“For thus says the LORD: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn cereal offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.” – Jer 33:17-18
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There are times when taking over a position is difficult and risky. Think of Kampala in 1976 just after the murder of Archbishop Janan Luwum; who would take over this risky position while tyrant Idi Amin was still in charge as President of Uganda? Many bishops were fleeing abroad for dear life, yet someone had to take over leadership and serve.God did not lack a man. Think of the idolatrous inland China – still covered with deep darkness eighteen hundred years after Jesus commissioned his disciples to evangelize all nations; who would go there among savagery people with an unwelcoming government? Perhaps it would take a mighty conqueror armed with more than the sword of the Spirit, but a frail young man arose from England and successfully broke in. God did not lack a man.
Jeremiah wrote the above verses at a time when it was very difficult for his audience to take the message in. Only a few Chapters earlier, this same prophet had assured the Jews that their exile would last seven decades (Jer 29). The Davidic dynasty had miserably crumbled under the heavy hand of the Babylonians, and it seemed that God’s promise had failed! How dare he say ‘David shall never lack a man’? The priests were deported with other nobles to Babylon; and the Temple had been destroyed – a terrible heartbreak! How dare Jeremiah say ‘the Levitical priests shall never lack a man? Hope of restoration decades later could not mix well with the present disgrace of a vandalized Jerusalem! There was a deeper meaning to Jeremiah’s message.
James Hudson Taylor was the frail young man God took to inland China to preach the gospel for decades; he also mobilized many missionaries for this vast land, piercing the darkness of long-standing darkness with the light of Jesus Christ. Archbishop Silvanus Wani took leadership of Uganda’s Anglican Church after a gruesome murder of his predecessor. God will indeed never lack a man.But when it comes to the descendant of David on the throne, and a Levitical priest at the Temple, we find much later a convergence of the two in the Messiah. His would be and eternal priesthood and His would be an eternal throne. As was prophesied, Jesus was born and was confirmed as the promised Anointed One whose government will be forever. Advent means the arrival of this great King, this great High Priest. He came down and lived among us as a man, ushered in the Kingdom, which was the gist of his teaching; and He is coming again to take His throne forever and ever. With this Priest and King, we can agree with the prophet, indeed God will never lack a man.