David was a shepherd boy chosen by God to be the king of Israel. His life, as recorded in the Bible, teaches and inspires us as Christians to live for God.
David believed in God. When I was growing up most everybody believed in God. Unfortunately, many young people today are not taught faith in God. They are told that the universe just happened. They are told that if there was a God none of the bad things in the world would be allowed to happen. They are told not to depend upon God to help them in life because He doesn’t exist.
David was just a youth when he looked up in the sky at night while out watching over his sheep. He may have spent many hours looking at the stars. You can’t even hardly see any stars in the big city anymore. But listen to what David would later write by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament [the great expanse of space] shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4). Every day and every night, every one, in a language every one can understand is being told that there is a God. It is true; all we have to do is look around at the beauty, design and vastness of our world to see that there is a God!
The apostle Paul wrote, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20). Yes, there is a God! Logic concludes that creation demands a Creator; that design demands a Designer. Look at the watch on your arm. Isn’t it obvious that somebody made it? Just as surely as your watch demands a watchmaker, our world demands a worldmaker!
Did anything bad ever happen to David? Of course it did, but he didn’t then deny God. King Saul tried to kill him with a spear and then hunted him down so that he had to flee for his life, hide in caves and often go hungry. Even when he was king he experienced some evil times. One of his sons died shortly after birth. Another of his sons led a rebellion against him and was brutally killed. Yet, in all these things David never lost faith! In fact it was in the bad times that David seemed to see God most clearly.
If you will read through the many psalms of David in the Bible you will see his faith in God expressed over and over again, especially during the bad times. For example, Psalm 3. David had learned to depend on God in every temptation and trial of life. He had no doubt in the saving power of God. Through all the bad there was somehow a blessing from God.
We, too, must learn to go to God and trust Him with our lives. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?… Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:28, 31-32, 35, 37).
David fought for God. Remember Goliath? Read 1 Samuel 17:3-11. David’s older brothers were on the battlefront. David would sometimes bring them food. One day he heard Goliath challenge Israel. Seeing how all in Israel were afraid of Goliath, he accepted the challenge himself saying, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (v. 26).
These were not just words; David was ready to go and fight the giant (v. 32). Saul would have discouraged David from going because of his young age (v. 33). Young people still get this today. But David had gotten his courage from God when he was just a young man guarding the sheep from wild animals. He trusted the Lord to deliver him from Goliath just as he had delivered him from the lion and the bear (vv. 34-37). So David went forth to slay the giant, Goliath (vv. 38-51).
You and I have our own personal “Goliaths” to face: Problems, obstacles, difficult people, temptations and trials which often seem so big; so impossible to overcome. We can let them stand against us day after day as we cower in fear like Israel or we can take courage to accept the challenge to fight for God like David.
The apostle Paul wrote, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).
David sinned against God. No, David was not perfect, not at all. Jesus Himself pointed out how once when David was running from Saul, he and those that were with him went inside of the temple itself, even into the holy place, and ate the showbread which was not lawful for them to eat (Matthew 12:3-4).
Perhaps, the most well known of David’s sins was his adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-5). David tried to cover up his sin. He had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, brought home from the war so he could be with his wife and think that the child was his. But Uriah would not go to his house while the others were fighting. So David then arranged for Uriah to die in battle by having him put on the frontline and having the others retreat. With Uriah out of the way David could take Bathsheba as his own wife. “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD” (v. 27).
This is not the way God would have us take care of our sins. You cannot just sweep them under the rug and get by with it. God sent His prophet Nathan who exposed the sin of David (12:9-14). Yes, David found forgiveness. But he, his family and the nation suffered the consequences.
What made David different from many was his humility and penitence when he was confronted with his sin. He did not make excuses like Saul, nor did he become puffed up with pride. After all, he was king. Could he not have just had Nathan killed and continued to go on and do whatever he wanted?
Two psalms give us an insight into the heart of David after his sin with Bathsheba. Psalm 32:3-4 tell us how David suffered under the burden of guilt while he tried to cover up his sin, before Nathan came and he confessed his sin. In Psalm 51:1-3 David admits what he has done. In verses 10-12 he pleads with God, then in verses 13-17 he promises not just to offer the sacrifices required by the law but to truly change his life and live for God’s glory.
Like David, none of us are perfect either (Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8). What we do with our sins will reveal what we are really like on the inside. You may try to cover them up for awhile, but ultimately they will all come to light. As David found out, trying to fix our messes on our own only gets us into more trouble and gets more people hurt. We can only look to the Lord for mercy. A broken and contrite heart He will not despise.
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:8-10).