Session 23: David
And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt. He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The Lord gave David victory wherever he went. David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people. 2 Samual 8:13-15
Key verses: 1 Kings 3:5-15; 11:1-14,
Key verses: 2 Samuel 1:19-27; 8:10-20; 16:1-13; 17; 24:1-22
Timeline, about 1010-950 B.C. During the time of the early Israelites, the areas were ruled by Egypt, Achaeans and the Assyrians, the Iron Age is at hand, bronze is still in the majority of weapons and farming tools. Hinduism's main writings are being formed, China becomes more unified and develops organized armies, while massive earthquakes rock the Mediterranean, and most cities are destroyed.
Key personalities: David, Nathan, Absalom, Bathsheba, and Uriah
The Israelites, during the time of the Judges and Samuel, were at a crucial juncture as the Philistines had occupied their land and killed them by the thousands, while God was neglected. His law was refuted and His people were in bondage, all because they refused to acknowledge Him as their Lord; instead, they prostituted themselves to foreign gods, who led them into sin and ruined their lives. They lived their lives as they saw fit. So, God raised up Samuel to be their leader and to help them see that what they saw as fit really was not. He further showed them how false gods and pride devastated them so they could turn from their sins and go back to Him. Samuel calls to them, after many defeats and hopeless situations, to turn back to God. To do this, they had to renounce all of their idols and false gods, repent, and turn to the God who serves, loves, and protects them. So, the Israelites repented and recommitted themselves to God. Thus, the people were spared from the Philistines and became ready to receive the blessing of God, for the land to be healed, and for prosperity to come and the set up for King David (Judges 17:6; 1 Samuel 7: 2-10).
2 Samuel 1-10: David's rise to power
2 Samuel 11-20: David's sin and fall
2 Samuel 21-24 David's tribulations and restoration
David was blessed as a child like Samuel, a prodigy with music and intellect, and he was sent away to be a shepherd because of the jealousy of his older brothers; his father did not understand him. David did not sulk as being a shepherd honed his skills to do all he would do as a leader, psalm maker, and warrior all with passion and determination. David persevered and held a heart after God's heart. He became a hero at a young age by taking out Goliath, then leading Saul's armies and befriending Jonathan. He was great when he was good and became cruel when he focuses on himself and not God. He was a man of extremes--a sensitive heart and blood-thirsty in battle. He was a boy shepherd, a composer, a poet, a fighter, a man on the run, mercenary, a great king, a diplomat, and one who sins, one who is betrayed, and losses it all, and gains it back. He lived a life of distress and chaos, yet, through thick and thin, he maintained his focus on God, was able to humble himself to repentance and led Israel to prosperity. His main failure was not just with Bathsheba (as bad as it was); it was the failure to train up his children and the havoc that it caused for many generations.
Key Happenings: Striving to be commended for the faith
David the king. A king refers to the One in total charge. As David was king over Israel and the quintessential king of the Bible, God is King over the entire universe. David, the man who could be prideful and conceited, sees the necessity for God in his life. David recognizes that his kingship is of no comparison to God's and accepts God as His Sovereign. Many kings who came after David did not see this, as many people today do not. God is the True King, and He laughs at the wicked and hostile self- proclaimed kings in the world. Remember, the position of king was God answering the sins of Israel. People think kings are so important, yet are too self- focused to see who the True King is!
His Anointed. Means the person God has called, referring to David the favored king, whose heart was after God's, but who also sinned grievously and suffered the consequences, and how God accepted his repentance. This can also be applied to the Messiah, as this is pointing to a time of future redemption. It refers to the promise of David who prefigured a coming Messiah fulfilled in Our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. To rebel against God's anointed--the person He has called to serve--is to rebel against the Messiah and the Lord (Psalm 1; Matt. 1:17)!
He takes over Jerusalem, a city of peace and it becomes the symbol of the presence of God that point to what God will do in Christ. The most disputed land of all time and still is today, because it occupies the critical trade-routes junction of old and junction of Europe, Asia and Africa.
David the warrior. David had a secret for success early on as a child that carried him from slaying giants and wild animals to becoming king and handling extreme adversity. It was simply confidence and assurance that God is in charge and that He will care for His righteous.
David's key to success was his passion and confidence in our Lord because of His care and His watching over us. David also knew of his depravity and spiritual bankruptcy and was able to repent, and he became an example of grace for us all. We can trust and relax in our Lord even in suffering and defeat (Psalm 4:8).
God develops an agreement with David that is called the Davidic Covenant where God promises the Messiah to them through Him. Earthly kings rule by authority and demand allegiance; God demands allegiance, but rules us in the theme of the love of a Good Father who gives to his Son (2 Sam. 7:5-17; Psalm 2; Rom. 1:4; Heb 1:5; 5:5).
David the sinner. He lusts after a woman, Bathsheba, and takes her by deceit and force for adultery; in doing so, David betrays has his best warrior, Uriah the Hittite, and had him killed to steal his wife. Nathan confronts him because this was not about a just war, it was evil--it was for personal agenda. David knew his troubles were self-inflicted. He sinned against God and his loyal friend with the affair; in addition, he did not bring up his sons to love and fear God as he did. Thus, he repeated the consequences he brought upon himself and yet, still cried out to God. Our very same and constant God of grace listened and gave hope and then peace (2 Sam. 11-12; Psalm 3; 51).
Betrayal, as David betrayed Uriah, his own son will do the same to him. David faces numerous, contemptuous foes and threats from former loyalists, a misguided kingdom, and his own son. David's own people gave their pledges and loyalty to his son, Absalom, whose heart was prideful and his intentions skewed. This was betrayal of the king--one called and placed by God-and the betrayal was directed to God Himself (Psalm 22:7-8; 71:10-11).
Kindness and friendship. David shows compassion and is able to build healthy relationships and not let his pride or lust for revenge to get in the way. The relationship of David and Jonathan, is a critical model for friendship as it has accountability, support, relationship building and heart-keeping (1 Sam. 18-20).
Mephibosheth. David gave grace and kindness to a lame son of Jonathan, grandson of Saul, when he did not have to, displaying grace and unconditional love. David was able to fight sin, and he fails. His successes are because he was able to repent and refocus back to God; Saul was unwilling to do so. In that time and culture when another king took over, he had the entire family line killed so there could be no claim or successor. David was able to leave a legacy after God's heart and be a model for us to focus on Christ and less on ourselves to achieve success before God that echoes into eternity (2 Sam 4:1-5; 9:1-13; 21:7-9).
Hebrews tells us that Samuel and David were commended for the faith--being blessed by God not because of "health and wealth," rather, by honoring God by trust and obedience, after which we receive His blessings in His perfect timing. Divine commendation is having the approval of God because one chooses to take what He gives and live by it. Even when great faith is exercised, it does not mean that we get benefits in the here and now. Sometimes, we are martyred or have real setbacks and are not able to get out of our bad circumstances. Additionally, getting what we want is not a sign of God's blessing, especially when there is no Fruit behind it on our part. We have to trust that Gods plan is working and our reward is certain, even when we do not receive it when we would like to (Rom. 1:17; Heb. 11:31-40).
Bible contradiction over Saul's death? No. 1 Samuel 31:4 states, Saul killed himself, he took a sword, and fell upon it because his armor bearer failed to do the job. Then, in 2 Samuel 1:2-10 the Amalekite said he killed Saul, but he lied to David to get a reward and was executed for it, verses 15-16. In 2 Samuel 21:12, it states that Saul was killed by the Philistines on Gilboa. This means the battle was the setting for his death and the archers mortally wounded him. Because Saul did not want to die by Philistine hands, he sought his armor bearer to do it and then he did it himself. In 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, it states Saul was slain by God. God protected Saul in all those previous battles and when he disobeyed, he lost that protection and God allowed him to die.
David the Psalmist. David writes and/or collects 75-78 of the 150 Psalms, for worship in the Tabernacle and the Temple, for personal spiritual growth and to hone his relationship with God. David writes in faithful honesty and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He can be jubilant or exhausted, deeply distressed in his troubles, and surrounded by tragedy and distress, yet as the Psalms show, he passionately prays and calls on God--and still trusts in Him. In so doing, he encourages us to move our thinking and focus to God. Showing the faithful what it means to have faith and confidence in God our Lord. David's Psalms show us that our relationship with God is not without its fears and distresses, as with any relationship. We are in a world that is filled with distress and pain and there is no way to walk through it without stumbling onto suffering and distress. David is angry, and being angry is OK as long as we do not sin or curse God in it (Psalms 3-9, 11-32, 34- 41, 51-66, 68-70, 86, 101, 103, 108-110, 122, 124, 131, 138-145).
What was David's big lesson? His big lesson was the same as Eli and Samuel, not discipling and disciplining your children will have dire consequences. Also, when we are not accountable, we are free to sin, which will lead to social and physical disaster. The classic and most repeated sin of the Israelites and the kings that follow was pride; this pride led to occupation and the loss of countless thousands, all from their desire to do as they saw fit, which was the refusal to see their sin and recant it. Their sin was pride, and it is the root of most sins.
Key Takeaway: The primary call is to have a love, a heart after God. This means to trust and obey and be devoted to God with all whole being, mind, will, soul, and actions. That call is most often missed. Saul missed it, David got it. The fall of man--how we get into sin--is simple. We become ungrateful to God and Who He is and what He does. As Saul demonstrated backsliding, it starts out with unkempt faithfulness that will decay into mere courage to the self and selfishness. This leads to complacency and apathy, which into leads to focus on pleasure and leisure that can only lead to foolishness and unjust dependency on others; before you know it, your life is lived in wickedness, crime and bondage to sin and no longer in submission to God. Therefore, we have to make a commitment to acknowledge our fallen nature, and be willing and able to confess our sin and repent, which means we do not do it again. It also means to have someone hold you accountable, and that you confess your sins to God (Romans 14:12-13; Galatians 6:1-5; Ephesians. 6:21; 1 Peter 4:10-11).
The foreshadow of Jesus Christ? Christ will be from the lineage of David and become a Name for Jesus, the Son of David. Son of David. This is a title for Jesus, referring to His being the Messiah (2 Sam. 7:12-13; Isa. 11:1-3; Jer. 23:1-6; Matt. 1:1, 20; 9:27; 15:22; 21:9; Luke 19:38-39).
Questions to Ponder
1. How would you contrast the differences between David and Saul?
2. What are the key characteristics of David's life and leadership? What can we learn from him?
3. What character traits of David do you like best? What can you learn about David's failings and be on guard?
4. Why was David so incensed against Goliath? Why did he love Saul and grieve his death?
5. The context of the mindset of the early Israelites is that they lived their lives as they saw fit, why did they do that? What were the consequences? What happens when we do that today?
6. With all of David's fallings and contradictions, why did God say he held a heart after God's heart?
7. Why is it that getting what we want is not a sign of God's blessing? Why is it important for a leader to have fruit and character?
8. Where did you see David display grace and unconditional love? How do you deploy these? What stops you?
9. What can we learn from David befriending Jonathan? What was David's source for his passion and determination?
10. Why is the story of Mephibosheth important? What can the church learn from this today?
11. What can you do to develop more confidence and assurance that God is in charge and that He will care for you?
12. What get in the way of your focus on God? What can you do to maintain your focus?
© 2013 R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org