I love a good mystery, Agatha Christie, a good Morse, classic whodunnits etc...
Question: did God really intend Israel to have a King? read 1 Samuel 8 and answers on a postcard please. Another question: did God intend Israel to have a temple? read 2 Samuel 7 and again answers on a postcard.
You know at one simple level these things, a king, a temple seem to be just concessions to Israel’s desire to be like everybody else. To be like every other countries Kings like all the nations. A temple like the one down the road. But there our problems borrowing light from the world instead of being the light of the world. Kings can become corrupt and are exiled, beginning with David himself whose immorality copied amongst his children leads to Absalom’s rebellion.
Temples can very quickly become first idols and then ruins, and yet God desires justice and mercy for his people not unredeemed anarchy. God desires to dwell among his people not to remain distant. A King after God's own heart, a temple that is, I don't know somehow, simultaneously movable and appropriate to God’s Majesty. These kinds of ambiguities, these mysteries converge in an apparently jokey pun in 2 Samuel 7:11. David wants to build God a house so God promises that he will build David a ‘house’, a son who will be God’s own son, whose Davidic throne will be established forever. Why did God change the subject? Had he forgotten David’s suggestion about a temple? No, there was an appropriate way for the living, loving God to dwell in the midst of his people. The stone temple would point the way towards it but would remain just a kind of mysterious signpost. The reality would be a human being reflecting God's image, a King embodying Gods wise ordering of the people. A man after God's own heart whose heart will be broken by the pain of the world but who would, in that moment, render all manmade temples redundant.
Paul says that this is a mystery, it's hidden long ago and it's only disclosed in Jesus (Rom 16:25-26). Luke tells us that Mary wildly becomes the temporary dwelling place of the living God. The presence of the Holy Spirit and the overshadowing of the most high both evoke the temple idea. The passage struggles to say something for which words can hardly exist, that in Mary's womb the temple and King come together once and that the scriptures came true in ways never imagined (Luke 1:26). God found at last the house, neither tent nor temple but flesh and blood that would most truly and fully express his Royal self-giving love. A mystery solved, it was Jesus all along.