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Home Group Notes – David Pt 1

by | Tue, Mar 27 2012

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David Pt 1:

In all the Bible, there is only one person who goes by the name David and the meaning of this word is quite long and complex because its Hebrew roots are complex. It can mean ‘beloved’ or ‘uncle’, and a derivative also means infirmity, sick or unclean, although these last meanings are somewhat unfounded and not part of the original meanings.

David was known as Israel’s ‘beloved’ king, which would validate the initial meaning of this name, but his life was consistently marred with grief and drama. He personally was vilified, accused of treason, was hunted like an animal and had his life threatened numerous times. Because of his sin his family was tainted with immorality, murder, incest and rape, treason and betrayal. So beloved and sick or unclean are both very good adjectives that apply to David.

We’ll look at David’s life next week as well but this week we’ll look at his life prior to becoming king, and look at only a few situations. To get the full picture of David’s life, what he did and who he interacted will you can read his story beginning in 1 Samuel 16 to the end of 1 Samuel, all of 2 Samuel, the first 2 chapters of 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles 2, 10-29.

In short, David began his life as a humble, faithful and unassuming young man. He was the youngest of 8 sons, he was a good looking young guy but being the youngest he had no social standing or influence. He was not the heir to his father’s estate and therefore, he was not wealthy. He was a young shepherd boy who spent his time out in the fields looking after the flocks of his father Jesse.

Samuel came to town one day and is directed by God to the house of Jesse and promptly tells this man that God has chosen one of his sons to be the next king of Israel. Jesse presents his eldest son to Samuel…and subsequently each of his other sons from eldest to youngest…however, David was of such insignificant position within the family that he wasn’t even mentioned. It’s as if he didn’t exist.

Samuel is puzzled, he knows God has told him to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, they’re strong, powerfully built, having all the important ‘appearances’ of having the right stuff to be a king and yet God rejected everyone one of them. Jesse then admits that he does have one more son but he’s just the youngest kid who looks after sheep! When David is brought in, Samuel is immediately directed by God to anoint David as the next king of Israel.

Why David and not any of his older siblings? We get a glimpse of what’s on the inside of David’s brothers and what’s on the inside of David when we jump ahead to the battle with Goliath.

Goliath of Gath, a Philistine giant had challenged Israel to an absurd contest and he had the whole Israelite army is fear and trembling. David brings food supplies to his brothers and sees Goliath issuing his challenge and is really ticked off at this gigantic warrior who is demeaning not only to his people but to His God.

He starts asking questions about this Philistine and his eldest brother Eliab (Ely’av) confronts him and accuses him of just wanting to gawk at the battle and was in fact abandoning his own responsibilities. Eliab was probably feeling the sting of rejection and the humiliation of knowing that his daggy little brother was anointed to be the next king, while he the eldest son was the first to be rejected. The heart of Eliab, and no doubt his brothers – was full of resentment, anger, bitterness, selfishness, conceit, arrogance but no evidence of love for God. Whereas David…as soon as his ‘anointing’ ceremony was over went straight back out to tender his sheep and was obedient to his father’s orders, but when God’s people and God’s Name is libelled by an enemy, David is furious and wants justice for the reputation of his God. David had a different heart to that of his brothers.

Now David, before the incident with Goliath, was brought into Saul’s palace to play his harp to bring a semblance of peace and calm to Saul because he was repeatedly distressed because of a tormenting spirit assigned to him. Saul loved David already because his music skills brought him much peace but he didn’t really know much about David’s family and between ministry trips to Saul, David would return home to his father and his sheep. We know that David defeated Goliath and it’s through this situation that we realise what a faithful shepherd David was. He convinced Saul to let him fight Goliath after he informed Saul that he had previously, single-handedly killed both a lion and a bear when they attempted to kill some of his sheep. David was not negligent of his responsibilities as his brother accused him of being rather, he risked his own life to take on a wild bear and a wild lion in order to protect his sheep. (Remind you of Someone else?)

After defeating Goliath, Saul brought David to be part of his personal team…Saul always surrounded himself with the best and most skilled warriors. This brought David into the royal ‘court’ and he became head of the army. Also, David and Jonathan became immediate best friends and everything David did was successful and the people of Israel loved him dearly and initially Saul was very happy with him.

But then something happened which changed everything. Upon returning from a successful battle campaign against the Philistines, the women of the cities of Israel came out dancing and singing and the lyrics to their song were, ‘Saul has killed his thousands and David his ten thousands’ and Saul became rabidly jealous. This began the long years of Saul hating David and his many attempts to murder him – David, who was to become his own son-in-law became Saul’s primary obsession. (1 Samuel 18)

David won the right to marry Saul’s daughter when he killed Goliath but chose not to marry the eldest as David felt he was of too an humble origin and he had no wealth of his own so he stayed single. In order to bring about David’s death however, Saul offered David his younger daughter Michal for his wife, effectively using her as bait, but when David said he wasn’t worthy and had no money to pay a dowry, Saul said that all he needed to do was bring him the foreskins of 100 Philistines. Saul thought for certain that such huge odds against David would bring about his death. David promptly took up the challenge and brought Saul 200 instead. (1 Samuel 18)

Eventually David fled from the palace because Saul made several more attempts on his life and with his wife’s help and that of Jonathan, he escaped to Samuel’s house in Ramah, then he went to Naioth but eventually lived in the wilderness regions. Jonathan travelled out to meet secretly with David and work out a plan to see if Saul is just delusional or whether he really was intent on murdering David; Jonathan discovers that murder was controlling his father’s heart and Jonathan committed to doing all he could to protect David.

There are several things that are notable about David when he went to live in exile in the wilderness;

  1. He had obviously won over his jealous brothers because his whole family went out to stay with him at the Cave of Adullam. Along with his family, all those who were in distress, in debt and discontented made their way to join up with him and David led them, as though they were a small private army of 400 men, which eventually grew to about 600. He led them with great integrity and conviction and these discontented and disenfranchised men became a formidable fighting force that the people of Israel came to love, trust and respect. (1 Samuel 22:1-2)
  2. David was wise and also very caring. Knowing that Saul would stoop to any level to kill him, he made sure his elderly parents were protected. To ensure that Saul couldn’t use them or hurt them in an attempt to get to him, David asked the king of Moab if his parents could stay with him and they did. (1 Samuel 22:3-4)

We learned about the ultimate demise of Saul last week, but before David became king, he had numerous opportunities to avenge himself for every wrongful attempt on his life. Numerous times he could have killed Saul but he chose not to. Saul was definitely in the wrong but David chose to spare Saul’s life and then publically reveal to Saul that he wasn’t Saul’s enemy. David recognised that even though Saul no longer had the approval or protection of God, he had still been chosen and appointed to be Israel’s king and publically anointed with oil by Samuel the Prophet. As such, David refused to raise a hand against him.

We also have civil leaders and government rulers over us and many of them are corrupt and ungodly but as Christians, we are not to be disrespectful or demeaning or rude or abusive to them. Romans 13:1 says, ‘Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist are established by God.’

This verse is not talking about leaders within the church, it’s specifically talking about leaders of national governments and civil authorities.

Within the church, we are to be respectful of our leaders, but Paul, John, Peter, Jude and even Jesus said that church leaders had to be above reproach, that everything they taught had to be checked and tested and for those who taught or behaved wrongly, had to be marked, called out and avoided. There is a much higher degree of accountability within the church body, but civil and national rulers are appointed by God for His specific purposes because He uses them to ensure His plans for the ages are fulfilled to the letter. Also, when it comes to those INSIDE the church, they are to be judged BY the church. But for those who are OUTSIDE the church, they will be judged by GOD.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 says, ‘For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.’

Main characteristics of David were:

  • Obedient
  • Humble
  • Faithful
  • Committed
  • Brave
  • Devoted to God
  • Respectful
  • A lover and worshipper of God
  • Brilliant battle tactician
  • A natural leader of men
  • He protected his family
  • Forgiving
  • Honourable toward his enemy (Saul)
  • Not vengeful
  • Merciful

Next week we’ll look at what David’s life looked like after he became king.


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