Scriptures

47. David, Quite A Character

Introduction

By Lynn Mynatt

If you ask 100 people that are knowledgeable of Old Testament Scripture to name ten of the most prominent characters in the Old Testament, I would be willing to bet that David would be on everyone’s list.

So much has been written, poems composed, sculptures, paintings, and films made and music composed that feature David. So, why is there such fascination with this man?

Questions for Discussion
Ice-Breaker

1. What one thing would you want people to remember about you years after you have left this world?

2. One of the things that I have always heard said about David was that he was ‘a man after God’s own heart,’ 1 Samuel 13:14 / Acts 13:22.

Why do you think that was said about him?

3. Some of the more significant things that I have always thought about concerning David are:

Defeating Goliath, being the King of Israel, committing adultery with Bathsheba, being responsible for the death of Uriah (so basically being a murderer), his relationship with Jonathan, his dealings with Saul, and being the author of many of the Psalms.

What other things do you attribute to David?

4. One of the things that has both somewhat confused me but also comforted me, is that David committed (in our way of thinking) two of the most horrible sins that a person could commit, adultery and murder, yet he was still viewed as a man of great faith.

In Hebrews 11, the ‘roll call of faith’, David is mentioned with the likes of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses and Rahab.

‘And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword whose weakness was turned to strength and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.’ Hebrews 11:32-34

Do you need more examples?

I do not have time to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. Through their faith they defeated kingdoms. They did what was right, received God’s promised and shut the mouths of lions. They stopped great fires and were saved from being killed with swords. They were weak, and yet were made strong. They were powerful in battle and defeated other armies. (NCV)

David was obviously a great man with great faith, tremendously brave and willing to die for his God. God could have chosen to share only the wonderful things that David did, but He chose to also tell us the ugly side of David’s story.

I believe that God did that for a reason, for us to remember that David was still just a man that had temptations, some of which he did not resist.

I guess the confusing part is that David committed these terrible sins, but the comforting part is that even after committing them, he was still viewed as a man of great faith. So, as we all struggle with temptation and fall into sin, we should be comforted by the fact that God’s love for us (and our love for him) is not necessarily diminished by our shortcomings.

How do you think that David allowed temptations to overtake him?

How did he overcome these sins that he fell into?

‘The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, ‘There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. ‘Now a traveller came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveller who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.’ David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.’ Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’ ‘This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’ Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ Nathan replied, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.’ After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, ‘While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.’ David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realised the child was dead. ‘Is the child dead?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ they replied, ‘he is dead.’ Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, ‘Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!’ He answered, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.’ Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him; and because the LORD loved him, he sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.’ 2 Samuel 12:1-25

What does Scripture teach us to do to deal with our sin?

5. An interesting note concerning David is found in Matthew 1. As Matthew starts his book, he goes through the lineage of Christ. However, in Matthew 1:1, Matthew specifically calls out David.

‘This is the family history of Jesus Christ. He came from the family of David, and David came from the family of Abraham.’ Matthew 1:1

I think it is interesting that 40 generations (if I counted correctly) are listed in verses 2-16 yet verse 1 mentions David and Abraham specifically in the genealogy of Christ.

Why did Matthew do this?

Conclusion

There is so much written about David or by David throughout the Old Testament and many references to him in the New Testament. A short discussion sheet cannot begin to due him justice.

From growing up as the youngest of eight boys, tending sheep while his brothers fought, fighting the giant, being a refugee from Saul, to serving as King of Israel, there was never a dull moment in David’s life.

Even though David lived thousands of years ago, his life mirrors many of our lives today. If you ever had doubts, dealt with temptations, battled personal inconsistencies, fallen into sin, suffered losses or anguished over relationships, then spend some time starting in 1 Samuel 17 and read how David became ‘the man after God’s own heart.’

How great would it be, years after we pass, that people would say about us, ‘they were truly a person after God’s own heart.’

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'"

Matthew 22:37

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