David’s story is one of the best known in the Bible. He was the man chosen by God to lead his people and he was certainly a man very used by Him. The story begins to be told, in the Old Testament in the chapters of 1 and 2 Samuel and continues until 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles.
It is one of the stories that most impacts and confronts my life. I was always intrigued by the fact that David was considered “a man after God’s own heart”, and as I studied his life, I began to notice that he was like that because he sought to understand God’s heart.
David’s early life
He was the youngest of Jesse among 8 brothers and belonged to the tribe of Judah. He was raised and trained to exercise the profession of shepherd. He also stood out for countless talents such as being a great warrior with the right to even sing in his honor, play the harp and even make musical instruments for worship in the house of the Lord (1 Chronicles 23: 5).
When describing David, one of Saul’s servants used the following terms (1 Samuel 16:18): “is a talented harp player”; “A brave warrior”; “a man of war”; “Has good judgment”; “fine-looking young man”; “the Lord is with him”.
David is anointed king
David is first mentioned in the Bible when Samuel visited his home. Samuel had the goal of finding a replacement for the ancient king of Israel, and God had told Samuel that that replacement was one of Jesse’s sons.
In the house of Jesse, the prophet Samuel was introduced to all David’s brothers, but none was chosen by God. So they called David, who was looking after the sheep. God confirmed to Samuel that he was the chosen one, and from that day on he was anointed.
The Bible describes that from the day he was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David’s life (1 Samuel 16:13). This is evident at various times, such as when he played the harp and the tormenting spirit that afflicted Saul, withdrew from him (1 Samuel 16:23).
David overthrows Goliath
1 Samuel 17
David had left the house to bring food to his brothers who had gone to war. When he went to the battle line, he saw the giant called Goliath, who belonged to the Philistine people, challenging the people of Israel to fight and the winner would determine the outcome of the battle. The battle had lasted forty days and no one had made available to fight the giant, as it seemed impossible for anyone to win. When the giant appeared, the Israelites fled in fear.
When he saw that an uncircumcised man was defying God’s people, David offered to fight against him. He received the best armor to protect himself, but he refused because he had no physical structure to use it because it was so heavy. Without any protection, David took a slingshot and a stone and shot at Goliath. The stone hit the head of the giant who died on the spot. David won this battle, and showed that God was with him, which made him strong before that giant.
David and the Music
“Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”1 Samuel 16:23
One of David’s interesting features was the gift of music. David was recommended when Saul’s servants suggested hiring a “good musician to play the harp” whenever the king’s spirit was afflicted (1 Samuel 16:16).
In addition to being a musician, David also became Saul’s squire, as the king liked him very much. Even assuming new functions throughout his life, Davi always maintained a relationship with music. He later composed many psalms, in addition to making musical instruments for use in praising the Lord in the temple, as mentioned at the beginning of the text. The temple was built by Solomon, David’s son, but David participated in the preparation.
Until he takes the throne
Something interesting about David’s story is that when he is anointed by the prophet Samuel, he did not immediately become king of Israel. He continued to serve as a shepherd in his father Jesse’s home, then became a faithful servant of King Saul as a musician. Then David defeated Goliath and took over as commander in the Israeli army. David even became a fugitive for a time because his success bothered King Saul, who went on to pursue him.
These phases that he went through to assume the reign of Israel can be understood as processes and trials in his life or a time of waiting. And even in those periods, David was always faithful, correct and courageous. Even with King Saul chasing David and envying him, David was always a faithful servant who honored the king and his family in their hearts and attitudes.
In 1 Samuel 24: 4-7, David with his men has an opportunity to kill Saul. However, David refuses to do evil and chooses to respect Saul and preserve his life. David recognized the Lord’s authority in Saul’s life because he was a God-anointed king. Faced with this attitude, Saul is broken, cries, recognizes the goodness that was in David and understands why he would be the next king of Israel.
In secret and trials our character is forged. We are prepared for God’s purposes for us. David went through many processes in his personal life before assuming his leadership position in the nation.
A man after God’s heart
…‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.‘Acts 13:22
David was crowned in Israel after Saul’s death and, in his reign, led great battles of conquest. However, the most important thing in his story is his fear of the Lord. It is that he was a man after God’s own heart.
In this moment of waiting, when David went through many processes until he became king, he always demonstrated to recognize the authority of the Lord. He has always shown a servant’s heart. He was always a faithful servant to King Saul while serving him. And he always recognized himself as a servant of the Lord and of His sovereign will, even in the face of the great role he played in his reign. He knew that everything he had achieved was because of the power of God.
“What more can I say to you about the way you have honored me? You know what your servant is really like. For the sake of your servant, O Lord, and according to your will, you have done all these great things and have made them known. “O Lord, there is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you!1 Chronicles 17:18-20
To have been a man after God’s own heart does not mean that David did not fail in his life. In contrast, the Bible shows moments of weakness and war in David’s conscience. The sin of adultery with Bathsheba had grave consequences for him and his family. But David was able to recognize his mistakes and to deeply repent. His psalms revealed his deep brokenness before the Lord’s grace and forgiveness.
Precious lessons we learned from David’s life
Throughout David’s life, he learned about God’s sovereignty and power. God always kept him, saved him from death, and it was God Himself who established David’s reign. God forgave him when he sinned and repented.
David had to wait many years before he actually became king. It was in that time that he learned that God always keeps His word in His perfect moment. This is also a lesson for us, who must rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
Grace and peace!