Sunday, March 20, 2022

A Closer Look at David the Psalmist and Warrior

It was his father’s love and concern for his brothers that sent David to the battle front that day. They were with Saul’s army seeking to halt an advance of the Philistines into Judah (1 Sam. 17). When David arrived in the camp he discovered to his horror that all Israel stood in fear before the Philistine champion, Goliath. Day after day the giant came forth, taunting the army of Israel to send forth a man to do battle with him. But none would go forward. Saul himself, the one who stood a head taller than all the rest, stood toe-to-toe with them in fear before Goliath. The people had thought that a king like Saul would be able to deliver them from all their troubles, but it would take the man of God’s own choosing to set them free.

Firm in his faith, David accepted the Philistine’s challenge. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine,” he asked, “that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” The battle must be joined. The battle would be joined. The anointed one of the LORD had come.

Goliath came forth in armor and shield, bearing a sword and a spear. David went forth in the name of the LORD, with nothing but five stones and a sling. When the giant saw him, he disdained him as unworthy. He threatened him with death. But David stood unmoved by his taunts. He was confident that the One who had delivered him from the paw of the lion and the bear would deliver him also from the hand of this Philistine, since he had taunted the armies of the living God (1 Sam. 17:36). His faith was in the name of the LORD, and He knew that God would vindicate His Name.

Goliath charged in all his strength. David pressed forward to meet him. It was over in a moment. David’s first missile from the sling struck the giant in his forehead, and he fell to the ground and died. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled for their lives.

It was, of course, but one battle. It would be many years before David would finally subdue the Philistines and bring Israel into rest. But this initial battle foreshadowed the final one. It revealed how the LORD’S anointed one would bring deliverance to His people. It thus foreshadowed the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Lord came into this world because of the Father’s love. He came as the anointed, promised Son of David. He came to deliver His people and bring them into rest. He entered into our very nature, that He might set us free from sin and death. “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14–15). He came and found us under the oppression of Satan. He went forth as our champion. He met our adversary in battle, and overcame all his temptations. By his death on the cross, the ruler of this world was cast out (John 12:31). His victory was complete, much greater than anything ever accomplished by David, for by it He put away sin and death.

In His triumphant power we see the fulfillment of all that was anticipated in the triumphs of David over the enemies of God’s people. Because David’s victories anticipated the final victory of the Messiah, the people looked in faith to the coming of that day. Thus when a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute received healing from Jesus, the multitudes wondered, “Is this the Son of David?” (Matt. 12:22f.). When a woman of Canaan sought Jesus’ help for her demon-possessed daughter, she cried out, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David …” (Matt. 15:22). When two blind men sitting by the road outside Jericho heard that Jesus was passing by, they too cried out for help from the Son of David. “So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (Matt. 20:29–34). Our champion had come.

What David foreshadowed, Christ fulfilled. As the Spirit of God came mightily upon David, that he might be victorious in his calling, so the Spirit of God came upon the Son of David that He also might be victorious. Jesus was the author and perfecter of faith; David was His image.

Now just as David’s victories anticipated the victory of Christ, so Christ’s victory anticipates our own. In Him, we too shall be victorious. Sin’s work in our own life must be put to death through the power of the Holy Spirit (Col. 3:5, Rom. 8:13). He who began a good work within us will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).

We must also strive to make known our Savior’s victory. This Gospel must be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations (Matt. 24:14). When Goliath fell, all Israel joined with David in pursuit of the Philistines. Thus David’s victory was made complete. We must likewise follow Christ, for He now marches to complete His victory. May the faith David exemplified and Christ fulfilled now be fulfilled in us.