What do Michalangelo, William Faulker, and Gregory Peck have in common? All of them have devoted significant time and effort to portray the biblical figure of David. If you think about it, some of our most famous sculptures, movies, and songs (Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” anyone?) have been inspired by David. His triumphs over Goliath and his failures with Bathsheeba are common knowledge, even if one isn’t familiar with the rest of his life. Considering how few people have actually read the Old Testament these days, that is saying something.
This is no less true within the biblical narrative itself. Outside of Jesus, no human figure is talked about, referenced, or alluded to more than David. The Psalms are riddled with his name—as an author, or example, or symbol. The gospels include him in every genealogy. One of Jesus’ most popular titles was Son of David. Pretty much any time kings or kingdoms are mentioned, you can be sure David’s shadow looms large.
And it all started in 1 and 2 Samuel. The author of that single scroll (the 1 and 2 were added later) was adamant that, like Abraham and Moses, David’s life represented a significant moment in the history of God’s people; and even though it would take 55 chapters to tell it, his story was critical to a life of faith.
David was a shepherd, the youngest son of Jesse, whom no one believed would one day be king. He experienced the entire range of human emotion, from resounding triumph over Goliath, to rejection as he fled from Saul, from ascending to the throne in Jerusalem, to fleeing his own son who tried to kill him. He is, on the one hand, a man after God’s own heart, and on the other, a frail and fickle leader who fails his people time and again.
Every detail of his life, and every chapter of 1 and 2 Samuel which records it, contain lessons, examples, and principles we can learn from. In our series on David, we want to explore as many of them as we can. But the most important thing David does is leave us wanting more, wanting better, wanting someone else. He is as good a king as we can hope for; and yet he isn’t nearly enough. He is like a first pass, a rough draft, that is so close, and yet so far away, from what it could be.
He is the Lord’s anointed, the messiah, the king, but don’t let the pageantry fool you. David is human, weak, stubborn, and broken. He is a fellow pilgrim on the way to a higher country, an exile searching for a permanent homeland, flesh and blood longing for an other-wordly king. Join us in this series on David’s life as we explore the most indispensable lesson he taught us: we still need a King.