David [Dā'vid]—beloved. The youngest son of the eight sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite, the second and greatest of Israel’s kings, the eloquent poet and one of the most prominent figures in the history of the world (Ruth 4:17, 22; 1 Sam. 16:13).
Volumes have been written on the trials and triumphs of David, a mountain peak among Bible characters, who was carefully chosen as Israel’s second king by God Himself. David’s father, Jesse, was a man of no great rank who lived in the little town of Bethlehem. In his youth David was trained to tend his father’s sheep. Being the youngest of the family he was not brought into public notice, yet it pleased God to raise him from a low estate and set him upon the throne. He was overlooked by the prophet Samuel, but the prophet obeyed when God said, “Arise anoint him, this is he.” All we can do in this study is to offer a brief sketch of David’s eventful life. We view him as:
I. A Warrior. David was courageous as a champion and a great soldier (1 Sam. 17:40; 2 Sam. 5:7). His fight with Goliath the giant made him a marked man. He had not the training of a soldier. As yet he had not reached the years of manhood. Dressed like a poor country shepherd lad, he had no weapons save his sling. Never were two warriors more unequally matched, but when David was victorious over Goliath there was no empty boasting, no reliance upon his own powers. God gave the victory and David gave Him all the glory. He became a man of war and because of that was not allowed to build the Temple (1 Chron. 28:3).
II. As a Musician. Because he was a skilful player on the harp he found himself in the presence of the wretched king, Saul, who could only be soothed by David’s music. Poetic genius made him the sweet psalmist of Israel, and no poet has been so constantly used and quoted through the ages. His majestic psalms are the masterpiece of spiritual literature.
III. As a Saint. David was accepted as a child of God. The general trend of his life was spiritual (1 Sam. 13:14; 1 Kings 15:5). What other man has had the reputation of being known as a man after God’s own heart? Such an expression does not refer to any remarkable goodness in David, but to him as one whom God had chosen to be the ruler of His people. He was the man according to God’s special choice. His psalms of praise, worship and meditation indicate the God-ward direction of his life.
IV. As a Sinner. David violated a divine law (Deut. 17:17; 2 Sam. 5:13), yielded to his gross sin in a period of ease (2 Sam. 11) and was rebuked by the prophet Nathan (2 Sam. 12). David stained his character by his sin against Uriah and by the deceitful way he gained this gallant soldier’s wife as his own. Such a grievous sin brought the bitterest anguish of heart. David’s confession was not a cold, formal acknowledgment of guilt, but a true and heartfelt humbling of himself before God and a deep cry for pardon and restoration to divine favor as psalms thirty-two and fifty-one clearly prove.
V. As a Prophet. David had a prophetic gift given to few. He was one of those holy men of old moved by the Holy Spirit to set forth many glorious truths related to Christ as Saviour and Messiah. When we come to the New Testament we find the Psalms quoted from more often than any other part of the Old Testament.
VI. As a Type. Not only did David prophesy about Christ, he resembled Him in many ways. For example:
Both were born in the humble town of Bethlehem.
Both were of low estate on earth, having no rank to boast of, no wealth to recommend them to the world.
Both were shepherds—the one caring for sheep, the other for souls.
Both were sorely oppressed and persecuted but opened not their mouths.
Both came to kingship. David subdued his foes and had a kingdom stretching from shore to shore. Jesus was born a King, and is to have an everlasting Kingdom.
VII. As a Star. Does not the children’s hymn urge us to be “a star in someone’s sky?” David has lighted many a spiritual traveler on the way to heaven. Glory alone will reveal what his psalms meant to Christ and to His followers in all ages. Yet he is nothing compared to the Sun of Righteousness Himself. None can compare to David’s greater son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died and rose again to become our Saviour, Friend and King.
Devotional content drawn from All the Men of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer. Used with permission.