“And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’”
(1 Kings 9:4–5)
So this is God speaking to Solomon and telling him, “Follow me. Keep your heart close to me just as David did.” Obviously David was not perfect, but even when he sinned there was confession, there was repentance, there was a heart that desired to please God. And so this is what God is calling Solomon to.
Now you read on in the story, and you realize Solomon did not follow the Lord. It didn’t take long for him to, in all kinds of ways, indulge in immorality and idolatry, and the effects of that on his family were evident. And it ended up leading to civil war among God’s people and a splitting of the kingdom of Israel into two—the kingdom of Judah in the south and Israel in the north.
But the whole point is, God had promised to David, “Your throne will last forever.” Now if it was dependent on Solomon being sinless, then that throne would have fallen apart really quickly. But thankfully, all throughout the history to come after Solomon, we know that God’s promise remained true because it wasn’t dependent, ultimately, on Solomon or the kings who came after him, who were all sinful in different ways. This covenant, this promise from God, was dependent on a fully obedient Son—a Son who would come from the line of David, who would be completely and wholly obedient, sinless.
And this is what we need. We need a sinless King; we need a sinless Savior. That’s the only way Jesus is able to save us from our sin, if He is the obedient Son. And that’s exactly what we celebrate at Christmas.
Jesus, the Son of God, did not sin and wander in all kinds of different ways. He never once wandered. He was the obedient Son to whom this covenant in 1 Kings and the covenant made with David (2 Samuel 7) was pointing forward to, a Son who would never turn against the Father, who would always obey the Father.
So as a result, this is the glorious picture in salvation. Jesus, because He is sinless, is able to die on a cross for our sins. If He had sinned, for which He would need to pay a price, He couldn’t be the substitute for us. But because of His sinlessness He’s able to pay the price for us. And then when it comes to our standing before God, what does 2 Corinthians 5 teach? “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, in order that we might become the righteousness of God.” So we give Jesus our sin. He’s the substitute for our sin. He gives us His righteousness, His obedience. And that means, concerning our standing before God, we’re forgiven of our sin, and then in our lives before God we are enabled to walk by the power of Jesus in us, in obedience to God.
So this totally affects the way we pray, how we pray, what we pray for, and even how we’re able to pray. Think about it as we pray.
God we know the only way we can come to You right now is through Your obedient Son, through Jesus and His life and death on our behalf, His resurrection from the grave. This is the only way we can come to You right now is through Jesus. So we praise You, Jesus, for Your obedience. We praise You for Your sinlessness. And not only for the privilege of prayer that that makes possible (this relationship this makes possible), oh God, with You, but, God, the way that totally transforms our lives today. We face all kinds of temptation today. I face temptation in my life. Everybody who’s listening to or watching this faces temptation in their lives. And, Jesus, You give us power over sin and temptation. You don’t just save us from sin; You free us from sin’s hold in our lives. So help us, we pray today, to honor You.
God make us obedient sons and daughters, we pray. Help us to turn aside from all idolatry and immorality in all kinds of ways. God, please help us to obey You today, by the power of Jesus in us, by your Spirit at work in us. Please help us to obey You. And help us to become more and more and more conformed into the image of Jesus, the obedient Son, our perfect older Brother, in this sense.
Oh Jesus we praise You, we need Your help, and we pray that You would conform us today more into Your image. In your name we pray these things. Amen.
This article was adapted from the transcript of Pray the Word episode 487. Listen or subscribe to the full Pray the Word: Advent series here.