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The Arrival of the King

The President is sometimes called the Commander in Chief. This title emphasizes the President’s role as supreme commander of the armed forces. Protection is one of the primary responsibilities of civil government. As Paul notes in Romans 13:4, God’s design is that rulers function as servants for good. They “do not bear the sword for no reason.”

In the same way, the Messianic King will protect His people. The promises in today’s reading are intended for Israel. Although Jews and Gentiles will both experience the blessing of Messiah’s reign, its primary purpose is to fulfill promises made to Israel. If God is for all people, why single Israel out? The most basic reason is that God keeps His word. He entered into a covenant of blood with Israel (v. 11). Paul explains in Romans 11:29 that God’s gifts and call are “irrevocable.” God will be faithful to His promises.

Some scholars see a partial fulfillment of these promises during the period of Alexander the Great and the 2nd Century B.C. when Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Greek ruler of the Seleucid empire, was defeated by Judas Maccabee. The full extent of the deliverance waits for the second coming. According to verse 14, the Lord will “appear,” and His arrow will “flash like lightning.” Jesus used similar imagery when speaking of His return: “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24:27).

The Lord is the defender of His people. Sometimes God empowers His people to defend themselves. The book of Esther is a good example. On other occasions, God intervenes directly and delivers His people without human effort. Either way, when you feel afraid, you can be sure that God has your back!

Apply the Word

Are you fearful today? Consider memorizing Psalm 56:3: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” You might even personalize it by adding the particular reason for your fear. For example, “When I am afraid of my diagnosis, I put my trust in you.” “When I am afraid of losing my job, I put my trust in you.”

BY Dr. John Koessler, Chair and Professor of Pastoral Studies

Dr. John Koessler serves as chair and professor in the division of applied theology and church ministry at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. He is married to Jane and has two sons, Drew and Jarred. John is the author of The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody) and True Discipleship (Moody). John has written several other books and articles and serves as a contributing editor for Today in the Word.

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