“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Exodus 19.5, 6
A growing sense
By the time Israel descended into Egypt, the idea of a kingdom, involving them as a people specially chosen by God, had begun to gain some traction in the thinking of at least some of their leaders.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Genesis 17.1 2
With Abraham we tend to think more in terms of “covenant” than of “Kingdom.” God called Abraham to enter with Him into a covenant of promise, in which he would know blessings from God and become a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12.1-3).
“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Genesis 17.5-7
No king but God
Abraham had some experience of earthly kings, and it wasn’t all that great. Shortly after his appearing in Canaan, two episodes involving earthly kings must have colored Abraham’s view of such people in something of a negative light.
Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2.15
The three tasks of dominion
We’ve seen that, from the beginning, God instructed His people in the work of rule, of exercising dominion over the creation.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1.28
From the beginning
The idea of rule and dominion under God – the idea of a Kingdom – has been present from the first days of humankind’s sojourn on the earth. On the day God created Adam and Eve, He instilled in them an idea of dominion, a call to exercise authority, by God’s command and according to His purposes, in acting upon the creation and creatures around them.