Perhaps it isn't a contradiction
Have you ever heard the comment that the Bible is full of contradictions and that these seeming incongruities undermine its authority and relevance to our lives? May I offer one of these apparent disparities which absolutely thrills me?
In 2 Samuel 12, the prophet Nathan is sent by God to deliver a message of consequence for King David’s adultery, deception, and murder. Not only would the child of his illicit union die, but also “the sword (would) never depart from [David’s] house” (verse 10). This prophetic word rang true as some members of David’s family killed each other, and one another of David’s sons leads a coup to usurp his throne and seeks to slay him. As David’s line continues, this prophecy proves true time and time again — violent death follows David’s descendants.
But flash forward to yet another of David’s sons and successor, Solomon. He executes justice on David’s corrupted general, Joab, and explains the judgment is a just punishment for a bloody man who has unjustly killed men. Solomon decries Joab’s wickedness and then makes the strong statement, “For David and for his descendants and for his house and for his throne there shall be peace from the Lord forevermore” (2 Kings 2:33).
So which is it? The sword will never depart from David’s house, or peace from the Lord will mark David’s descendants forevermore? These sound antithetical and can’t possibly be reconciled to one another — can they? In this we find an apparent, and seemingly significant, contradiction.
Oh, the beauty of Jesus Christ, who fulfills both of these prophetic words perfectly. Jesus, David’s most prominent descendant, experienced violent death at the hands of evil men, which affirmed the prophetic word that the sword would not depart from David’s house. In fact, the height of the sword’s vengeance would fall on Jesus Christ. Even as God spoke, through Nathan, that the sword would never depart from David’s house, He must have had an eye to the one descendant of David — His own Son — who would violently die at the hands of evil men.
And it was by that violent death that the Father, through His son Jesus Christ, accomplished peace for all of us who have believed in Jesus, received the Holy Spirit, and been adopted into God’s family. We have peace first with God and then with people. And this peace is enduring — forever. And all because of the violent death of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus, the seeming contradiction of the sword enduring in a house and peace reigning forevermore can be reconciled. He accomplished both, and now lives to intercede for us. Praise be to Jesus both now and forevermore!
The next time you come across something that seems like a contradiction, please consider the very real possibility that it only seems like a contradiction — even if it is so to us, that doesn’t mean it really is one. Maybe we just haven’t realized or can’t conceive of the truth that could tie them all together. Consider the possibility that maybe God is working out that one, too, to bring glory to Jesus just like this one.