“The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after rain.‘” (2 Samuel 23:2-4)
David’s name is mentioned more than any other name in the Bible, even more than Moses, or Jesus. Strangely, or perhaps not so strange, outside Scripture, there is no historical evidence of David’s life. Yet, King David was absolutely one magnificent man of God, “of whom the world was not worthy.” (Hebrews 11:38)
David was the first renaissance man. He was a brave and diligent shepherd, killing a lion and a bear to protect his flock. He was a brash and fearless combatant, running with five hand-picked stones and a sling to bring down the giant Goliath.
David was a talented musician, able to soothe King Saul, and drive out the evil spirit. He was a bold and courageous warrior, able to hold his own against countless enemies. And when King Saul pursued him with the intent to kill, David was a wise and crafty survivalist, able to sustain himself and hundreds of others under duress and with meager provisions.
David is well known as the premier psalmist, expressing the gamut of human emotions and prophetic references to the coming Messiah. As Israel’s greatest king, David was a type of Jesus Christ. He amassed and offered his own personal wealth for the building of the temple, received the revelation of its divine design, and passed on the kingdom at its apex, along with the blueprints for the temple to his son, Solomon.
One of Saul’s servants described David: “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” (1 Samuel 16:18)
David’s numerous escapades and all the well-known narratives about him have been written about many times. Movies have also been made, featuring David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and the murder of Uriah, which marked the beginning of the end for David in many ways, written about in 2 Samuel. And yet, 1 Chronicles, written from God’s perspective, never mentions David’s sin. Although Nathan acted as spokesman for God when confronting David’s reprehensible actions, David confessed his sin, and God forgave him. In Paul’s great sermon in Antioch, he summarized the history of Israel, and mentions David in the way in which God would have him remembered.
“And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior, Jesus.” (Acts 13:22,23)
David took a ragtag group of despondent outcasts, and pastored them to become the famous mighty men, valiant warriors unequaled in courage and ability. Perhaps there is no greater story of loyalty than that which is recorded in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11 of the feats of the three mighty men: “Now three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the army of the Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David said with longing, ‘Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!’ So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. And he said, ‘Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.’ Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men.” (1 Chronicles 11:15-19)
The life of David was an important period in the history of Israel. Following Saul’s failure, David took the kingdom to a position of worldwide superiority. He established a capital city for the nation, assembled the most powerful military, and provided the arrangements and organization for the central location of worship to the One True God.