by I Gordon
David is a well-known type of the Lord Jesus, especially in his role as King over Israel. In Jewish thought, the Messiah was known as the ‘Son of David’ and this is firmly established in the New Testament in various passages. In fact the last description of Jesus in the Bible is in Rev 22:16, where Jesus Himself declares that He is a descendant of David. The outline for some of the points I have made here were first learned through an Alan Redpath book on the life of David called ‘The making of a man of God’. If you are looking for a good book which surveys the entire life of David, then I would recommend you read this book.
David and Goliath
1 Sam 17:1-7 ‘Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Socoh in Judah… The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them. A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels… For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.’
I’m sure everyone knows the story of David and Goliath but what you may not know is how this battle gives us a glimpse or a picture of the battle Jesus won on our behalf. The scene starts with the worst enemy imaginable standing and taunting the army of Israel for over 40 days. This guy was over nine feet tall, completely laid with bronze armor and weapons, and, not surprisingly, no one in Israel wanted to have anything to do with him! Bronze in the bible consistently speaks of judgment and in Goliath we have a type of our enemy today, the Devil.
The sole representative!
1 Sam 17:8-11 ‘Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.’
While the entire Philistine and Israelite armies had gone out to face each other, this was not going to be an ordinary battle! You see, in the end the victor would be determined by one representative on each side. In Goliath’s own words, Israel had to choose a man and if he were able to kill Goliath then the Philistines would become Israel’s servants. But if Goliath won, then all of Israel would come under and serve the Philistines. As so much was riding on this battle, no wonder no one from Israel would go forth and fight! I’m sure you can see the picture – Jesus Christ was our representative in the greatest spiritual battle that has ever taken place. If He won, then His victory would be our victory… but if He lost, then we would lose forever, becoming a servant of our enemy forever! That Jesus was our representative in this battle is no secret in the New Testament as it spells out clearly how our victory rests upon Jesus’ work.
Rom 5:18-19 ‘Consequently, just as the result of one trespass (Adam’s) was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness (Jesus’) was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.’
1 Cor 15:14-17 ‘And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.’
So that’s the situation we find ourselves in. The enemy loomed large and all of Israel was paralysed in fear, unable to move. Goliath was ready to meet the representative from Israel, and one was soon to be sent!
Sent by the Father
1 Sam 17:8-9 ‘Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them.’
From this passage we see the simple truth that David was sent by his father Jesse to go down into the battle to see how his brothers were. Likewise, when the appointed time had come, the Father sent Jesus down to the battle on earth to look after our welfare!
1 John 4:14 ‘And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.’
Rejected by his brothers
1 Sam 17:28 ‘When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
Even though David would prove to be Israel’s saviour, he certainly didn’t get much encouragement from his brothers did he? In fact, upon arriving at the battle, David’s oldest brother Eliab gave him a fair roasting, accusing David of having a wicked heart. So it was for Jesus. He was even rejected by those closest to him.
John 7:5 ‘For not even His brothers were believing in Him’
Strengthened by past experiences
1 Sam 17:33-37 ‘Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David was able to step out against the enemy because He had learnt from previous experiences and trials. He had fought the lion and the bear when they had come against his flock. So the Lord Jesus had to learn from the things He suffered. Even though He was God, he lived on this earth as a man – yet in total dependence upon His Father as man had been created to live. And as a man He had to learn obedience!
Heb 5:8 ‘Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.’
His victory is our victory!
1 Sam 17:51-53 When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted and pursued the Philistines as far as the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the slain Philistines lay along the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath and Ekron. And the sons of Israel returned from chasing the Philistines and plundered their camps.
The best news of all is that once David had won the battle, all of Israel participated in the victory. David’s victory was their victory! So it is with Jesus and His victory on the cross. The victory He won is our victory when we believe in Him! The apostle Paul in Romans puts it this way…
Romans 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.
The King in exile!
1 Sam 22:1-2 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.
Here again is another awesome picture for us. The situation is this: David has been anointed by the Spirit and proclaimed to be King in Israel through God’s prophet Samuel. Yet we do not see him reigning yet. In fact, He is a King in exile while another King (Saul) whom God has rejected still seems to have authority over the throne. Judgement has been pronounced upon King Saul because of his pride and disobedience, yet for the mean time he still reigns. Ok, of what is this a picture and how does Jesus fit in here? We live in a world where its ruler, Satan (called the God of this world, the prince of the power of the air), has been judged because of his pride and disobedience. This happened at the cross as we read
Col 2:15 ‘When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.’
And even though Jesus is the true King, like David was in this passage, as yet we do not see Jesus reigning upon this earth. He is a King in exile so to speak. His Kingdom shall be upon this earth, and boy shall He reign, but as yet we do not see the evidence of this. We wait by faith for we know shall occur at the seventh and last trumpet of Revelation.
Rev 11:15 ‘And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
So where do we fit in?
Yep, we are in this passage. Here we go… it mentions us here:
1 Sam 22:2 ‘And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented, gathered to him; and he became captain over them.’
Let me ask you a question. Why did you come to believe in the Lord Jesus? Was it distress, debt, or discontent? It will probably one of these three reasons (or possibly all three!) You were either in distress – that is, a hardship or trial in this life caused you to seek and cry out to God for help. Or you were in debt – a debt of sin that is. You saw that you owed God a debt you could never pay and cried out for God for his grace to save you. Or finally, you were discontented – you had experienced all that this world offers and seen the emptiness of it all. Discontented with your life you sought the real answer to why we are on this planet, and the God who could bring meaning into your life.
I have a feeling that most people come to Jesus Christ because of one of those three reasons. Which was yours? Is there any one of these three reasons for becoming a Christian that is better than the others? I believe there is. In fact I want to order all three from the worst to the best.
Distress – this I believe is the worst motivation of the three for becoming a Christian. The reason being is that trials and hardships come and go and a person who seeks God simply to comfort them in a hard time can just as easily walk away from God when times become easier.
Discontented – This is a better reason for becoming a Christian. These people have at least seen that the world has nothing to offer in terms of lasting love and joy – things that only God can give. Yet it is still not the best reason for becoming a Christian as there is always ‘something else’ that the world can promise will really make a person happy.
Debt – The best reason for becoming a Christian! The person who sees that they are a sinner and owe a debt to God that they can never pay, don’t fall away. They are the most grateful to God for His grace. It matters little whether they are experiencing an easy or hard time in this life for they know that their eternity is safe for the blood of Jesus has cancelled their debt!
It must be said – David’s group was a pretty motley group! Yet he became their captain, their leader, and turned pretty ordinary men into awesome men of valour and deeds. David didn’t need their ability, but he did need their commitment and availability. Same with Jesus! Our Lord Jesus has a habit of choosing ordinary men and women to extra-ordinary things. Not because they are gifted or strong in themselves, but because Jesus Himself is the one who will teach, lead and empower them for that which He calls them to.
Following David meant associating themselves with one who wasn’t popular. It meant trials, and hardship, yet once David came into his kingdom, it was all completely worth it! And so it is with us. How strange it can be to live in a world while following a different king! A King who is the rightful ruler, yet one who has not yet come to take possession of His kingdom. Yet we know, like David’s men, the rightful king will one day come into His kingdom and on that day we shall be rewarded for our service. Please read 1 Chronicles chapter 11 and 12. Notice how everyone who helped David is named and rewarded! So it shall be with us!
Rev 22:12 ‘Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.’