a new Temple, far greater than that of Solomon or Herod.”

-Noel Due, Created for Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, Fern,Ross-shire, Scotland, Christian Focus Publications, 2005. 10-11