Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. 2 Samuel 7:8
David not only shaped his own time. He also transformed Israel’s sense of her identity and of God’s purpose in his people.
Accomplishments. David was unmatched as a war leader, winning victories over all Israel’s enemies, and expanding her territory ten times beyond that occupied in the days of the judges. As an administrator, David established efficient tax, worship, and military structures. His impact on Israel’s worship life is reflected in the psalsm, and seen in the fact that, centuries later, Hezekiah used David’s rituals when reinstituting temple worship (2 Chron. 29:25).
Personal Qualities. Three serious sins committed by David during his 40 years reign are recorded in the OT. These are never excused. But, David’s readiness to confess his faults publicly, and openly seek God’s forgiveness, set him apart from Saul. A number of passages in the OT express God’s evaluation of David as a person whose heart was in tune with the Lord (cf 1 Kings 2:33; 3:6; 8:66). David like each of us, was vulnerable to temptation. He did fail, especially in the governing of his own family. It is not his sinlessness, but his great love for God and his quick readiness to respond to God’s word, even words of rebuke, that make him a man of faith.
Impact on Israel. David made a great and lasting impression on the people of OT. The conviction that God had made a commitment to Daivd, to maintain his throne, was a source of hope to future generations in the darkest of times (2 Kings 8:19, 2 Chron. 21:7). The prophets often return to this theme, speaking of the sure future of David’s house, throne, city, and especially of a future seed who will come from David’s line to rescue God’s people.
New Testament Impact. David is also an important figure in the NT. But the NT focus of attention is Jesus, who is the long waited heir of David and who supplants him as his “greater son.” Jesus’ genealogy is carefully traced back to David through Joseph, his “father of record” (Matt. 1), and through Mary (Luke 3). The NT focus is on the fact that in Jesus all the promises to David will be at last fulfilled. Thus Christ is presented as superior to that great OT king who, in his human nature, was the forefather of our Lord.
As example to follow. David’s life deserves careful study, not simply for the dramatic content of the stories told, but also as an example – and in some cases warning – for our own relationship with God.