Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Mighty One of Jacob

LORD, remember David
And all his afflictions;
How he swore to the LORD,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
(Psalm 132:1-2)
Jacob wrestles with God

The Ark of the LORD had been returned to Israel and David brought it to the city of Jerusalem. He was ecstatic. He vowed to the Lord that he would not go to sleep until he made an abode, a place of habitation for God. For the ark was the place where God manifested His presence on earth, so it became the priority in David’s life to find a place where God might tabernacle with him, the temple where the Mighty One of Jacob would dwell on earth.

The Mighty One of Jacob is a name that speaks of continuity and covenant. He is the God who made covenant with Abraham and confirmed it with his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. He is the God who showed Himself strong on Jacob’s behalf. By this name, David acknowledged this covenant and the destiny contained therein. By this name, he gave testimony that God had showed Himself mighty on David’s behalf.

We first see this name in Genesis 49, where Jacob gives blessing to his children and prophesies over them. Of his son Joseph he said, “But his bow remained firm, and his arms were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob” (Genesis 49:24 NASB). Over his son Judah, Jacob prophesied an eternal kingdom: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes” (Genesis 49:10). David, king of Israel, was of the tribe of Judah.

The Mighty One of Jacob was faithful to the promise given to Judah, and as He had strengthened Joseph in all his adversities, so He gave strength also to David in his. “For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall … He teaches my hands to make war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze,” David said (Psalm 18:29, 34). As Joseph prevailed and rose to a position of greatness in Egypt, so David prevailed and ascended to the throne of Israel. Now the Ark of the Covenant manifested the presence of God in Jerusalem, and David wanted to honor Him with the best place.

David received the testimony and heritage of Jacob, and made a vow to the God of Jacob. In return, God made a vow to David, a promise of what this inheritance would mean in the world:
The LORD has sworn in truth to David;
He will not turn from it:
“I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.
If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I shall teach them,
Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.”
(Psalm 132:11-12)
This promise finds its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, Son of David, who reigns forever as God’s Messiah King. In Him, all the covenant promises God made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the world-redeeming purpose God had for Israel is made complete. God showed Himself strong on Jesus’ behalf when He raised Him from the dead, “according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:19-21).

God has prepared the mighty working of this same power on behalf of all those who put their faith in King Jesus (Ephesians 1:19). By this power, at work in as well as for every believer, God is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). The God who was mighty for Jacob’s sake, who strengthened Joseph and David, who made of Israel a great nation and who has given an eternal King to redeem and renew the world ~ this same God is mighty for all who will give Him the dwelling place of their hearts.