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King David - Who Was He, Why is He So Important?

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Psalm 63:1b–3 ESV
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
Did you know that more has been written about David than any other biblical character?
In fact, sixty-six chapters are dedicated to him in scripture.
That doesn’t include fifty-nine references to him throughout the NT.

How important do you think King David was to Israel?

David was very young when Samuel found him.
David had been shuffled off to work as a shepherd boy in his father’s fields proving that Jesse must have found him to be trustworthy and responsible as he gave him sole care of all his herds.
Little did David know he was in God’s training camp learning to be a king.

Israel’s Backstory

The nation of Israel was living in turbulent spiritual times.
The leaders wanted a king like all the other nations.
They were tired of worshipping a king they couldn’t see and so they had slowly fallen away from the LORD.
1 Samuel 8:1–7 ESV
When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.
1 Samuel 8:10–22 ESV
So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
Surely, God must have felt the sting of rejection.

The Rise and Fall of Saul

Saul, the people’s choice, was chosen to be king.
He started out strong but slowly declined until his life ended tragically and in full disgrace.
1 Samuel 13:13–14 ESV
And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

God rejected Saul as king

It was finally time for God to intervene.
It was time for God to put His man on the throne--and He was going to use Samuel to help Him do just that.
1 Samuel 16:1 ESV
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

David Is Anointed as King

Samuel followed the instructions of the LORD despite his fears.
He came to the home of Jesse and saw Jesse’s son Eliab. Based on his appearance, he thought indeed this is the LORD’s choice.
1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:11b–12 ESV
Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”
1 Samuel 16:13 ESV
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
According to Chuck Swindoll, Josephus, the historian, says, “Samuel the aged whispered in his [David] ear the meaning of the symbol, ‘You will be the next king.’”
And so David was anointed as king while Saul was still on the throne.

God’s “Training Ground” for David

David’s father had sent him off to the fields to watch over the family flock.
He spent hours alone tending sheep.
He learned the meaning of surviving in the wild, sleeping out under the cover of darkness.
He learned to endure the change of seasons and to weather the elements.
Surely, loneliness was his constant companion.
No doubt, he had many conversations with God while he was living alone in solitude.
We can see proof of this in his writings in the Psalms.
David also lived in complete obscurity.
“Men and women of God, servant-leaders in the making, are first unknown, unseen, unappreciated, and applauded. In the relentless demands of obscurity, character is built. Strange as it may seem, those who first accept the silence of obscurity are best qualified to handle the applause of popularity.” (Chuck Swindoll)
Chuck Swindoll describes one of God’s favorite methods of training as monot-ony: “That’s being faithful in the menial, insignificant, routine, regular, unexciting, uneventful, daily tasks of life. Life without a break…without the wine and roses. Just dull, plain L-I-F-E. Just constant, unchanging, endless hours of tired monot-ony as you learn to be a man or woman of God…with nobody else around, when nobody else notices when nobody even cares. That’s how we learn to ‘king it.’”

David’s Resumé

1 Samuel 16:18 ESV
One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.”
We know from the many Psalms that David was a talented musician and a songwriter.
His gentleness as a harpist reveals his true inner sensitivity as an artist.
While David was tending the flock, he was learning to play the harp all while God was preparing him to serve a king.
1 Samuel 16:14 ESV
Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him.
Saul’s servants knew about David, and they sent for him on Saul’s command to find someone who could play well.
1 Samuel 16:21 ESV
And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.
1 Samuel 16:23 ESV
And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.

David’s Courage

Even as a young man, he was responsible for protecting the family’s herd of sheep.
1 Samuel 17:34–35 ESV
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
This is the reality that David had been living and the training camp God had been using to prepare him to be king one day.
He is best known for what??? Killing the giant Goliath with a sling and stone.
It was David’s success as a mighty warrior that fueled Saul’s jealousy.
1 Samuel 18:7 ESV
And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”
When Saul heard the women dancing in the streets singing, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands,” Saul became very angry and very jealous.
He turned against David and pursued David for the rest of his life.

King David’s Great Sin

2 Samuel 11:1 ESV
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
David’s choice to stay back was lacking leadership and wasn’t his usual practice.
His decision was a terrible judgment on his part and set the stage for his devastating fall into iniquity.
2 Samuel 11:2 ESV
It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful.

He looked. He inquired. He sent for her.

2 Samuel 11:5 ESV
And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

Deception. Conspiracy. Murder. Lying.

David conspired to have her husband killed in the field of battle so that he could take Bathsheba as his wife.
Nathan, the prophet, rebuked David severely.
2 Samuel 12:13 ESV
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
David’s life was spared but sadly, David and Bathsheba lost the child that she gave birth to.
2 Samuel 12:24–25 ESV
Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him and sent a message by Nathan the prophet. So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.

Death of King David

1 Kings 2:10–11 ESV
Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David. And the time that David reigned over Israel was forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.
1 Kings 2:12 ESV
So Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established.
Over 400 years separated the final events and final prophecy recorded in the Old Testament (ca. 424 B.C.) from the beginning actions narrated in the New Testament (ca. 6 B.C.)
Because there was no prophetic word from God during this time, this period is sometimes called “the four hundred silent years.”
Though God’s voice was silent, God’s hand was actively directing the course of events during these centuries.
Matthew 1:17 ESV
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.
2 Samuel 7:16–17 ESV
And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
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