was three times anointed: first in his father's house [1Sam
16:1-13], then over Judah, and lastly over all Israel. God has
anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the oil of gladness. He is King of
kings and Lord of lords, but as David-- though anointed king-- was
in exile while Saul reigned over the people, so Christ is rejected
by the world, and the ''Prince of this world'' is reigning in the
hearts of men.
A day came when the men of Judah gathered to David and anointed him
king in Hebron. ''The Spirit clothed Amasai and he said, Thine are
we, David, and on thy side'' (2Sam 2:4; 1Chr 12:18). It is a joyful
day in the experience of the believer when he yields the full
allegiance of his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, and says, ''Thine
am I, and on Thy side''; when he can look up into His face and say,
''Thou art my King'' (Psa 44:4).
''Now there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of
David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul
waxed weaker and weaker'' (2Sam 3:1), until at last Abner said to
the elders of Israel: ''Ye sought for David in times past to be king
over you. Now then do it: for the Lord hath spoken of David, saying,
By the hand of My servant David I will save My people Israel out of
the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their
enemies.'' ''Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto
Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh...
And they anointed David king over Israel'' (5:1-3). ''One from among
thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a
stranger over thee, which is not thy brother'' (Deu 17:15). ''The
king is near of kin to us'' (2Sam 19:42). ''In all things made like
unto His brethren'' (Heb 2:17). Here we see all Israel united under
their rightful king. A picture of a heart which is wholly true in
its allegiance to the King of kings.
God's promise to Israel was that He would save them from all their
enemies by the hand of David. And this was literally fulfilled, from
the day that he slew Goliath, all through his reign. We never read
of his being defeated. So Christ has vanquished our great enemy,
Satan. [Christ] has come ''that we, being delivered out of the hand
of our enemies, might serve Him without fear'' [Luke 1:74]. ''He
must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet'' [1Cor
15:25]. ''Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be
no end'' (Isa 9:7).
''And David took the stronghold of Zion'' [2Sam 5:7]. This is like
the central citadel of our will. When that is surrendered to the
Lord, His reign is established. [cp. 2Cor 10:4,5]
In the story of Mephibosheth [2Sam 9], we have a beautiful picture
of the grace of our King, in bringing us nigh and making us ''as one
of the King's sons,'' ''to eat bread at His table continually.'' He
brings us into His bancqueting-house and bids us partake, saying,
''Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved'' [Song
5:1]. He Himself is the heavenly food, for He says, ''The bread that
I give is My flesh,'' and ''My flesh is meat indeed'' [John
But any type of our blessed Saviour falls short somewhere. And
David, as a type, is no exception. We come next to the record of
David's awful sin [2Sam 11]. How can such a sinner be described as
''a man after God's own heart''? [1Sam 13:13,14]. All through the
life of David there is one characteristic which marks him out from
other men, and in special contrast to Saul, and that is his
continual trust and confidence in God, his acknowledgment of God's
rule, his surrender to God's will. The great desire of his heart was
to build God's House, yet when God sets him aside because he has
been a man of war, he acquiesces with perfect grace to the Divine
will [2Sam 7:5-13; 1Chr 28:3-5]. When Nathan brings home to
[David's] conscience the great sin of his life-- absolute monarch
that he is-- he acknowledges it at once [2Sam 12], and the depth of
his penitence is such as only a heart that knows God can feel. For
all time, the fifty-first Psalm stands out as the expression of the
deepest contrition of a repentant soul. In that Psalm, David speaks
of a broken heart as the only sacrifice he has to offer, a sacrifice
which God will not despise. And the high and Holy One that
inhabiteth eternity goes further in His wondrous condescension and
says, by the mouth of Isaiah, ''I dwell in the high and holy place,
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the
spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones''
The Bible does not cloak sin, least of all in God's own children. It
does not spare God's saints. There were steps leading up to David's
sin-- his multiplying wives, his tarrying still at Jerusalem when he
should have been at the war. It is always the case that there is
backsliding of heart, before it is seen in outward act. David sinned
grievously, but his repentance was immediate, deep, and sincere.
God, indeed, blotted out his transgressions, according to the
multitude of His tender mercies, but he did not remove the
consequences of the sin: He chastened David through sore trials in
his own family.
In the flight of Absalom, after the murder of his brother, we have a
picture of a rebel soul far off from God. In David, we have a
picture of God's sorrow over sinners. ''The King wept very sore...
And David mourned for his son every day... And the soul of David
longed to go forth unto Absalom'' [2Sam 13]. In the word of the wise
woman of Tekoa, ''God deviseth means, that he that is banished be
not an outcast from Him'' (2Sam 14:14, R.V.), we have an echo of
God's words: ''Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found
a ransom,'' or ''atonement'' (Job 33:24, margin).
Even when Absalom was in rebellion, the King commanded, ''Deal
gently, for my sake, with the young man, even with Absalom.'' In
this, we see the forbearance of God with sinners. And when he heard
of his death, he cried: ''O my son Absalom! my son, my son Absalom!
would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!'' David
would fain have died for the rebel, but he could not [2Sam 18]. How
this carries our thoughts on to the One who was not only willing,
but able to lay down His life, the Just for the unjust, to bring us
to God [1Pet 3:18].
In David's exile [2Sam ch. 15-17], we have again a picture of the
rejected Saviour. The eastern walls of Jerusalem are bounded by a
deep ravine-- the torrent-bed of the Kidron. When the rebellion of
Absalom drove David from his own city, we can imagine him coming
forth by an eastern gate-- probably what answered to the modern gate
of St. Stephen-- and following the winding path down the rocky side
of the valley. The King did not go alone. A band of faithful
servants went with him; and a little in advance, six hundred
Philistines from the city of Gath, under their leader, Ittai, the
Gittite. David had probably won the hearts of these men during his
[stay] in the Philistine city of Ziklag, some thirty years before,
and now they were ready to stand by him in time of trouble. When
David came up with this band at the bottom of the ravine, he tried
to dissuade Ittai from following him. He besought him as a stranger,
and as one who had but recently joined his service, not to attach
himself to a doubtful cause, and he bade him return with his
blessing. But Ittai was firm, his place, whether in life or in
death, was by the master he loved. Touched by such devoted
allegiance, David allowed Ittai to pass over the torrent-bed with
all his men, and with the little ones that were with him-- no doubt
the families of the band. With the voice of weeping, all the exiles
passed over, and climbed the grassy slopes of the Mount of Olives on
the other side. David set captains of thousands over the people that
were with him-- a third part under the hand of Ittai the Gittite.
The devotion of his followers comes out at every turn. When they
found that their King intended to go forth with them into the
battle, they would on no account allow it, but restrained him with
the words: ''Thou shalt not go forth; for if the half of us die they
will not care for us; but thou art worth ten thousand of us!'' [2Sam
A thousand years have passed. Again a rejected King goes forth from
the Jerusalem gate, and down the pathway into the dark valley, and
up the slopes of Olivet. Instead of the strong band that went with
David, there are but eleven men to go with David's Son, and of the
chosen three not one remains awake to share His agony [Mat
26:36-46]. ''I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people
there was none with Me'' [Isa 63:3]. The enthusiasm of David's
followers led them to restrain him from going into the battle. But
when the soldiers came to take the Lord of Glory, His little
body-guard all forsook Him and fled, and He who is the chiefest
among ten thousand, and altogether lovely [Song 5:10,16], laid down
His life for rebels and deserters.
Nearly two thousand years have passed since then. ''Our Lord is
still rejected and by the world disowned.'' There is still the
golden opportunity today of making His heart glad by such a devotion
as Ittai's. We are His blood-bought possession. It is His purpose
that we should share His glory throughout eternity. And He claims
our heart's love now.
Hushai the Archite and Zadok and Abiathar were to represent the King
at the very center of rebellion-- ''in the world, but not of it'';
ambassadors in an enemy's country [cp. 2Cor 5:20]. In Shimei, who
cursed David in his rejection, we have a picture of those who
reviled Jesus, wagging their heads and mocking Him.
''I will smite the King only,'' was Ahithophel's advice to Absalom,
''and I will bring back all the people unto thee.'' ''Smite the
Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered'' [Mat 26:31]. Jesus, our
Shepherd, was ''stricken, smitten of God'' for us [Isa 53]. And the
King passed over Jordan, that river of death.
The Return of the King.
We have a vivid picture of the return of David to the city of Zion
[2Sam 19:9-40]. The people clamored for the return of the King.
''Now, therefore, why speak ye not a word of bringing the King
back?'' The King heard of this and sent an encouraging message to
the elders. ''And the heart of all the men of Judah was bowed to the
King, even as the heart of one man; so that they sent this word unto
the King, Return thou, and all thy servants.''
''Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus'' [Rev 22:20]. According to Eastern
custom, the men of Judah went right over Jordan to meet their King,
and bring him back, and the crowd of rejoicing subjects increased as
they drew near the city. One day the cry will go forth, ''Behold,
the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him'' [Mat 25:6]. The ''the
dead in Christ shall rise first,'' and the saints that are alive on
the earth shall be caught up to meet Him in the air [1The 4:16,17].
Our King has set this certainty of hope before us, and calls us to
live in the joyful expectation of it. This should lead to
faithfulness in service-- ''Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is
with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be'' (Rev
22:12)-- and [according] to holiness of life (Titus 2:11-14).
A Gospel for the Hopeless.
The ''Mighty Men'' of David's kingdom [2Sam 23:8-39] were those who
came to him in the time of his exile, when he was fleeing from Saul.
They were escaped outlaws and criminals, but under David's
leadership they became brave, self-controlled, magnanimous men, like
their captain. ''Every one that was in distress, and every one that
was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered
themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there
was with him about four hundred men'' (1Sam 22:2). ''This Man
receiveth sinners'' [Luke 15:2]. It is a glorious Gospel that is
committed to our trust! It is the Gospel for the outcast, for the
refuse of society. It is the Gospel of hope for the worst and the
lowest. The transforming power of the Cross of Christ is seen in
changed lives wherever the Gospel is preached.