Though the Israelites suffered exile because of their own sin, God would restore them on the basis of his covenant with David (found in 2 Sam 7 [also note God’s promises of a new covenant and the unfolding of the Abrahamic covenant]). They would return to Jerusalem because of David (and his line). But David nor his children thus far would ultimately give God’s people rest and bring them into his presence . . . until the ultimate Son would come. This Son would be of David and of God himself (2 Sam 7:14; Ps 2:7, 12). And though he would be David’s Son, David himself would call his anointed Son (the Messiah), his very own Lord (Ps 110:1). Great David could not lead his people to rest, but David’s greater Son could.
At the fullness of time, God sent his Son (Gal 4:4), the long-awaited promised Messiah, Jesus. Matthew opens his Gospel saying, “Jesus Christ, the son of David” (Matt 1:1). Paul says, “concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God . . . Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom 1:1–4). The NT ends on this Davidic note: “I, Jesus . . . am the root and the descendant of David” (Rev 22:16). Jesus is both the Son of David, the Son of God—the great King of Psalms 1–2. He came to deliver his people and bring restoration—not from political exile, but “to set the captives free from the power of sin and death (Matt 1:21; Luke 4:18–19; Rom 8:2; Heb 9:14–15) and to reopen a way into the very presence of God (Matt 27:51; Heb 10:19–22).” Jesus brought a true and better exodus (ἔξοδος; Luke 9:31). And to do so, he would not simply lead it, but he would be exiled from God through his death and dereliction (Matt 27:45–50). But because he was perfect (1 Pet 2:22; Heb 4:15), God vindicated him by raising him from the dead, and Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand (Heb 1:3; 12:2; cf. Ps 110:1). By this, he leads us back into God’s presence not mediated by a temple, but by himself (1 Tim 2:5). Everyone who submits and takes refuge in King Jesus is blessed (Ps 2:12).
As the vindicated and resurrected Son of God, Jesus is kept by God, and so too are those who are found in him by which they have the newness of life (Rom 6:4–5). In Jesus, we are kept from eternal death and are given life. Jude highlights this by calling Christians “those . . . kept by Jesus” (Jude 1), and he says our Lord “is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (24). As God did not give his people over to slipping on the way to Jerusalem, he will now keep you in Christ from stumbling and so bring you blameless into his very own presence. In Paul’s words: “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6), and “may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:23–24).
In the past, God’s people journeyed to Jerusalem. During this age, Christians are “sojourners and strangers” (1 Pet 2:11). We live in this world knowing that our citizenship is elsewhere (Phil 3:20). Thus, “we seek the city that is to come” (Heb 13:14), but not any city made by men’s hands. This city is the New Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God with man (Rev 21:3). Yahweh “will shelter” his people “in his presence” wherein the sun will not harm them because the Lamb—the Son of David—“will be their shepherd” (7:15–17; cf. Ps 121:6; Ezek 34:23; 37:24–27). Further, his people will worship him, see his face, and reign with him forever (Rev 22:4–5). God in Christ keeps us in our sojourning, will bring us safely home, and will keep us forever in eternity in his blessed presence. God kept his people safe on the journey to Jerusalem, and now he keeps his people in Christ until the New Jerusalem.
Yahweh keeps his people—supremely so in Jesus. One implication is the Christian has great comfort and confidence in God through Jesus. We will endure by the power of Spirit. In every pain and trial, we know God keeps us, and not even death nor anything else can separate us from his love (Rom 8:38–39). The reality thatYahweh keeps yougrants assurance to the Christian. And because of his Spirit, we are called (1) to “keep [ourselves] in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 21). To that end, we (2) are to not do so in our own strength, but in the strength God supplies, and (3) “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:1–2). In Paul’s words, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David” (1 Tim 2:8). He is our Help.
Thomas Richard Wood, “Exile and Exodus,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible, ed. D.A. Carson et. al. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 2661.