~by Randy Bushey
…[the Lord] raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’ (Acts 13:22).
King David was the consummate renaissance man.
A person of resilient character and prolific in a wide range of disciplines, David demonstrated prodigious competence and proficiency in multiple fields.
As a young teenager he was confident and physically capable and courageous, demonstrated by his single-handed killing of a predatory lion and a bear that threatened his father’s sheep. Goliath, to David, was simply the next foe to be vanquished.
He was a gifted musician. King Saul, needing someone to play for him when spiritually tormented could have employed any musical artist in the nation. Find someone who plays well and bring him to me (1 Sam.16:17), was the monarch’s demand.
Saul’s attendant immediately thought of David, describing the adolescent this way: He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him (1 Sam.16:18)
Years later under his leadership, Israel emerged as a middle-eastern superpower, no longer constantly threatened by its perennial enemies, the Philistines and the Egyptians.
As Israel’s greatest king, David defeated enemies and expanded borders; he elevated the economic wealth of the nation ushering in Israel’s golden age which unified the people of Israel as never before or since.
Of note in the discussion of 21st century geo-politics, King David established Jerusalem as the political and religious center of Israel over 3000 years ago.
He revolutionized Israel’s government with both civil and religious benefits.
Although he lived a full millennium before Christ, his psalms (75 of the 150 are identified as being penned by David) continue to be read all over the world as people of our generation seek to praise, lament, and deepen their understanding of God, using David’s poetry as a vehicle for worship and prayer.
In fact, there is more written about David’s life than any other biblical character, except for Jesus.
He wholeheartedly loved the Lord, and as Israel’s ideal king was a model for God’s Messiah who would be David’s ultimate Son and who would rule God’s eternal Kingdom.
The New Testament refers to David as a patriarch (Acts 2:29) and a prophet (Acts 2:30). One of the titles of Christ used 16 times in the Gospels, is Son of David.
And yet this greatest of leaders managed his own family badly; signs of dysfunction within included sibling rape, a sibling revenge killing, and the estrangement and later outright military revolt lead by the king’s son Absalom against his father.
And he was a complex man of vivid contradictions.
The historical narrative records evidence of David’s valour and bravery time and again; and yet he inexplicably appeared reluctant or unable to confront and censure his vengeful and violent commander Joab.
A great lover of God and His righteousness, David’s dark chapter involving adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband Uriah (one of the elite soldiers in David’s army) was as egregious an episode of evil as Israel had experienced in its leadership to that point in history.
Even so, David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).
In a sense, David was the founder of the model Hebrew kingdom which anticipated the Kingdom of God; an empire to be ruled in righteousness by David’s greater descendent, Christ.
Takeaway: by way of application, consider carefully this summary of David’s life by 19th century German historian and biblical scholar, Georg Heinrich August Ewald:
“…we find the very foundations of his character to be laid in a peculiarly firm and unshaken trust in Jehovah, and the brightest and most spiritual views of the creation and government of the world, together with a constant, tender, and sensitive awe of the Holy One in Israel, a simple, pure striving never to be untrue to him, and the strongest efforts to return to him all the more loyally after errors and transgressions.”
~graphic by Enrico Nunziati, freeimages.com