King David of Israel was a man after God’s own heart, yet the Bible lists many of his greatest sins. Though he had his share of struggles, his relationship with God was never broken. He still enjoyed special blessings because of that bond, just as the Jewish people have.
This week we’ll see how God’s plan for David was much larger than anyone realized. He was not just a shepherd boy or even a noble warrior. Nor was he just a young man who, through a series of lucky opportunities, rose to power. His life was shepherded by the Lord with very personal care. And generally speaking, everything said about David can also be said of the Jewish people collectively.
David may have been last on Jesse’s list of important sons, but he was God’s first choice in all of Israel.
David’s humble beginning didn’t foreshadow his eventual importance in Israel. He was the youngest of eight sons, the shepherd boy seemingly destined to work in his lowly position while his brothers were headed for glory. In fact, 1 Samuel 17:13 notes that David’s oldest three brothers later followed King Saul to serve him in battle while David merely fed his father’s sheep.
We can see how insignificant David appeared to society when the prophet Samuel came to the family of Jesse, David’s father. His seven older brothers were so much more favorable than David that when Samuel prepared to anoint the next king of Israel, David wasn’t even called inside the home to be inspected. He was an afterthought. Yet when Samuel asked for him, the Lord revealed David was the one He chose to take the throne. 1 Samuel 16:13 says “the Spirit of the Lᴏʀᴅ came upon David from that day forward.” He may have been last on Jesse’s list of important sons, but he was God’s first choice in all of Israel.
The Jewish people were chosen by God much like David was. They are small in number compared to other people groups, in the same vein of the afterthought young David was. But God’s covenant with Abraham was no small deal. It affected the rest of human history as we know it in many ways, but first and foremost it served as a divine promise to bless the descendants of Abraham forever. The Jewish people will never be rejected by the One who chose them as His people thousands of years ago.
Because he gained God’s favor, David could not be stopped. That’s not for a lack of attackers. He faced lions and bears. He faced the Philistine giant, Goliath. He faced King Saul and the armies of Israel chasing him down to take his life. Yet none of these powerful forces could bring harm to David. It wasn’t because David was stronger than they were. It was because God had His hand on him, protecting David’s every step.
The Jewish people are protected in the same way. Though many people groups have dominated eras of history, often attempting to trample Israel in the process, God has protected His Chosen People. They’ve faced attacks like David did on a larger scale—threats of extinction, pogroms, the Holocaust—but God has never failed to preserve them.
The Jewish people will never be rejected by the One who chose them as His people thousands of years ago.
David’s purpose was always greater than people thought it was. It wasn’t just to shepherd his father’s flock. It wasn’t just to slay Goliath and save Israel in one battle. It wasn’t just to become king of Israel. It was to serve the Lord by leading His people in righteousness, for which David was granted the privilege of becoming an ancestor of Jesus in human flesh.
Just as David endured hardship but found safety in God’s care, the Jewish people have endured because they’ve also been ordained for a divine purpose unlike any other. God revealed this purpose in Exodus 19:6: “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Israel’s location in the modern world allowed it access to every civilization that wanted to travel and trade goods. This was no coincidence: God wanted Israel to contact the whole world with the message of His name to fulfill its purpose of being a kingdom of priests.
Israel was always meant to communicate God’s character to the world. Most of humanity has remained stubborn and rebellious, not wanting to place God as the authority in their lives. Israel has also struggled to fulfill this calling historically as a result of its sins listed in last week’s blog. Regardless, God gave this all-important duty to His Chosen People, and He has promised them incredible blessings that are still part of their future.
Israel was always meant to communicate God’s character to the world.
David held a future promise dear: The Messiah would come from his lineage, which was fulfilled when Jesus was born hundreds of years after David died. Now the Jewish people continue to hold fast to glorious future promises. They will enjoy the blessing of the entire Diaspora being regathered in the land of Israel. They will experience total spiritual restoration, having repented and come to faith in the Lord Jesus. They will also host the Lord’s coming Kingdom in their land, where God’s promises to David and to the Jewish people will come full circle, as He fulfills His promise to keep David’s descendant (Jesus) on the throne of Israel forever.
It’s foolish to believe the Jewish people have survived so much persecution for any reason besides God’s protection. The same is true of David. He could overcome wild animals, violent men, and warring kingdoms because God had greater intentions for him. Both were consecrated to promote God’s character, and both are the recipients of beautiful blessings still to come as a result of their relationship with Him.
David serves as a remarkable picture of the Jewish people. He was hunted and hated unjustly, he endured costly mistakes before the Lord, and he ultimately served a greater purpose in bringing glory to God’s name. His example teaches us about who God is while highlighting one of the traits that gives us such joy: His steadfast nature as a promise-keeper. Thank God for His faithfulness to us and how we can see this nature through David and the Jewish people!