Tuesday, April 27th, 2021
There is more to say about King David in scripture, outside of Jesus, than any other person in all of the Bible and yet when our thoughts go to him – we are reminded of only a shortlist of his life.
We think of him being anointed as king as a young shepherd boy. We think of him killing Goliath in a great act of courage. And then we think of him as a king who was caught in adultery and had the woman’s husband killed in battle.
David, the anointed one.
David, the fearless warrior.
And then David, the adulterer, and murderer.
His entire existence boiled down to the worst version of himself. This is what we remember of him lastly, and most. His failure. But our version of David is not the one that God hangs His hat on.
Scriptures record God as calling David “a man after [His] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). One whom Jesus connected Himself to even at the very end when declaring to John “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” (Revelations 22:16)
So what was so great about David? How does his life continue to be counted of great significance to Jesus, to Israel, and to us today?
The secret lies in the seasons.
Many people throughout history are known not for their great character, but for how they navigated the worst of times. (Think Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, and others.) Their names might not have been so memorable had they not faced great challenges and rose to the occasion. David, also, was placed (intentionally by God) into a time in history that was full of turmoil. For five centuries before him, the nation of Israel had been in decline. And when the judges didn’t work out, Israel asked for a king. Saul was anointed, and he too failed as being a man who trusted and was led by the Lord. So the very unlikely and definitely unpopular decision was made by God for Samuel to anoint David as Israel’s next king.
SEASON ONE: Bethlehem, small beginnings
He was anointed in Bethlehem. It was his hometown. His first season. This season in David’s life would be known as the season of small beginnings and faithfulness in the least of things. Many of us would love to jump over the Bethlehem season and skip right to the good parts – but in some way, all of our lives start out in Bethlehem. David is 17 years old, looking over a “few” sheep in the fields (according to his brother in 1 Samuel 17:28), was left out when Samuel was looking for a king from Jesse’s son, and yet was called out from behind the mountainside to be anointed as king…. only to return back to the sheep. Even a promise of promotion didn’t keep him from being faithful to his season of little!
SEASON TWO: Gibeah, serving amid the success
David stayed with the sheep until the king called him to Gibeah to be his armorbearer (1 Samuel 16:19-22). This season in Gibeah lasted 5 years, until David was 23 years old and included a great victory over Goliath! We might be tempted to rush into immediate celebration, but like many other stories found all throughout time – his victory was met with great testing. By God, and by others. It was in Gibeah that David learned how his success would only be a down payment of God’s calling but not the promise. He was still a long way off from being king. And God was not done teaching and training him. This season of victory tested David’s ability to give God the glory for his victory, and his ability to stay faithful to the “small things”. Like serving a king… when God had already anointed him to sit on the throne.
SEASON THREE: Adullam, spiritual distress and difficulty
King Saul was not naïve to the national favor and attention that David had received. Nor of his being anointed by the prophet. So when his bitterness and jealousy had finally gotten the best of him, David’s position became unsafe. These were David’s hardest years; hiding in caves with other distressed and discontented men (1 Samuel 22:1-4) who called him their captain. Not the kingdom he was promised! And during the entire 7 years of hiding from Saul who sought to kill him, he was surrounded by nothing but discouraged people unable to go anywhere without his location being reported back to the king. And the miracle of this season is that these people eventually become the mighty men of David. How??? Because David’s eyes were never fixed on the throne, but on God Himself. Look what he wrote in the caves of Adullam…
Psalm 34:1–6 ”I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”
SEASON FOUR: Hebron, sacrificial unity
When David asked the Lord what was next, God pointed him to Hebron. Where Saul was still king and after Saul’s death where his son, Ish-bosheth, took over the kingdom – despite knowing that he was the anointed one. Never is it recorded that David rebelled and tried to take over the kingdom with his mighty men. Instead, he finds himself working with (not against) the kingdom. In unity. Because David knew something that many had pushed against – God’s will isn’t about me – there is a blessing of “togetherness” (read: Psalm 133:1-3).
And because of his heart, being tested and proven, David was promoted to the final season in Zion.
SEASON FIVE: Zion, the sovereign promise fulfilled
Twenty years after being anointed, at age 37 David has finally been crowned as king in Zion. Twenty years. This wasn’t an overnight success. This wasn’t a small victory that gained him some applause. This was a wrestling and a waiting and an enduring until God saw fit that it was the right time to promote him. Our promise to our promotion is rarely a short walk. Oftentimes it takes months or years or decades to see them fulfilled, but still, David stayed committed to the plan that God had laid out. Tempted to make it happen on his own a time or two, sure, but always relenting that “he would not touch God’s anointed” (1 Samuel 24:6) which had more to say of his reverence for and trust in the Lord, than his respect of a man. Because David knew that it would be by God’s own doing that he would serve as king (read: Daniel 2:20-22). If God promised, then God would fulfill His promises to him.
And the same can be said for us. When we are faithful to trust God with the entirety of His plan as David did (not just the good seasons where we receive the promises or promotions), then God is able to use us greatly to bring about His kingdom business on this earth. David being king was more about paving the way for Jesus, than being upheld throughout history as a great man. It is all about Him.
Because the Bible is a unified, uninterrupted story that leads to Jesus.