Andrew Peterson has some great Christmas music, available here. The song “So Long, Moses” has made me weep. It puts Christmas—and life and history—in perspective. “So Long, Moses” summarizes the history of Israel’s yearning for a king, for a Messiah who would be a king like David: “Will there be another king like this?”
The author of Judges says that when the people of Israel first came to the Promised Land they had no king; each person considered himself his own lawmaker; instead of a king, sin reigned in the land. As bad as that was, the Israelites sinned when they longed for a king in those days. This longing was a rejection of God as their king; it was a longing to be like the other nations, a longing not to be a people who were set apart for God because they were ruled by God’s law only.
They got the trouble they asked for with Saul and a number of their other kings. But Israel was not without good kings. Above all, there was King David.
As the history of Israel unfolded, the Hebrew wish for a king took on a new quality; it became a longing for a Messiah who would occupy David’s throne and set things right for God’s people. The prophets told of such a Messiah, the heir of David, whose throne would last forever.
When I listen to “So Long, Moses” I feel the weight of Israel’s two thousand years of longing for this Messiah.
When I listen I am saddened by the tragedy that when the King came the first time few recognized Him because, as Isaiah had foretold and as Peterson’s song reminds us, He came as a suffering servant.
When I listen I feel the continuing longing for the King to set things right for God’s people—and, through them, as Abraham was told in Genesis 12, all the world. In fact, every time a Christian longs for things to be set right in the world, he inherits the ancient longing of Israel for the Messiah.
It’s Christmastime, and the King has already come once. He himself taught us to pray for the consummation of His work on earth: “Thy Kingdom come.”
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)
Dr. Mark J. Boone is a teacher and researcher in philosophy, especially the history of philosophy, primarily the ancient and medieval eras, writing his dissertation on Saint Augustine. Dr. Boone is the Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Forman Christian College. Mark is an occasional book reviewer for the journal Augustinian Studies and has written articles dealing with Plato, William James, theology and the arts, and religious epistemology. In some of his precious little spare time Mark makes animated cartoons based on famous speeches and dialogues in the history of philosophy, available on YouTube and Vimeo under the username TeacherofPhilosophy.