by | May 28, 2024

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 1

Poet. Shepherd. Musician. Warrior.

These are only a few of the words used to describe King David. David was a man of integrity and humility. He was the greatest King of Israel, ruling with justice and righteousness. And yet, David was also a man who struggled with his sinful nature. He was aware of and fought against the desires of sin that waged war in his body, just like every human today.

And while our minds are quick to associate David with his sin, his sin was not the defining narrative of his life.

Acts 13 details God’s testimony concerning David:

I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do. 2

Although David failed throughout his life, his failures were not the prevailing theme of his life.

David was Israel’s greatest king, leading them to be a nation submitted to God and surrendered to God’s ways. He fought giants. He honored others in the most difficult of circumstances. He repented when he sinned against God.

David, at his core, was a man after God’s heart.

And as the author of almost half of the Psalms,3 David’s influence on the Body of Christ cannot be overstated.

His writings, prayers, and laments are key components of many studies, devotions, and sermons today.

Let’s take a deeper look at the life of David, focusing on some key stages of his life and rule as the King of Israel.

Calling and Anointing

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. 1 (1 Samuel 16:13 NIV)

David spent his younger years on the backside of nowhere.

Tending sheep, he spent his days in solitude and silence. As Dr. Joshua J. Van Ee writes:

Shepherding in the ancient world was in many ways simpler than our busy lives, since it involved a lot of time watching animals eat. But it was far from mundane. To this day, caring for animals always presents unique difficulties, especially with needy sheep, besides the challenges of the environment. We could summarize the life of a shepherd as one of constant care. 5

Because David spent his time constantly caring for his sheep, he was positioned to be a future shepherd for the nation of Israel.

And this field, tending sheep, is where God developed and formed David into the king He had called him to be.

But before David stepped into his role as King of Israel, God sent His prophet Samuel to anoint him. When Samuel arrived at the house of David’s father Jesse, Jesse presented his 7 sons before Samuel. All 7 looked the part of a king, and Samuel assumed that one of these boys would be God’s choice.

But God knew who He wanted as King of Israel.

The only problem was: Jesse hadn’t even presented David as an option.

But this was the moment God revealed a beautiful truth:

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)

Although David had been overlooked by his father and unnoticed by Samuel, God’s eye was on His servant David.

Although David was the youngest and the least qualified, he was God’s choice.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” 1 (1 Samuel 16:12 NIV)

It would be 14 years before David would step into his role as the King of Israel, but David was called, anointed, and chosen.

David and Goliath

David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.’ 1 (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV)

A well-known story in Scripture, this proved to be a defining moment in David’s life. One that would foreshadow his deep reliance on God to protect and provide in every circumstance.

It was a crucial battle for the Israelite army, but they found themselves huddled in fear as the Philistine giant, Goliath, mocked them and their God.

Unable to fight and fearing for their lives, David shows up on an errand from his father to deliver some food to his brothers in battle.

This is the moment David hears Goliath cursing God and sees the Israelite army hiding in fear.

David asked the men standing near him, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’ 1 (1 Samuel 17:26 NIV)

David steps up to face Goliath, carrying only a sling and some stones. This was his weapon of choice, as it was how he protected his sheep in the wilderness. And now, God would use that same sling and stone to defeat Goliath, securing a victory for Israel and establishing David as a fearless warrior.

This moment in David’s life revealed his faith in and dependence on God, even in the midst of impossible circumstances.

While Goliath was a literal figure in history, there were other metaphorical Goliath’s that David would face along the way. Some he would defeat, others he would be defeated by. But through it all, David chose to return to God, to repent, and to begin again, walking by faith.

David and Bathsheba

This might be David’s lowest point in his life.

Abandoning his post as king, remaining home when he should have been away at battle, David looks lustfully upon another man’s wife, committing adultery with her.

Concocting a deceitful plan, David calls for Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, to return from battle in hopes of covering up his own sexual immorality. But, as Uriah is a faithful servant to the king, he refuses to be with his wife so he can continue protecting King David.

As if this wasn’t already a terrible situation, David asks for Uriah to return to battle and be stationed at the most dangerous area. Uriah is killed in battle, and David is left with the guilt, shame, and condemnation of his sinful actions.

David knew there was no excuse for his actions. He had sinned, transgressing God’s command and the marriage covenant between Bathsheba and Uriah. There’s no words to describe Bathsheba’s pain and betrayal. There’s no way to express the pain she felt of losing her husband. And while there were no excuses for David’s sin, he chose to return to God and repent.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; 10 (Psalm 51:3-4 NIV)

David admits his sin before God, crying out for forgiveness.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.11 (Psalm 51:10-12 NIV)

As R.C. Sproul writes:

In the Psalms, we see the heart of a penitent unveiled and in that I think we see most clearly the greatness of David the Great. If you read Psalm 51 and read it carefully and thoughtfully, that Psalm will reveal more than anything else in the history of David why David was called a man after God’s own heart. Because here it reveals the broken heart of a sinful man who sees his sin clearly.

Because of God’s faithfulness, grace, and mercy, David is forgiven of his sin.

Ultimately, David and Bathsheba marry, conceiving a son they would name Solomon. This is the Solomon who would build a temple for God, being known as the wisest man on earth. Solomon would also author various writings in the Bible, including Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

This tragic moment in David’s life is restored and redeemed through the goodness of God. It’s also another example of God’s graciousness, foreshadowing the way in which God would redeem and restore people through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A Kingdom Lineage

As was prophesied, David’s lineage would lead to the arrival of Christ, the Messiah who would reign eternally.

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. 12

God Himself promised David an eternal kingdom. A dynasty that would not end.

But David’s dynasty wouldn’t be a result of David’s life, but of Christ’s.

The team at The Bible Project writes:

He’s the royal son of David that all of Israel has been waiting for. He’s the one that the prophets wrote about, and the psalmists sang about. He will be the king of Israel who blesses all of the nations of the world… 13

David played a vital role in the arrival of the Messiah, as he walked in an intimate relationship with God, modeling a way of life that had not been experienced before.

Jeremiah prophesied a word from the Lord when he said:

The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’ 14

As great as King David was, he was still a type and shadow of something greater.

But it is through his lineage that we see the Messiah be brought into the world. It is through his devotion to God that we see the type of relationship God desires with His children. And it is through his choice to repent of his sins before God that we see the Gospel reality of grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

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Man writing on notepad with caption "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." Mathew 4:4

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