Deuteronomy 17 / Ecclesiastes 9 / Acts 8
Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low.
And all mankind will see God's salvation.
When you come into the land that the LORD your God is about to give you, and you take hold of it and dwell in it, and you say, "Let me put a king over me like all the nations that are around me," you shall surely put over you a king whom the LORD your God chooses, from the midst of your brothers you shall put a king over you...
A prophet like me from your midst, from your brother, the LORD will raise up. Him shall you heed...and I shall put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I charge him.
It seems a good thing to look at the unswerving heart of David, true to the commands of God at the beginning of the Deut. 17 looking backward, and forward at the straight paths of the heart of Jesus moving straight ahead in doing the Father's will. David represents the heart of the son who wants to fulfill the desires of his Father, while Solomon is the staggering representation of everyone else, to the hilt if they had his opportunity, which are only able to serve and obey the animal instincts and desire to fulfill their own desires, as per the curse they were inflicted with according to the Father's will—so that only the chosen and allowed could come near Him.
Let him not get himself many horses, that he not turn the people back to Egypt...when the LORD has said to you, "You shall not turn back again on this way." And let him not get himself many wives, that his heart not swerve, and let him not get himself too much silver and gold.
The horses, wives, and money are totally Solomon with a soft heart toward himself, which was easily led astray from his father's God. The desire which echoes the commands of God in Deut., that "You shall root out the evil from your midst," is the heart of David the warrior who saw the enemies of God as that which could easily lead the sheep away from the Master, therefore eternal enemies of his too, because they represented such a threat. Solomon seems to see them as recipients of strategic mercy for his own gain, and doesn't mind getting all yoked up together with these foreign nations who would surely lead him and the people away from their devotion to the only true God, the same sort of way Saul kept the booty for himself instead of wiping it out completely, putting it "under the ban." Solomon didn't separate himself from the nations around him but engaged in commerce with them, which as recorded (not accidentally) brought him 666 talents of gold each year. David saw them as potential threats to God's sheep, that which would inevitably cause the hearts of the sheep to swerve from their God to the gods of the nations around them. The animal nature lends itself very easily to the worship of other gods if they are allowed to linger within the midst of the body.
And it shall be, when he sits on his throne of kingship, that he shall write for himself a copy of this teaching in a book...and it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this teaching and these statutes, to do them, so that his heart be not haughty over his brothers, and so that he swerve not from what is commanded right or left (straight paths), in order that he may long endure in his kingship, he and his sons, in the midst of Israel.
This is pointing forward to the new covenant predicted by Jeremiah, which would be instituted first in the heart of the firstborn Son, written by the spirit of God on his heart first, then the sons second. That is the beginning of the same invisible covenant which has been revealed to us too, not in the form of words printed in a book but the living words of the great prophet who is speaking to our collective heart to teach us particularly the terms of this new covenant between God and His sons (us), to effect the transformation from animal to son of God.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on your statutes.
The progression of the story of the first three kings is a representation designed to give us an understanding of the things that are true in the world that's hidden. Saul was chosen as a reflection of what the people wanted—someone whom they could look at and embrace with their eyes. He was different than all the rest of the Israelites, and looked more like the giants purportedly in the land that the spies were so afraid of. However, Saul's heart was not the heart of a son but of a mere man who looked after his own interests as all animals are bound to do by the instinct that is naturally in them to drive and rule them. David's anointing wasn't because of his outside appearance, what the humans could notice and observe, as Saul's was. God chose him because his heart was pointed toward fulfilling the desire of the Father instead of his own, a departure from the animal's self-preservation mode and the judgment of the external things over what cannot be seen (his heart was what God liked, aimed at seeking, finding, pleasing Him by giving his loyalty and faithfulness to Him).
I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you.
God chose David the shepherd boy who was looking after his father's flock when He anointed him to be king and to be the shepherd who would tend the flock of His people. This decision was not based on the external characteristics that the humans observe and by which they choose, but what could only be seen by Him and was a secret, hidden to everyone else. To his own brothers, being the youngest, he was a despised little punk, as Joseph was to the sons of Israel. But he, like Joseph, was chosen by God to become something for Him, not based on the external, but by the content of the secret places of his heart. As His people Israel were a copy of the sons whom the Father will one day have with Him, David is the copy of the great Shepherd to come, the most perfect ruler God would choose to permanently rule over His flock of sons, the family He intends this creation to provide for Him.
Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies.
A place for His people, a home of their own, undisturbed and not oppressed by wicked people was the rest that was planned when Joshua led them into the land hundreds of years before David; yet it had not yet happened because it was never intended to be fulfilled within the bounds of this natural creation, which is the inferior copy. God, being pure spirit, cannot enjoy a being that is purely natural the same as a human father couldn't enjoy his own son if he were an ant or a spider—the two beings are too dissimilar in nature. The fulfillment which happens for God's sake, according to what can actually be pleasing to Him (being able to live with and enjoy His own family) happens in the spiritual realm where He lives and moves and has His existence. The promise is reaffirmed by God to David as He tells him that one day His sons will rest with Him. It's the rest the NT writers have in their minds, knowing that the words preserved for them pointed to something promised to those who knew they were sons, but which hadn't yet been fulfilled in any of them until the day they would all be brought together as one family in the Father's presence.
Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,
"So I declared on oath in my anger,
'They shall never enter my rest.' "
Solomon marks the downturn that started when David allowed his heart to be turned aside from God and be ruled and defiled by his own lust and the fear of being found out, then the attempt to hide the shameful things he did from the God who trusted him to not do all those things. Solomon is the offspring of that relationship, the third king whose heart becomes the opposite of what God desired and commanded in the Deut. chapter. He represents the opposite of the true Son of David, the king who indulges to excess in everything the humans love and run after—self-glory, honor, greatness; being ruled by the instinct to self-protect and self-indulge instead of God; an inordinate love of money & things, a love for taking refuge in the possession of so many women to satisfy something that can obviously never be satisfied—generally an all-encompassing gluttonous appetite for things that the animals call valuable and run after, always needing to be sated.
The incident with Bathsheba marks an ending to what was good in Israel, much like the life of Paul is the end of what was for a short time the truth of the new covenant in the earth. From that point there was the turn toward the rule of darkness and captivity until the light came into the world. After Paul, the light that was in the world slowly dimmed until it was gone, as what happened in the first century started by God also went into captivity, as it has been for so many years. We can witness that the light came into the world by the testimony of the record. The teacher tells us what's true as much as he tells us that everything in the world today is a false version of what is true. Something appearing to be one way but it really being another.
If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days.
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.
Solomon wrote the truth of the animal nature as the evil which dominates the humans and makes their lives utterly meaningless because it keeps them away from the truth and love of the Father. The life of the Father used the words of Solomon to train up the heart of Jesus and raise him up as the truest representation of the ruler He desired for His family of sons, the actual Son of David who was untouched by the animal nature. Solomon was only the representation of the ruler of God's family. Solomon ran after glory and pomp and surrounded himself with things that turned his heart away from God and toward the created thing. Jesus, the true Son of David, announced by Nathan a thousand years before, chose the opposite.
The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.
The king of Israel, chosen after the likeness of the heart of David, was tempted to take what Solomon loved but refused for the Father's sake—reflecting the young heart of his father David who wanted to "Root out the evil from the midst" of the true Israel (the family of God's true sons), rather than take what was his in the earthly sense, to grab hold of his animal right to be like an animal.
"He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.' "
"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " `He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' "
Jesus answered him, "It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
The real king of the real Israel is the real Shepherd of God's real sons, His real family picked out of the created earth filled with the evil of the animal nature that rules all of the humans. It's what Solomon saw as the evil that is in/on the earth, that the same destiny overtakes all. Men and animals are alike in their life and their death, in that they just go into the ground like the beasts in the field that perish and go back to the earth from whence they came. The earthly things are temporary and are going away. The spirit of the heart of David, the life of the Son, is planted in the earthly bodies of God's sons so they know He intends to redeem them after the likeness of the firstborn Son of David and God.
He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.
Above his head they placed the written charge against him:
THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.