Tuesday, April 13, 2010

David and Goliath

Once the people of Israel settled in the land of Canaan, their focus began to shift toward the need for internal order and governance. For the first 150 years, their was no centralized government, but rather the various tribes of Israel were ruled by judges. The book of Judges chronicles the history of this period, which includes some of the more well known judges such as Deborah, Gideon, and Samson. Although the period of judges provided relative stability for the people, they soon longed for a more centralized form of government. Therefore, in the book of First Samuel, we find the Israelites demanding a king "like all the other nations" (1 Samuel 8:5). The Lord reluctantly grants this request and appoints Saul as the first King of Israel. Ultimately, due to Saul's disobedience, his kingship was rejected by the Lord.
First Samuel, chapter 16, describes the selection of David as the next King of Israel. Like his ancestor Moses, David was called by God while he was tending sheep. The fact that David was a shepherd also foreshadows the Messiah, who will be called the Good Shepherd, the one who will lay down his life for his sheep. It is also significant that God did not choose the oldest and most qualified son, but God chose David, who was the youngest and smallest of Jesse's sons. As the Lord says to Samuel, "man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7). The youth and inexperience of David were immediately tested when he volunteered to confront Goliath, the Philistine who threatened to destroy the armies of Israel. As David prepared to fight and ultimately defeat Goliath, Saul attempted to place his own armor on David (17:38), but David could not fight with Saul's armor. This symbolized that David's kingship would be very different than that of Saul; David could not walk in Saul's anointing.
Although David was anointed by Samuel in First Samuel 16, he was not formally enthroned as king until after the death of Saul. Once enthroned as king, David became yet another example of imperfect leadership. David commited adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and then murdered Uriah in an attempt to conceal his sin. A child was conceived by that adulterous act, but that child ultimately died. Yet in spite of his flaws, David reigned over the glory days of the kingdom of Israel, a kingdom united under one Lord and King. David was the one given the plans for the building of the great Temple of the Lord, which would ultimately be built by Solomon, David's son and eventual successor to the throne.

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