In my daily Bible readings, I’m finishing up reading through 1 and 2 Samuel, which introduces the life of King David.
David is one of my favorite Bible characters. There’s much to learn through his life, especially with how he has a deep passionate love for God. Though there are many takeaways from studying about David, for this week’s DHD, I will share six.
- Humble upbringing
David was extremely gifted. He was musically talented and poetic. He also appeared to have natural skills for battle (1 Sam. 16:18). But as the youngest of his siblings, he was sent to do one of the most thankless and overlooked jobs—shepherding.
I’ve heard the comparison from Bible teachers that being a shepherd would be the equivalent today of being a garbage man. It’s an important job but not one of great aspirations.
But David took great advantage of his time with the sheep. He saw this experience as opportunity for training for battle (1 Sam. 17:34-37). The plenteous down time may have allowed him to write psalms and practice his music.
One great quality of David—and he had many—is knowing how to use his time wisely to prepare him for leadership.
- Passionately committed
The story of David battling Goliath is one of the most popular Bible stories. I love the whole passage in 1 Samuel 17, from the setup of introducing the Philistine champion in verse 4, to David’s father Jesse sending David to take food to his brothers, to David showing his boldness and wanting to fight, to his brothers getting angry with David, to David convincing King Saul to letting him fight Goliath. And then the battle preparation involving him rejecting the armor and instead using his slingshot to defeating the giant. It’s an awesome story.
But behind David’s passion was his love for God and wanting to do what is right before God, which he knew was taking on Goliath and revealing God empowering the young shepherd boy. David’s speech before the battle is powerful (17:45-47), explaining how the Lord would conquer Goliath.
And David showed this passion throughout his early adult years when he went to battle. But the most important thing about his passion was how it demonstrated his faith and commitment to God.
- Respectful to authority
When David was on the run against the extremely envious King Saul, David still honored the king. In 1 Samuel 24, David and his men were hiding in a cave, which Saul entered to relieve himself, not knowing they were there. They never had a greater opportunity to end their time on the run against a powerful king. However, David had great respect for Saul, in spite of the fact that Saul was trying to kill him.
David is a prime example of respecting authority regardless of who is in leadership (Rom. 13:1-7). As the commentary in my Life Application Bible said, “If he assassinated Saul, he would be setting a precedent for his own opponents to remove him some day.”
On a personal application, it is always important to demonstrate respect for those in authority. You can disagree with decisions and positions on issues, but it is always important for you to be respectful because “what you say about somebody says more about you than it does about them.”
I appreciate David’s example.
- Lived wisely guarded
But even as David respected Saul, as God’s anointed king, he did not trust Saul. At the end of the passage in 1 Samuel 24, it appeared that Saul ended his pursuit to kill David, but “David and his men went back to their stronghold.”
I thought that was a fascinating aspect to the end of this story. Saul went home, but David kept his guard up and his distance from Saul.
I think the lesson we get from David is be respectful and forgiving, but don’t forget this is still a fallen world.
It’s similar to the instruction Jesus gave when sending out His disciples to be “wise as serpents and harmless as dove” (Matt. 10:16). As Christians, we are not to be gullible, but neither are we to be deceitful. This is another great example in David’s life, how he handled King Saul.
- Willingly admitted failure and sought to reconcile
There is much sinful behavior demonstrated in David’s life. He committed adultery and murder. He also was not the model father with some of his children.
But when he was confronted with his sins, David accepted punishment for his failures. He also knew that even through forgiveness there will still be consequences of sin.
- Understood God’s grace
Probably the greatest characteristic of David was his understanding of God’s grace. One of the best examples is told in 2 Samuel 12. David’s child he had with Bathsheba was deathly ill. While the baby was still alive, David demonstrated extreme grief, begging God to spare the child.
Once the child died, David no longer grieved. It can be hard to fully comprehend David’s behavior, but this reflects his understanding of God.
David knew God had forgiven him, and he knew it did not help to dwell on his sin. Life Application Bible says in its commentary on 2 Sam. 12:20-24, “To feel forgiven as David did, admit your sins to God and turn to Him. Then move ahead with a new and fresh approach to life.”
This is hard to practice, but David had such a great understanding of God’s grace, and his life reflected this understanding.
There’s so much more to learn from David’s life, and I welcome your takeaways from your study of David.