This Is The Man After God’s Own Heart
And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. Ezekiel 34:23
He is venerated by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Mentioned 16 times in the Koran, the biography of this man is longer than the narrative of any other person in the Bible, including Jesus Christ whose biography was written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Identified as a “Man after God’s own heart,” this person was completely human and flawed. Can you identify him? His name was David and he is mentioned more than 1,000 times in Scripture. In this series we’re going to highlight David’s life and how the lessons he learned, some very painfully, are equally valid in today’s culture and society.
In all probability David never knew his great grandmother, in that people in those days didn’t live as long as they do today; however, you can be rock-solid certain that he heard about her. He name was Ruth, and she had a son whose name was Obed, and Obed had a son whose name was Jesse, and his eighth son was David.
About 1200 B.C. the Philistines or “Sea Peoples” came sweeping down from the North and they brought with them the secret of producing iron and established themselves as a political power that had to be reckoned with. When push came to shove, they made inroads into Judea and this was part of the reason that the people wanted a king–someone who was powerful and could organize resistance against the Philistines.
The first king was a giant of a man but a pygmy when it came to good sense and government. His name was Saul, a native of Gibeah in Benjamin. When it became apparent that Saul was inadequate, God spoke to Samuel, a prophet, and gave him a task: go to Bethlehem where a man whose name was Jesse whose son was to be the next king.
Samuel went south to the city of Bethlehem. Today Bethlehem lies almost in suburban Jerusalem, but in David’s day it was an ancient city with lots of history. When Samuel came to the house of Jesse his task was complicated by the fact that Jesse has a number of sons. No doubt Jesse was blown away at the prospect of becoming the father of the next king of Israel. Samuel asked for his sons to be presented to him. One by one they were brought before the prophet, probably starting with the oldest one (usually the one who succeeded his father) and as Samuel saw them the Spirit of God quietly whispered, “This is not the one!”
When the seventh son came before the prophet and there was no affirmation that this was the one, he asked, “Have you no more sons?” Reluctantly Jesse told him that his eighth son, a mere lad, was tending the family’s small flock of sheep on a nearby hillside. His name was David and when he finally stood before the old prophet, the Spirit of God whispered, “This in the one!” And Samuel took the anointing oil and poured it upon David’s head, and from that moment, according the Scripture, the Spirit of the Lord filled David’s heart and almost simultaneous with that God removed the Holy Spirit from King Saul and sent a troublesome spirit that vexed him.
Then when the older brothers heard that David would one day be king, they rejoiced and treated him with respect. Not exactly! If you know the story of David’s life, you realize that shortly thereafter a Philistine giant whose name was Goliath began to vex the army of Israel and little brother was sent with provisions for the army. His brothers treated him with distain and rebuked him for leaving the little flock of sheep to come to the battle. And the rest of the story, you know!
Resource reading: 1 Samuel 16:13.