The greatness of king David is clearly seen in the Bible immediately upon making his debut in 1 Sam. 16:12. No other human name in Scripture is mentioned more times than “David”, (1,080 times). Amazingly, even the Lord and Savior “Jesus” [Christ] is a distant second at (911 times), following in third place is “Moses” (833 times), and just for the record “Abraham/Abram” only (273 times). Furthermore, the name of David is referenced fifty-five times in the New Testament, which commenced over a thousand years after he reigned as king of Israel (1011 to 971 B.C.).
As a young lad God had chosen David and put His Spirit upon him: “So he [Jesse] sent and brought him [David] in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the LORD said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward…” (1 Sam. 16:12a, 13a).
Most Christians know the story of “David and Goliath” and thoroughly appreciate the victory achieved by David despite being a significant underdog. He was only a youth and a fledgling to the ravages of battle, yet he slew the nearly ten-foot tall and formidable Philistine warrior, armed only with a sling and a small stone. (1 Sam. 17:40-51). One divinely placed stone hurled from David’s sling smashed into Goliath’s forehead, incapacitating him and abruptly ending the battle–thus began David’s legacy of greatness. However, David was not acting on his own, it was God who delivered Goliath into his hands. In fact, God was responsible every time David emerged triumphant in battle– for He was always with him: “And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a name like the name of the great ones who are in the earth.” (1 Chr. 17:8).
Scripture tells us that David was considered “a man after God’s own heart”: “And after He had removed him [Saul as king of Israel], He raised up David to be their [Israel’s] king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’” (Acts 13:22). A designation God gave to no other prior servant of His. Furthermore, as the chosen nation of Israel is considered “the apple of God’s eye” (Zech. 2:8), so to, was David chosen to be king of Israel and “the apple of God’s eye” (1 Sam. 16:12, 2 Sam. 7:8, Ps. 17:8). In other words, “the apple of God’s eye”, was chosen to be king of “the apple of God’s eye”.
Through David’s lineage would be the fulfillment of the [everlasting] covenant God made with Abraham: “…Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3). Centuries after God made that Covenant with Abraham, He made a covenant with David and unilaterally swore that He would make his “name great” establishing his throne forever: “And I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth…When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Sam. 7:9, 12-13). The Son whom God sent (Jn. 3:16) and a descendant of David, Jesus Christ, is the fulfillment of what God had promised to David (and to Abraham) –He is the One who will occupy David’s throne forever. So, David’s name is referenced throughout Scripture, especially because of the ties he has to the Eternal King.
Furthermore, David was exceptionally great and pleasing to God when he reigned as king of Israel. In numerous Scriptures David’s name metaphorically represented the city of Jerusalem, as the “City of David” (2 Sam. 5:7, 9, 6:0, 12, 16, 1 Kin. 2:10, 3:1, 8:1, 9:24, 11:27, Luke 2:4, 11, etc). He conquered the Jebusites in Jebus (Jerusalem), and from that day forward he named Jerusalem “the city of David”. “So, David lived in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built all around from the Millo and inward. And David became greater and greater, for the LORD God of hosts was with him.” (2 Sam. 5:9-10, cf. 1 Sam. 5:5-8, 1 Chr. 11:4-9). In fact, just as God chose Israel [from eternity past] (Deut:7-6-8), and just as He chose David to be king over Israel (1 Sam. 6:12, 2 Chr. 6:6), He also chose Jerusalem, “the city of David”, to be the city in Israel where He will reside forever: “Since the day that I brought My people [the Israelites] from the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man for a leader over My people Israel; but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might be there, and I have chose David to be over My people Israel.” (2 Chr. 6:5-6, cf. 2 Chr. 33:7, cf. Rev. 22:5). Moreover, David’s birthplace, the city of Bethlehem, according to Scripture also was specially designated as “the city of David”: “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David” (Luke 2:4). Interestingly, a thousand years after David was born in Bethlehem, Jesus was born in Bethlehem: “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11). And, He will reign as King forever from the “throne of David” in Jerusalem, the other “city of David” (Rev. 22:5). Incidentally, Jerusalem where David reigned as physical king for thirty-three years, was the same length of time Jesus physically lived on earth in His incarnation.
Additionally, God utilized David’s life as a paradigm for righteousness, that all other future kings of Israel would be compared (1 Kin. 3:14, 9:4, 11:34, 14:8, 15:4-5, 18:3, 22:2). When God tore the [united] Kingdom of Israel away from David’s disobedient son king Solomon, He divided it up by twelve, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. He gave ten tribes to Solomon’s servant Jeroboam and left only one tribe to “Solomon’s son”, Rehoboam for the sake of the covenant He made with David: “Nevertheless I will not do it in your [Solomon’s] days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However, I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” (1 Kin. 11:11-12).
David’s legacy continues into the New Testament, for it commences with a genealogy depicting fourteen generations from Abraham to David and twenty-eight generations, and from [king] David to the birth of eternal King, Jesus Christ. (Matt. 1:1-17). The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced that she would be miraculously impregnated by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Messiah and eternal King, Jesus: “He [Jesus] will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end. Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’” (Luke 1:32-35—emphasis added). When Mary’s betrothed Joseph learned of her mysterious pregnancy, he planned to put her away quietly (Matt. 1:19), but an angel appeared to him instructing him to take her for his wife: “behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.’” (Matt. 1:20-21, cf. Luke 1:34-35).
Throughout the Gospels the Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as “Son of David”, by many [some who were not Jewish] who sought healing, for example: “…And as He was going out from Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ And many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!”’ (Mark 10:46-48). Or, from the multitude who wanted to force Jesus to be king of Israel–amazingly, they understood that Jesus descended from David; “And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!’” (Matt. 21:8-9).
Fast-forwarding to the Apostle John’s book of “Revelation”, John is given a vision in heaven and of a book sealed with “seven seals”; which once opened would unleash devastating judgment upon earth. However, no one in the universe was able to open it. Because no one was found worthy to break the seals and open the book–John wept profusely. (Rev. 4-5). That is, until he was exhorted by an angel who said: “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah (Jesus Christ), the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals”. (Rev. 5:5). That “Root of David” is the eternal King, who currently reigns in the hearts of believers spiritually, but will indeed physically reign from “David’s throne” in the millennial kingdom–and on into the eternal state. (Pss. 2, 110, Zech. 14:1-4, Matt. 19:28, Luke 1:33, Rev. 20:1-6, Rev. 21-22).
This unparalleled part of history past, present, and future, all began when David was just an insignificant puny shepherd boy, chosen by God, and anointed king over His chosen nation of Israel (1 Sam. 16:12, cf. 1 Chr. 11:2, Ps. 78:70). From that moment on the reader of Holy Scripture can witness David’s heritage ameliorate in significance, especially in redemptive history. God was with him: “Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth.’” (2 Sam. 7:8-9, cf. 1 Sam. 16:13, 2 Sam. 5:10, 1 Chr. 11:2, 9). And, “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Sam. 7:12-13). This legacy of David ultimately culminates with Jesus Christ’s second coming, His conquering, followed by His reign from David’s throne. God’s revelation (the Scripture), concludes with Jesus proclaiming His deity, eternality, human lineage, and the imminence of His second coming: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end...I, Jesus…am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star… ‘He who testifies to these things says’, Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen.” (Rev. 22:13, 16, 20).
See next week for part 2 of, David: A Man After God’s Own Heart!