Covenant of Shalom
By Jim Huskins
Most of us have experienced the pain of unresolvable family rifts. The most gut-wrenching family split in history occurred because the wisest man who ever lived insisted on behaving like an idiot.
This tragedy is recorded in 1 Kings 11. King Solomon was so wise and so wealthy that his fame spread around the world. A stream of dignitaries and heads of state visited Jerusalem to see if the rumors were true. The Queen of Sheba summarized Solomon’s glory by proclaiming “the half has not been told.” Why would a man who had been blessed by God in such measure turn away from the source of all that is good and devote himself to lies?
The short answer is that Solomon had a weakness for women. This same weakness is at the core of many family problems. Solomon’s case was unique, however, since he chose to marry seven hundred women and keep three hundred more as surrogate wives. This is nowhere near historical accounts of the size of famous harems around the ancient world, but it is an astounding number in a culture governed by Torah. In Deuteronomy 17:14-17, God gives specific regulations for future kings of Israel. In the context of injunctions against over-dependence on war horses and wealth, Hebrew kings are told to “not acquire many wives…, lest his heart turns away.” This instruction foreshadowed Solomon’s demise.
Solomon loved his women, and he wanted to please them. Since he had chosen most of them from outside of Israel—thus violating other provisions of the Torah—many of his wives brought their familiar pagan idols and worship rituals. Over time, his efforts to satisfy his women led to him turning away from God to follow false gods. The result is revealed in 1 Kings 11:9, “And the LORD was angry with Solomon.” God hates pagan worship. He finds idolatry particularly offensive when practiced by those He calls to lead His people.
God promised King David that he would always have a descendant on Israel’s throne. After Solomon’s death, God tore ten tribes away from David’s line. These became the Northern Kingdom which kept the name Israel. God left the tribes of Judah and Benjamin under David’s offspring. The Southern Kingdom was known as Judah. These two factions of God’s family were never rejoined. The reunion was rendered impossible around 740 B.C. when mighty Assyria conquered Israel and carried her into exile. The so-called “Ten Lost Tribes” were subsequently scattered to the winds. God allowed this dispersal because of flagrant disobedience to His instructions for living. Israel’s primary sin was idolatry. Evidence suggests that much of Europe and the Americas was eventually settled by those descendants of the Patriarch, Jacob.
The Church has been so focused for so long on the narrative of Messiah that we have missed God’s even larger purpose. Few Christians are aware that the primary theme of the Bible is the reunification of God’s Family. The story of Jesus is marvelous. None of us could stand before Holy God without forgiveness that only comes by grace through faith in the Son of God. Redemption is so important that it is easy for us to miss the fact that Jesus did not die just so we may have “personal salvation.” God created us for Himself. We were made in His image so that He might enjoy sweet fellowship with people who were free to reject Him but did not do so. We are saved so that we may join God’s never-ending family reunion. His family is in Israel.
The perfect life and the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God make possible the impossible family reunion. That was Jesus’ primary mission. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel,” He says in Matthew 15:24. Throughout the Bible, God promises to rejoin the severed factions of His family. None of those prophecies is more vivid than Ezekiel’s vision of the Valley of Dry Bones.
The Church has trivialized Ezekiel’s vision by deeming it only worthy of children’s stories and borderline-silly songs. Ezekiel 37 is a powerful summary of God’s divine purpose. Verse 11 tells us that “these bones are the whole house of Israel.” In verse 12 God promises, “I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.” Verses 21 and 22 say, “I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms.”
This marvelous chapter goes on to detail the perfection of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. The Son of David will be King. None of God’s children will defile themselves with idols or detestable things. All will walk perfectly according to God’s Torah. We will inhabit forever the land God gave to Jacob, and God Himself will live among us. This perfection will be possible because God will base that Kingdom on a covenant of Shalom. (Ezekiel 37:26)
Shalom is more than the absence of conflict. The ancient Hebrew meaning is “to make something whole.” God’s standard of wholeness for His children includes freedom from sin and its consequences; freedom from lust and divided loyalty; freedom from hunger and deprivation; freedom from disease and decay; freedom from danger and bondage; freedom from shattered relationships and unworthy goals; freedom from shame; freedom from separation. God’s Shalom both requires and provides the same intimacy with Him that Adam and Eve enjoyed in The Garden. Regardless of our genetics, we are adopted into Israel through saving faith. All who follow Jesus in faithful obedience will know nothing but Shalom when He returns to gather His family to Himself.
Obedient Heart Fellowship meets each Sabbath (Seventh Day) at 2460 US 221 Business N. Marion, NC. 10:00 A.M. 828-460-7913
Jim & Beverly Huskins are members of Obedient Heart Fellowship in McDowell County. Beginning July 2, 2022 Obedient Heart Fellowship will meet at 10:00 Each Sabbath (Seventh Day) in space graciously shared by New Covenant Church in Christ. 2460 US 221 Business N. In Marion, NC. Call for info. 828-460-7913. You can read more good Christian news from Jim HERE.