In Part 3 of this series, we will take a look at the life of King David. Over the years, the story of King David has mesmerized both kids and adults alike whether it is due to the familiarity of the story or because our own lives seem to vicariously relate to the daily struggles he experienced. Despite his seemingly insurmountable obstacles, David’s hopes and dreams were realized through his trusting faith in God. Any child growing up in a Christian environment would be impressed by the faith and boldness of David especially as it relates to his valiant victory over the giant, Goliath. But David the child prodigy and future King proves to be so much more.
From beginning to end David had a turbulent life (resented by his oldest brother Eliab when young David was anointed as future King by the prophet Samuel; persecuted by the jealous King Saul; Michal daughter of Saul was given as wife to another man after being promised to David for defeating Goliath; spends many years of his life in the wilderness to escape the wrath of King Saul; has Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba’s husband, murdered to cover up his adulterous affair; his own son, Absalom, commits treason by turning the kingdom against him and David flees his kingdom for safety, etc.). Yet, despite all these things, the scripture says he remained faithful to God (I Kings 15:3-5).
The life of David is recorded in several Old Testament books: I and II Samuel, I Kings and I Chronicles.David is first introduced in I Samuel 16:12-13, and we trace his life from a young to eventually King of Judah and then all of Israel as the Lord foretold “…then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward…” David (maybe 15-16 years old) is the youngest of eight sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite. Even at a young age David is already recognized by others to have quality character (I Sam 16:18). David is skillful as a musician (plays the harp or lyre), a mighty man of valor (fought lion and bear in order to protect his father’s sheep), a man of war (likely reference to his defeat of Goliath the Philistine, and subsequent successful military exploits), prudent in speech, a handsome person, and the Lord is with him.
God had recently rejected King Saul due to several acts of disobedience (I Sam 16:1) and is now ‘seeking a man after His own heart.’ We will look at three quality traits of David. He was courageous, he was humble and he was wise. All Christians should demonstrate these traits in their daily lives. When a person, any person (God is not a respecter of persons), exemplifies these character traits in their Christian walk, God honors and guide their path as is witnessed in David’s life.
David’s courage is already noted during his duties as a young lad defending and protecting his father’s sheep against a lion and a bear (I Samuel 17:31-37). Notice how in the gospel of John 10:11-13, Jesus makes the contrast between a good shepherd (we can apply David’s love for the sheep as a picture of Jesus being the good shepherd) and a hireling (referring to many religious leaders who care little about the sheep and allow them to be attacked).
The children of Israel’s army are being challenged by the champion warrior of the Philistines, Goliath of Gath. Forty days and forty nights Goliath stands in the Valley of Elah taunting and mocking the True and Living God, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” The Israelite army is shaking in fear. Day in and day out Goliath mocks and taunts them. The psychological warfare is having serious devastating effects on the morale of the army. Even King Saul, their military leader, is so frightened by the giant that he is forced to bribe his own soldiers with great riches, his daughter in marriage and exemption from taxes to go out and defeat this Goliath (see I Samuel 17:25).
The young lad David is willing. Not one of the trained Israeli soldiers believes it possible, but without fear he boldly takes on the giant Goliath. King Saul attempts to dress him in normal combat attire but David isn’t tested for them. But David does have two things in his favor 1) The Lord in whom he trusted is with him and, 2) he has his sling in his hand and five smooth stones. As David enters into the field of battle, approaching the giant, they have a great verbal exchange that needs to be noted here. Seeing that David is just a boy, Goliath rightly remarks, “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks? Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” and David returns comment, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to he birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” (I Samuel 17:43-46). I love it. And with one smooth stone David plunges into the giant’s forehead and he falls head first to the ground, takes the giant’s sword and removes his head. The Philistine army shocked and terrified at the impossible events they witnessed, run for their lives while the Israeli army with new vigor pursue and overcome the Philistines.
After the victorious battle with Goliath, David is authorized by King Saul to lead the armies of Israel against the Philistines. Remember, God is with David. David returns with each victory causing all Israel and Judah to love him (I Samuel 18:14-16). Even the women came out and sang and danced saying, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousand.” King Saul became jealous of David and fearful that he might overthrow his kingdom (this was common among foreign nations and would become common in Israel after the monarchy becomes divided). Twice David showed humility and spared King Saul’s life because he was God’s anointed and was willing to wait until God removed Saul (I Samuel 24:4-8, 10-12; 26:11-16), yet Saul on several occasions attempted to take his David’s life (I Samuel 18:11-12; 19:10-11).
The book of II Samuel chapter 11, records David’s adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the senseless murder of Uriah, the Hittite, to cover up a vicious scheme. David’s treacherous act – a horrendous sin against God – caused an avalanche of problems within his family and kingdom the remainder of his rule as king. This should cause us to take notice.
But it is the 12th chapter of II Samuel I want to pay close attention to. Remember David is hiding his indiscretion and only a handful of people knew what David had done. The prophet Nathan comes to King David to share a story. It is about a rich man and a poor man living in a city. The rich man had many flocks whereas the poor man had one little lamb whom he loved. The rich man took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for his traveler friend. David became angry against the man after hearing the story and comments, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!” Nathan retorts, “You are the man! Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight? You did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel.”
What is significant here is that David admitted his guilt. As King, David could have denied the charges and had Nathan killed but he didn’t. David acknowledges his sin and repents, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan responds, “The Lord also has put away your sin, you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” (II Samuel 12:1-15). David also records this incident in Psalm 51:3-4, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight – that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.” This is an indication of his humility and should be an example for all us during our moments of pride. Although God will forgive our many sins (some an act of pleasure in a fleeting moment) their consequences may have lasting effects not only for us but often those we love.
It is apparent that David had a genuine love for the Lord (I Samuel 18:14). His gave praise and thanksgiving to God in the Psalms. He inquired of God for guidance. He shared his frustration and lack of understanding of God’s ways (see II Samuel 22:2-51; I Chronicles 13:6-14; 15:2; 14:2-17 and 17:1-21). It demonstrates his obedience and trust in the Lord God. Time will not permit me to discourse on the various scripture passages but to speak briefly on the matters.
In II Samuel chapter 22:2,4 David honors God for delivering him out of the hands of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. Giving God high praise in saying, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies“. Next passage in I Chronicles 13:9-11 shows David’s desire to return the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem but was interrupted when God struck down Uzza for attempting to keep the Ark from falling to the ground. David was upset with God for taking the life of Uzza, but wisely decided not to attempt to move the Ark any further. It was necessary for the death of Uzza by the hand of God to make David understand that only the Levitical priests were appointed by God to move the Ark (15:2). Now in I Chronicles 14:2-17, David acknowledges that God, not his own power, has established him King over Israel. As the Israelites battle with the Philistines and overcome them, David wisely commands his troops to burn the gods of the Philistines (no false foreign gods would be allowed in Israel). David is excited about his great new dwelling place but his heart is sad because God’s house is only curtains (I Chronicles 17:1-21), “I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under tent curtains…” David has shed much blood with his hands that he is not allowed to build the temple, but his son Solomon who will reign after him will build the Temple of the Lord.
These words, “And the Lord is with him” referring to David are extremely important. David’s entire life, from his youth (at least after being anointed by the prophet Samuel), was being groomed to become the future King of Israel. The words of the prophet Samuel were fulfilled by God, “Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel and the period that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and thirty-three years he reigned in Jerusalem.” (II Samuel 5:2-5; I Chronicles 29:26-30). We are all destined by God to be kings and priests. Let’s be obedient to His word, no matter how long it takes, and watch Him move in our lives.
In Part 4, the final segment of this series, we will visit Daniel and his friends whose enduring faith in God will ignite your passion to stand!