Today's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Exodus 19-20, Psalm 26, Matthew 26
One Nation Under One King15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Belonging to Joseph (that is, to Ephraim) and all the Israelites associated with him.’ 17 Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
18 “When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ 19 say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’ 20 Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on 21 and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. 22 I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. 23 They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
24 “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. 25 They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”
I highly recommend you read Rayburn's verse by verse break down of this passage. The historical and cultural lesson in it is fascinating, but not really the aim of this Bible study.
This is a difficult prophecy to deal with. David did become king over the people descending from the original Israelites. And yet, since the time of this prophecy until now, the people descending from Israel have never been gathered into one land under one king. They have not been physically restored. They have not been politically restored. In fact, they have lost even more political power and been scattered even further.
Rayburn points out that in the New Testament, this prophecy, and many like these, are predictions of the world's salvation, of God gathering all His followers together after the end times.
I think that is what make the Bible so amazing. Some of the Old Testament books can be difficult to read, seeming like a history that doesn't matter much to us, or maybe just a warning of God's wrath to those who purposefully deny him. But they are just as relevant today as they were then.
God will gather His followers, His people to Him. He will restore us in a city He has prepared for us. The promise is there, from many many many years ago.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Ezekiel 38-39