Feast December 29
NO GREATER PATRIARCH lived than DAVID the shepherd-king.
God speaks of him as “a man after his own heart” (1Sam 13:14). David epitomizes fullest the biblical masculine standard of a Lion and a Lamb. This prophetic man proved the greatest king of the chosen people, the key representation of the Savior, and one of the most prominent men in world history. Many were David’s exultations and trials, victories and defeats, talents and weaknesses.
David started from humble beginnings. His father Jesse was a man of no status, and the town of Bethlehem of no significance. Youngest of eight sons, David was a hidden figure, obscured daily in the meadows tending sheep. Yet God raises up the lowly, and chose David to succeed Saul as King-elect; not for his visible bearing but because “the Lord looks on the heart” (1Sam 16:7). Upon the commission and anointing with oil by the prophet Samuel,
“[t]he spirit of the lord came mightily upon David from that day forward” (1Sam 16:13).
At the outset the youthful David won the favor of king Saul who was troubled by an unrelenting demon. David’s skill on the harp manifested great expertise and it could calm the ferocious monarch, actually causing his evil spirit to leave him. Proven on various levels David was not only “skillful in playing, [but also] a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence” (1Sam 16:18). Saul came to love David and the young man was delegated to be Saul’s armor-bearer while refreshing the king ongoing as court musician.
Defeating a giant became David’s most infamous episode. While still a youth and clad in shepherd’s rags, he took humble standing amongst the Israelite troops. Catching Goliath’s blasphemies against his God, and dissatisfied by the dismal response of his countryman, David accepts the duel with the belligerent figure. In this mismatch, rejecting the superior weapons ill-suited for him, David employs his slinging artistry. Five smooth stones he selected for ammo. With King doubtful, David appealed himself adept recounting his acts of deliverance from the clutches of a lion and a bear.
Motivated not by talent, but in response to blasphemy against his God, David goes into battle in the name of the Lord of Hosts. Giving Divinity all the glory, the youth engages “that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (1Sam 17:46). With reliance on God’s power and without tarry “David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine” (1Sam 17:48). Emerging victorious by the sling of a stone, David proves an example of faith, courage, and skill. Setting pace for the Israelites, they no longer feared the Philistines.
After this episode David commences a legacy of proven warriorship and statesmanship.
While righteous in the eyes of his people, David succumbed to his weakness for the visual of a beautiful lady. This demise began through remaining in comfort when kings normally went out to war. At daybreak in leisure he takes a stroll on his rooftop, and he fixes his sights on the already-married Bathsheba bathing indiscriminately on a local roof. Calling her into his domain with adulterous intentions she becomes pregnant. Cunningly covering his misdeed, and involving others in his plot, David orders Bathsheba’s husband to be left alone for certain death on the front line of battle.
Receiving condemnation from the prophet Nathan, through a tale of injustice against a poor man with only one ewe lamb, David accepts his denunciation humbly before his entire entourage. The king pours out profound contrition and he becomes a model of repentance and exemplary in his desire to return to God’s favor. The subsequent challenges to David’s sin were numerous. Dissention arises in the realm, including acts rebellion and murder. Revolts erupted among his officers as well as his kinsmen.
David’s life moves on with many stirring events of dignity and courage. Nobly he accepts blessings and disasters in his life; and the Hand of God is ever apparent to him. When in trouble or trial, David knew what it meant to put faith in God and hope in deliverance. Even while oppressed and persecuted he did not seek revenge, but forgiveness and understanding. Full of mercy “he administered justice and equity to all his people” (2Chron 18:14).
David manifested a deep care for his army, for his family, for those he led in his empire.
David was the model of his own testimony that those who seek to dwell in the house of the Lord there is assurance of goodness and mercy (Ps 23). Given his talents, virtue, and devotion “the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went” (2Chron 8:6). While employing his own natural strengths, he relied totally on God for his strength. Always mindful of the true source of his power David has been a light of truth for countless walking a spiritual journey
David’s incredible adventures, harsh trials, and repentant heart could have wrought the precious legacy of a profoundly prayerful and sentimental soul. The truth of God flowed through him in his prophetic gifts, as he relates glorious truths of the Savior to come. While endowed with talents in music and the arts, his compilations of prayers and poetry seem unsurpassed. The biblical Psalms, attributed in great part to his hand, are perhaps the greatest masterpiece of literature.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him” (Ps 28:7).