David is a boy tending sheep when Samuel anoints him to be king over Israel. He is brought to the palace to soothe King Saul by playing the harp and becomes a commander in the army after killing Goliath. Saul, afraid and jealous of David’s success, begins trying to kill him. David flees and lives as an outlaw in his own land. He hides in forests, caves, deserts, hills, and cities, even taking refuge in Moab and among the Philistines. Although Saul continues to chase him, David spares his life twice and mourns the news of his death.
David becomes king of Judah at the age of thirty and of Israel and Judah at the age of thirty-seven. Overall, he reigns forty years as a mighty king. He captures Jerusalem where he builds his palace and relocates the ark of the covenant. He is victorious in battle and subdues all of Israel’s enemies. Yet there are blemishes to his career. He commits adultery with Bathsheba, takes a census of Israel and Judah, and is conspired against by his son Absalom. You can read David’s full story in 1 Samuel 16 – 31, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings 1 – 2, and 1 Chronicles 11 – 29.
David and Jesus
David wants to build a temple for God after he builds his palace. God says through the prophet Nathan that David will not build a house for Him but He will build a house for David! He promises to place David’s offspring on his throne and establish his kingdom forever (2 Sam. 7:12-16). The prophets of the Old Testament predict the rise of a new leader who will shepherd God’s people and call this leader “David” (Eze. 34:23-24; Hos. 3:5). Not only that, God promises to rebuild David’s kingdom (Amos 9:11-12).
Jesus is David’s descendant and heir to his throne (Matt. 1:1). When He rises from the dead and ascends into heaven, He sits down at the right hand of God upon the throne of David (Acts 2:29-33). When the Jerusalem Council meets to discuss the conversion of the Gentiles, James sees the fulfillment of prophecy and quotes Amos 9:11-12 (Acts 15:12-18). God rebuilds David’s kingdom as He includes Gentiles among His people. Jesus sits on David’s throne and rules over David’s kingdom as Head of the church.
New Testament Perspective
David is an Old Testament person but as Christians we must see him from a New Testament perspective. His skill as a soldier and politician as well as passionate worship endear him as Israel’s greatest king. But he’s more than an Old Testament hero. God’s promises to him are fulfilled in Jesus’ present reign over the church. His career is a preview of the kingship of Jesus Christ.
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