The Curses and the Covenants: Part 3

(Another sample from The Curses and the Covenants available here.)

(The full study available for sale here.)

The New Kingdom: Zion

(Based on 2 Samuel 5 + Matthew 20:29-34)

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:7-8, ESV).

But David captured the fortress Zion (that is, the City of David). That day David said, ‘Whoever wants to defeat the Jebusites must reach the lame and the blind who hate me by using the water shaft.’ So there is a saying, ‘The blind and the lame will not get into the palace’” (2 Sam. 5:7-8).

They told him, ‘Lord, we want you to give us our eyesight back’” (Matt. 20:33).

Today, we see God already building David’s house. Tomorrow, we’ll spotlight the start of David’s brilliant idea to build God a house that turned into God’s promise to build David a house; a brilliant idea that got off to a shaky start—going astray by neglecting a principle we see him nailing in 2 Samuel 5: Just ask! Then, on Day 7, we’ll see God build David’s house through David’s straying into a sin involving a woman’s beauty and a man’s weakness.

But today’s news is good news, and 2 Samuel 5 set off my thinking in the direction of God’s blueprint for building “houses”: beauty and strength—traits I see as the essence of femininity and masculinity. I like to call those essences a woman’s “garden of beauty” and a man’s “fortress of strength.”

With sexual relationships being the means of God’s covenant with David (and also the subject of the curse of Genesis 3:16b.), let’s detour briefly from 2 Samuel 5 to take a look at those relationships and their purposes.

On one hand, it’s apparent that the biological purpose of sex is reproduction. But a belief in a Creator God opens the door to seeing sex as more than simply biological. Why would God choose to create life this way?

God created us for relationship because we’re made in His image. But He created us in His image in a specific way when He created us male and female: two halves that make up the completed human race, two halves needed to create new life, two halves of the “one flesh” of a sexual relationship, two halves meant to come together into a unity from a plurality. In the unity from a plurality, God points us toward His nature which is a unity from a plurality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: that mystery of the tri-unity.

On Day 7, I’ll dive more deeply into the reasons (some of them seen clearly through our biology) for the opposite yet complementary traits of strength and beauty that draw men and women together. But today, let’s see them in the pages of 2 Samuel 5 where God was already building David a house of offspring. We’ll start in 2 Samuel 5:22-25 and Genesis 3:7-8.

Notice the movement of God’s Spirit through the trees. 2 Samuel 5:22-25 is puzzling. What is the “sound of marching”? Perhaps the “sound” is the wind in the trees like a marching army. I draw a comparison to Genesis 3:8 because the Hebrew word “sound” (also elsewhere translated “voice”) in 2 Samuel 5:24 is the same word used in Genesis 3:8. Then, the “breezy” or “cool” part of the day is the word “wind” which is also the word “spirit.” God’s Spirit was stirring and calling. Yet He knew the man and woman were hiding from Him, naked and ashamed in the trees of His garden of beauty.

But they were also hiding from each other. The fig-leaf clothing hid their nakedness from each other. We see already in effect the breakdown in relationships of Genesis 3:16b. Because of our Self-first, relational separation, we are afraid to be too known. Our eyes are opened to our own shame.

And yet we long to be known. Fully. By one who sees all and accepts us anyway. Who even admires or adores. We fear yet long to open up to one, right person the gates to our gardens of beauty or fortresses of strength at the core of our sexual natures, a nakedness much deeper than the physical. Soul nakedness. That was how life was meant to begin—through this most intimate knowing. The man/woman equation is not only a picture of God’s composite unity but also of our relationship with God. Does it give you a new understanding of the reason sex is meant to be sacred? It points us to the intimacy we’re really meant for. Knowing fully yet loving fully. It’s God who combines both ultimate strength and ultimate beauty into one to be adored.

God built David a house inside a fortress of strength: Zion. “Highest Point.” Like Mizpah, a reminder of God’s protection. And then His voice again spoke to David through His wind in the trees, and His Spirit stirred. But this was post-Genesis 3, and the purpose of both acts was conflict. Warfare.

Notice that “the blind and lame” couldn’t come into the palace. Although it was used as a taunt, there was truth to it. In Matthew 20:29-34, there is a foreshadowing of God’s new, New Kingdom where all effects of the fall will be eradicated. No one will be blind or lame in God’s new, New Kingdom. Blindness and lameness strike at the heart of our God-given traits of beauty and strength. Our blindness hides beauty from us, and our lameness makes us weak. We still have some sight and strength, but our eyes are opened to our shame, and our strength is now exerted in warfare.

But God’s final-and-forever house will no longer be a fortress for warfare but a palace of strength. His garden of beauty will be restored, and there will be no more hiding. Perfect intimacy with Him will be our reality. All lameness and blindness will be healed. And Genesis 3 will be reversed.

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