In Acts 13:22, God calls David “a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” David wanted very much to fulfill all of God’s will. He didn’t say, Well, I’ll keep two of the commandments, or nine of them. He wanted to keep every one of them, and to fulfill every little detail he could to obey God.
The Greek word translated after in this verse means “motion or extension through a space from top to bottom,” “throughout” and “down through.” This indicates a total saturation of the mind and heart. The word is used in connection with something covered or overwhelmed, or denoting an abundance of that with which something is filled up or covered up. It’s not easy to be “after” God’s own heart—trying to think and act exactly as God does with all your might!
At times David was very rich; other times he was very poor. But whatever his state, he always worked to keep close to God. He knew his relationship with God was most important. That is what made him a man after God’s own heart.
That attitude made David an outstanding king. We can learn priceless lessons about how to be kings for God from his example.
Some commentaries say David’s example is just a popular legend. That is totally false. You can easily prove that the Bible is God’s Word and that David served God. Even archaeology is proving more and more that the Bible’s account of King David is accurate. He was, indeed, a real person and a faithful man. And because of his deeds, soon David will be resurrected to rule over all Israel forever!
Through the former prophets, God places special emphasis on the royal, priestly throne He established in King David. The whole book of Samuel revolves around David’s throne. Why all the attention on David?
That throne was to be a family throne, established forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Astounding as it may seem, David’s family throne is still in existence today. (We explain this truth thoroughly in our free books The Key of David and The New Throne of David.)
A thorough understanding of David’s throne reveals what God is doing today and shall do in the future. Jesus Christ will assume David’s throne upon His Second Coming to Earth (Luke 1:32).
True religion revolves around the family throne of David. God’s people are training even now to share that throne with Him (Revelation 3:21). God has already made His firstfruits kings and priests in embryo (Revelation 1:6).
The former prophets—especially Samuel and Kings—contain a lot of history and instruction about Israel’s kings and priests. In essence, the former prophets teach us how to be kings and priests for God. At the heart of that instruction is the example of one of the most towering personalities of the Bible, King David.
God Looks on the Heart
When Saul proved to be such a poor king of Israel, God rejected him. “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever” (1 Samuel 13:13). That sounds like what God told David! Did Saul have a chance to do what David did? It certainly sounds that way to me. Look at what an opportunity that man had, and how he failed in it.
“But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee” (verse 14). God is not passive about this. He is always vigorously seeking a man after His own heart.
God wants each one of us to follow David’s splendid example. That is why there is so much about David in the Bible!
God instructed Samuel the prophet to visit the house of Jesse because He had chosen a king to replace Saul from among Jesse’s sons. When Samuel went there, Jesse put forward Eliab, whom he thought was his most talented and effective son. Samuel was immediately impressed. Surely this fine young man was the king God had chosen.
Actually, God had something to teach Samuel and Jesse. “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Pay attention to this: God doesn’t look at us as the world does. He doesn’t look to see if you are tall, dark and handsome. He doesn’t check whether you have a high iq. He looks on your heart. The heart as described here is the seat of the senses, affections or emotions, or the seat of the will. Perhaps the closest English word is “attitude.” When choosing people to serve Him, He looks on your heart—because if your attitude is right, it doesn’t matter what else you may lack; God can use you very effectively. You don’t need to feel inferior to anybody.
It is important that we learn more and more to look upon leaders and men the way God does. Saul was an impressive man: probably about 7 feet tall, surely a good-looking man, and personable. The people fell in love with him. But God doesn’t want us to look at people that way!
In dating, people tend to look at the exterior; women in this world quite often want to choose someone like Saul—tall, dark and handsome. Men also often use superficial standards toward females. God is telling us that if you look at a potential spouse that way, you might end up with someone like Saul as a husband! We have to be ever so careful.
We urgently need to look on the heart when we are seeking a husband or a wife. Without God’s help, we make dangerous mistakes. It happens all the time! How spiritual are you? How much do you know how to look on the heart?
If we’re going to be leaders for God, we must let Him teach us to look on the heart. Men may have a few insights into the attitudes of other people, but they are extremely limited. Only God knows how to look on the heart.
Men make catastrophic mistakes when they think they have this ability.
We can never look on the heart as God does. But we can always go to God in deep humility for help. We can continue to learn from God throughout our lives.
Even in child rearing, we need to learn to look on the heart, or we can’t very well rear our children to develop the heart that God wants or the attitude that David had. We can never properly rear our children without help from God in this area. Without this critical understanding, much of our instruction and discipline will be less effective.
We must know how limited we are in looking on the heart. We always need God’s help in this area. And the need is desperate. But first, we must see that we don’t naturally have this ability.
Nobody needs help in this area more than God’s ministers! Without the ability to look on the heart, serious mistakes will be made. Only God can give us this understanding.
After God refused Eliab, Jesse called Abinadab, his next son. God refused him too. Then came the next son, and the next—a total of seven sons (verse 10). They looked like outstanding young men—yet God told Samuel to reject every single one of them! These were the best sons Jesse had, at least as he reasoned. He didn’t even consider David. Isn’t that amazing?
If people in the world were to look around and choose people to represent God in this end time, how many of us would be chosen? Probably none of us! But God does the choosing. And He doesn’t judge the way men judge. He doesn’t look upon you the way the world does. That is something we need to keep in mind.
Samuel asked if Jesse had any other sons, and Jesse was reluctant to mention David. David doesn’t have any outstanding ability, he said. All he does is take care of the sheep (verse 11). But Samuel insisted that David be sent for. “And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he” (verse 12). God chose young David.
David was different from others around him. He was a young man after God’s own heart—that’s why he was chosen. Are you that way? Does God think of you as a person after His own heart? Do you want to fulfill all of His will—everything God wants you to do in your life?
If you do, you’re going to have wonderful success.
Develop Your Talents
When David was out on the night watches with those sheep, he spent a lot of time thinking about God. He thought about God’s power. He meditated on God’s law.
David was a real student of God’s Word. He saw God’s Word as “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” as it says in Psalm 119:105. He kept this shining lamp right there to guide him in the path, and then just walked down that lighted path. That is why and how David became great. He let God’s Word guide him, not his carnal reasoning.
He later became a friend of Samuel. He didn’t shy away from the top leaders of Israel; he wanted to be right there with them because he knew that would help him grow and get to know God better.
Several times throughout his life, David said that God was with him. That was like the motif of his life. That’s the most important statement that you can make about a person: that God is with him.
David was accomplished in the arts of his age and country. He was a poet, as you can see in the Psalms. He was also a musician—a skilled harpist. In his hours alone, watching after the flock, he composed and sang songs for God. His skill on the harp became well known throughout the neighborhood. It actually became the means of his introduction to the court of King Saul.
Saul was having deep spiritual and emotional problems. His servants recommended that he find someone who could play soothing music on the harp whenever he was troubled by an evil spirit. Saul agreed and asked them to find such a musician.
Please pay close attention to this verse: “Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him” (1 Samuel 16:18). Read that again: This was a teenager he was talking about! What a reputation David had built!
It’s amazing what a contrast there is between this man’s view and that of David’s own family. David’s father and brothers had an extremely low view of him. Even after Samuel anointed him, they didn’t esteem him highly—they put him right back out with the sheep (verse 19). Sometimes when a boy is cast aside like that, he will do almost anything to please his dad. Maybe God worked things out in a way that would motivate David, and in the process he would learn to see a Father—a spiritual Father—who would never view him as an outsider or outcast, and would never let him down! Maybe that helped to really motivate David. Whatever the reason, this young man just kept working and making a strong name for himself.
God is choosing His nobility, His royalty, today. He wants you to develop your talents. Do you develop your talents the best you can? Are you preparing to lead the world in that way? This is important to God.
David wasn’t some fool who didn’t know anything; he was an intelligent young man. He clearly cultivated his talents diligently, and surely that was part of why God chose him. But first of all, David fervently sought God; as a result, God kept opening doors for him.
Notice too that Saul’s servant called David “a valiant man.” He had courage. He was gutsy like no young man on Earth at that time! He wasn’t afraid to step out and do what needed to be done. God was impressed by how valiant he was. We too need to develop our abilities and have courage when we need to use them.
Be a Positive Person
So Saul sent for David, and David joined Saul’s court. “And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer” (1 Samuel 16:21). David had a lot of love for people. He loved Saul greatly! And Saul wasn’t such a great person at this time; he was having some serious problems. But David loved him. He must have looked upon him the way God did. God loved Saul—He just didn’t like the way Saul ruled, and tried to get him to repent. But David thought like God in this way.
How about you and me? Do we have a lot of love for God’s people and God’s leaders—in spite of their flaws—as David did? Are you outgoing and loving? Or do you sit back, maybe looking suspicious or having an evil eye toward people? David was full of love and truly loved being around other people.
David had to see that this was God’s man. He obviously knew he was to be king, but he was happy to wait in the wings until God put him into that position. He knew God had placed Saul into that office, and he was God’s man until God removed him. Saul was God’s king—the only king God had on Earth! David loved Saul greatly because David loved God greatly.
It just isn’t natural to think this way.
Soon Saul sent a message to Jesse saying that David had found favor in his sight (verse 22). David really made a positive impression on people. This is why Saul wanted him around.
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (verse 23). Wasn’t that powerful music, inspired by God? This is what good, God-inspired music can do. Saul wouldn’t have been soothed by so much of the popular music in this world. But David played the sort of music that actually healed Saul and caused that evil spirit to leave! Demons don’t want to be around a happy environment.
God used David to lift Saul’s spirit. There is a lesson here too. Clearly we must learn to control our own emotions and stay positive. But if you’re going to be royalty for God, you must also learn to be encouraging to other people. That’s what a leader does. Are you an encouraging person to be around?
When we are negative, we can cause other people to become negative and discouraged. There isn’t any reason for God’s people to be discouraged.
Contrast these two kings. Saul was depressed and discouraged, and he needed somebody to play music just to drive away his negativity. David was the opposite: He used his talents and personality to lift up those around him. He played inspiring music on the harp; he loved Saul, and he was outgoing and uplifting. He was a happy person; he was positive. That’s what God wants you to be.
Think about this. If you’re going to help Jesus Christ rule in the World Tomorrow, you must be living by these laws. You must be a person who has a positive impact on other people. If you are, you can be a great encouragement to them!
The Faith to Fight
When King Saul ruled, the nation suffered from a shameful lack of faith. David, still a teenager, visited the army on the battlefront and saw Israel’s soldiers—who should have been the picture of faith-filled valor—cowering in fear before a Philistine warrior. “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid” (1 Samuel 17:24). Those men were afraid of a man! You see the same pathetic spirit of timidity and fear—and even worse—in modern Israel, both physical and spiritual.
Saul offered a great reward to anyone who would stand up to Goliath—but no one would fight even for riches (verse 25). Saul wasn’t even considering fighting the giant himself.
Why were these men so shamefully fearful? It was primarily because of Saul’s poor leadership!
Young David had a totally different spirit. “And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (verse 26). David saw these not as the armies of Israel—but as the armies of the living God! Who would dare defy the armies of the living God? David asked. Not one person in that army looked at it that way! And David was just shocked.
David’s older brother Eliab got indignant at David—and remember, this was after David was anointed as king! He accused David: “I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle” (verse 28). The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible defines pride as haughtiness, arrogance, insolence, rebelliousness. “This kind of pride presumes to have more authority than is warranted,” it says. The word naughtiness means badness, wickedness, wretchedness, an evil condition. These are terrible things for a brother to say to another brother! Maybe Eliab was offended that he hadn’t been chosen as king! He looked good, but God didn’t choose him—and his attitude here probably indicates why.
Who was the real soldier here? Someone can look like a warrior, but it takes real faith to stand up to giants and other problems. Trials reveal who the real warriors are. We cannot fake this. When the big battle comes, who will stand up like David and fight for the living God?
David asked his brother, “Is there not a cause?” (verse 29).
These were the armies of the living God—the Creator of the universe and mankind. He has unlimited power to support us if we believe Him—have faith in Him. But His soldiers were terrified and fleeing in retreat.
This sickened David. He saw it to be the ultimate insult to God and Israel.
“Is there not a cause?”
What a profound question that David asked. He saw the whole scene through God’s eyes. He knew God and was close to Him. He exuded faith because he believed God.
This young warrior was eager to fight Goliath the giant. David wanted to show him and the world some of the unlimited power of God!
“Is there not a cause?”
From God’s point of view—and David’s—there was a monumental cause! God wants all mankind to see it.
Can’t you all see there’s a good reason to fight here? David asked. We need to take this Philistine on! Today, we have a cause to stand up and fight for God! We could never do the Work if we didn’t have the attitude that David did here.
David’s language was so different from anyone else’s in the army. They hadn’t heard anyone talk like that before. This young man really had something that nobody else saw but God. This was something that would make him a great king. You can already begin to see, so soon after David was anointed, why God was so impressed with David’s heart. This young man clearly had a lot of spiritual depth.
In verse 34, David told Saul, “Thy servant kept his father’s sheep ….” It is interesting how he expressed that. You would think that normally someone in his job would call them “our sheep.” But David saw them as his father’s sheep, and nobody was going to take his father’s sheep because, I think, he wanted Dad to think highly of him.
As a youth, David had slain a lion and a bear that menaced his father’s sheep—even delivering the sheep from the mouths of these animals! Imagine that! If you were taking care of a flock of sheep and a lion came and grabbed one of those lambs, probably every one of us would say, “Well, I think I can afford to lose one lamb.” Think about what this young man did, who knew that the God who created that lion was alive—and if necessary, would kill it because it was taking his father’s sheep! Imagine what kind of prayers he prayed for those sheep: that God would watch over them and protect every single one. And did God ever protect them!
We have to live like God is alive, as David did! David had a certain childhood innocence that even made him stronger in this area, but he risked his life for a lamb! That is a type of God’s flock! Would we ministers risk our lives for one of God’s people? I hope we would—we certainly should. That’s the kind of love and courage David had.
So when Goliath menaced Israel’s army, young David told Saul, “The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine” (verse 37). Goliath may have been the biggest man to ever walk the Earth. He was a trained warrior, covered in impressive armor. David knew this was a most dangerous situation. He was not playing games. He recognized that lives were at stake; he was not naive about that. But notice how he said that. He knew God had won those battles with the lion and the bear, not himself, and he never forgot that.
A God in Israel
Notice how David spoke to Goliath: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45-46).
What an earthshaking example of David’s faith! What mind-staggering power in a young David who believed the living God!
Can you imagine how this example is going to encourage and inspire the people of this world when they get to know God?
Do you see how we can impact the world today with this kind of faith in the living God?
David was motivated to fight Goliath so that all the Earth may know there is a God in Israel!
David was motivated to show the whole world that the God of Israel lives—He is alive and wants to fight for each one of us!
David wasn’t trying to become some great general; that wasn’t his motive at all. He was blessed by God, and he wanted all Israel and all the Gentiles to know that God lived!
Oh how Britain, America and Judah need to hear that message today! They need to know that there’s a God in Israel! They need to know that there’s a God in this Church—a living God who is telling them what is wrong with their land, their people and their government! They need to know!
“And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands” (verse 47). David was just a young man who believed God, and God was dynamically alive to him. What a difference that makes in a person’s life!
Would you ever risk your life to show this world that God lives in the pcg, in spiritual Israel? Certainly nobody in physical Israel today would do it. But this has to be our goal. We must passionately want the world to know that the living God is in the pcg. The living God is here, and He wants the whole world to know that! David was a man after His own heart, so he thought just like God in that respect.
Do you think maybe Goliath was shaken by this talk? I think he was. He’d never heard anything like this! He had to stop and think, Well, he certainly has confidence. He’s a gutsy little guy. I’m sure it unnerved him. He’d heard stories about the God of Israel.
When David went to fight, he picked up five stones, not just one. One would have done the job, but David had to do his part. He didn’t just stand there and say, I’m going to pray that God takes care of you. No, he said, “I’m going to kill you by God’s power!” He had to go out there and let God’s power work through him. He had five stones, but he said, “The battle is the Lord’s.”
Today God rules spiritual Israel, or His very elect Church, and we do things somewhat differently. We can and do slay giant problems because of our faith in the living God. But we never kill anybody!
Our six-year court case with the Worldwide Church of God is a prime example. (Request a free copy of our large book Raising the Ruins for a full understanding. We had to successfully win the court battle to even do God’s Work today.)
What problem are you facing that you can’t handle? No matter how gigantic it is, there is no problem you can’t handle if you face it the way David did. We can conquer anything if the battle is the Eternal’s! But if we don’t have this living God in our lives, we’re not going to conquer like we should. We need all of this power that David had in order to win. Trust God and face your problems in faith, and God will deliver you. Beyond that, He will ultimately use you like He is going to use King David as a king in the World Tomorrow!
This is not just a nice slogan or a cute formula: I’m talking about having faith in the living God—trusting God to do great things in your life! He has promised to do that—and He cannot lie! (Titus 1:2).
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He wants a whole Church full of Davids! This is the Church of the living God! We host a college of the living God, and youth camps of the living God, and congregations of the living God! Our publications are of the living God! God established all those things. He’s alive! And oh, how we are blessed because of that! We in God’s Church today really need to think like David.
How did David express it? “For thou art my hope, O Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth” (Psalm 71:5). Believing God was something David was demonstrating before Goliath, before the lion, before the bear, back in his early teens. “O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works” (verse 17).
God is a magnificent, powerful, wonderful, loving God! Can we declare His wondrous works even from our youth? God wants His people—even young people—to stand up and say so with their lives today! And show the world by deeds that God really is that way!
Do you expect God to work miracles in your life? It’s up to you. Your life ahead is what you make it, and what God makes it through you.
We must always remain humble, of course. David’s faith in God helped him realize just who he was and helped him never get proud or vain. But with faith, nothing could stop God from doing awesome things in his life!
David knew he was a king, and he thought like one, and he fought like one. He was quite a king even before he became king!
David displayed amazing faith and courage here. He personally stepped up and killed the giant who brought such a reproach on Israel.
God later replaced Saul’s weak leadership with David’s faith-filled leadership. And as we will see, with that change in government came a giant transformation in Israel and its military.
You will see the impact one leader can have on his nation and the world when he believes the living God!
David on the Run
Soon after David killed Goliath, Saul became very jealous of the young man. He allowed the devil to influence him heavily—to the point where he wanted to kill David.
Samuel had anointed David, and I’m sure seeing David running for protection from the king of Israel had to be one of the most painful experiences of his life! What a spectacle that was to the world.
David had to wait over 17 years from the time Samuel anointed him before he was actually crowned. That took a lot of patience. David had the right attitude, but he needed more preparation. God made him wait for years. He often works that way with people.
God’s saints are experiencing something like this today. God has chosen you to share His throne in the future! But you have to wait until God is ready, and you must prepare to be able to rule. However, never forget this awesome truth:God has already called you. But He wants to choose and prepare you to be a king and priest forever, if you will submit to His rule. God says in James 2:5 that He chooses the poor of the world, rich in faith. That’s what God wants you to be! Even if you are a sheepherder now, don’t worry about that.
God worked with David during those years on the run. It’s interesting that a big part of David’s training for his role as king was running from Saul! Here was the man who had already been anointed to be king, running for his life! God allowed this to happen. Spiritually, David was being fitted for his calling by learning how to depend on God constantly. He was sorely tested before he became king. God was preparing him to rule! He brought a large group of fugitives who began following David around. Leading those people in such trying conditions was tremendous experience for the future king. As Saul’s persecution increased, David and his followers really learned to depend on God. David wrote psalms about some of these harrowing experiences, and they are some of the most inspiring psalms you’ll ever read because he always went back and praised God for delivering him.
One major reason why David had such power sprang from his attitude toward the office of God. 1 Samuel 24 records the incident where he had the opportunity to kill Saul, and instead he cut off a piece of his skirt. As soon as he did that, it says that “David’s heart smote him” (verse 5). His heart began to pound as he realized, Something’s not right here. I’m breaking the spirit of God’s law. David told his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord” (verse 6). This was God’s man! It wasn’t just a man—it was God’s anointed! Again—God was really alive to David! He knew that if he raised his hand against God’s anointed, he would have God to deal with! What loyalty David showed to Saul—or really, to God.
David never attacked Saul; his faith kept him from this great mistake. That in itself was quite an accomplishment. David could have taunted Saul by saying, I’m in line to get your office. You’re finished; you’re history. But he loved Saul greatly, which is amazing after all he went through! That is why God loved David greatly—because he always brought God into the picture.
David’s men believed God had delivered Saul right into David’s hand. In a sense, that was true: God did deliver him right into his hand, but not for the reason they thought: God wanted to know what the next king of Israel would do! He was training him to be the king of Israel forever! So He tested David to the limit, and David said, No! I’ll not touch him. That really impressed God.
For 13 years Saul hunted David like an animal. Yet David maintained that marvelous spiritual perspective: “And David said … Destroy him [Saul] not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless? David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed …” (1 Samuel 26:9-11). In this case, all David would have had to do is say nothing, and Saul would have been dead. His men were just begging David to let them kill him, and David said no.
God approved of Saul being made the king of Israel. David knew that he would not be king until God removed Saul. David learned deeply that it was God’s responsibility to do that—not his!
God was teaching David the supreme lesson of government. As Mr. Armstrong said, “Government is everything”!
Before we can ever be in God’s Kingdom, we must learn this profound lesson.
It really does get down to government, and how we look upon God’s rule. When the Worldwide Church of God went off track after Mr. Armstrong died, I strived to maintain the same attitude. I never raised my hand against those corrupt Church leaders. I didn’t try to kick them off their “throne”—I simply did the Work of God after He moved the lamp, as He commanded. Even in printing Mystery of the Ages, all we were ever trying to do was do the Work, and they were trying to stop it! But God had moved the lamp with Malachi’s Message. When the lamp goes, you have to go. You had better know where it is, or you are left in the thick darkness of this world.
David also used that time to train those men to be competent fighters, to endure hardship, to be bold and daring in fighting for God. These lessons all proved invaluable both to David and to his men later in helping to rout Israel’s enemies and to establish the kingdom.
David remained loyal to Saul even after Saul was dead! After all those trials, a man came to David claiming that he had killed Saul. I don’t believe he did; it was pretty obvious he was lying. But David had that man killed (2 Samuel 1:13-16). There was treachery toward the office of God, and he wanted all Israel to know that you don’t act treacherously toward that office! Of course, David was thinking about more than Saul: He was just getting established in his office. But he still loved Saul and respected his memory, and was establishing the rule of God in Israel.
It took some time for the nation to recover from the instability brought about by Saul’s corrupt rule. Saul’s general crowned Saul’s son Ishbosheth king, essentially declaring a civil war. The war between David’s government and that of the house of Saul went on for a long time (2 Samuel 3:1). It was a lawless period, and David had to get control. When two men assassinated Ishbosheth, thinking they were doing David a service, David sent a strong message by having them killed and their hands and feet cut off and hung up over the pool in Hebron (2 Samuel 4:12).
David began to build some fear into the Israelites so that they might hear and fear the law of God, the government of God. As a result, God came alive to those people!
Remember, David was dealing with people who did not have God’s Holy Spirit. Carnal-minded people have to be dealt with differently.
Consult With God
God had great plans for David. One of the greatest of these, as we will see, was that David would prepare to build God a fabulous house in Jerusalem. But before he could participate in such an exalted project, God had to try and test him, and the king had to learn some important lessons.
The Israelites had lost the ark of the covenant during the days of Saul—the most shameful thing that could happen to them. It certainly revealed the state of their relationship with God. David wanted to bring the ark into Jerusalem. This was a good desire, but he didn’t go about it the right way. He did not consult with the ministry, or the Levites; he consulted with the political leaders (2 Samuel 6:1). You can see how he rallied the people behind this project in 1 Chronicles 13:2-3. All that David did and led the people to do seemed so religious. But something was terribly wrong.
As verse 4 states, “the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.” The people thought it was great, but was it right in the eyes of God?
2 Samuel 6:2 calls it “the ark of God, whose name is called by the name of the Lord of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims.” This is the great God who sits on His throne between the cherubim—and the ark was thereplicaof that throne on Earth! It represented God’s rule over carnal Israel. This was a critically important event, to say the least.
The Israelites transported the ark on a new cart (verse 3). They were playing all kinds of music; it was a festive occasion. The people were thoroughly enjoying it, until the oxen stumbled. Then something horrifying happened.
“… Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God” (verses 6-7).
That was a terrible event that certainly got Israel’s attention. What had the people done wrong? What had David done wrong?
“And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzzah: and he called the name of the place Perezuzzah to this day” (verse 8).
It appears David sulked over this for about three months. Rather than examining himself, he got upset at God (verses 9-11). So what was wrong with the way David was doing things?
First, in Exodus 25:14 and Numbers 7:9, God commands Israel that the ark be transported on the shoulders using poles—not in a new cart. Numbers 4:15 states that only the sons of Levi were to transport it that way. David apparently hadn’t even consulted them—which was a big mistake. Third, Numbers 4:15 instructs that, of the Levites, only the line of Aaron could touch the ark or any holy thing. The law made it clear what should be done. Anybody who knew much about it could have told David. When we obey God, we have to do it the way He says—in the order He says do it. They didn’t do that.
Was God harsh for striking Uzzah dead just because they made a mistake? We must look at this from God’s perspective. It was a terrible mistake they should not have made. If David was going to build God a house for that ark, he would have to be able to follow God’s instructions in detail. God was training David to rule forever over all of Israel! God is also preparing you to rule forever. Perhaps you do not always understand what God is doing in your life, but He is preparing you to rule forever.
Worship God in ‘Due Order’
After three months, David had realized what he had done wrong and was ready to try moving the ark again. 1 Chronicles 15:2 records: “Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.”
Much like today, we have to counsel before doing many things. We have to consult God’s Word on every detail of our lives. It’s not good enough to just worship God. We have to do it His way. Jesus Christ asked, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Many people want to be religious, and they talk about the Lord all the time, but they won’t do what God says! God deals with them accordingly.
The Laodiceans have their way to worship God, but they’re not worshiping God in spirit and truth. That is as easy to prove as it is to prove that David was wrong in how he first moved the ark.
“For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order” (1 Chronicles 15:13). David had really learned something valuable. It is amazing how he repented. He emphasized everything being done in “due order.” Get God’s order right and forget about human reasoning. David truly feared God, and wanted to do this exactly the way God designed it to be done.
We are going to rule the entire universe, which seems endless to astronomers. Imagine if God gives you jurisdiction over a part of the universe and you make gross mistakes because you are sloppy with God’s law and instructions. Soon you would wreck things just as Lucifer did. God is giving us a heavy responsibility!
Scripture records how David appointed Levites just to thank and praise God according to God’s Word (1 Chronicles 16:4). He wrote psalms extolling God’s wondrous works, and publicizing God’s deeds as much as possible (Psalms 96, 105, 106). When I read passages like this closely, I realize I need to repent and thank and praise God more! We too should let God’s deeds be known among His Church! Let people know when God heals or performs some other miracle. Make sure they know what God is doing! David talked about worshiping God “in the beauty of holiness” (1 Chronicles 16:29). What a beautiful expression! How beautiful it is to be holy. How beautiful is a holy church, a holy marriage, a holy family or holy unity—and how ugly is divorce and division and hatred and fighting! We are here to be born into God’s Family and become holy as God is holy.
Having learned this lesson, David was ready to consider building a more permanent structure for the ark.
Ready to Build
A pivotal chapter in the former prophets is 2 Samuel 7. It contains God’s prophecy about the endless throne of David.
Look how this chapter begins: “And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies; That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee” (verses 1-3). David had this beautiful palace. Suddenly, though, his heart smote him, and he said, What am I doing? I have this nice house, but we don’t have a house for God and the ark! So he devised this plan to build a house of God. This was King David’s focus: What great thing can I do for God? That shows real spiritual conversion.
David was inspired to build God a house. He didn’t get to build that house, but he surely prepared for it. And God gave him a son who did build that magnificent edifice. But God prepared David to play a huge part in the building.
For David to be able to serve in preparing for that house, however, he had to be sorely tried. Think about David’s trials! To gain an attitude like this man had, we have to be tried and tested. We are flawed and must be corrected to build the character that God so mercifully and lovingly works with us to produce.
Here in this end time, we were able to build a house for God—a house for the God of David and of Samuel! We had some particularly serious trials before we decided to build God a house. God does things in “due order.” I believe that is how God was preparing us to build His house and glorify Him!
To build a house for the living God is a monumental undertaking! God allowed us to have such an honor so we could get our minds more on what He is doing and what He is all about.
The purpose of God’s house is to glorify God all over the world! Look what David says later in this chapter: “And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee” (verse 26). One translation of the parallel account in 1 Chronicles 17:24 reads, “Let it be even established that your name may be magnified forever.” We are here to magnify the name of God forever! We have to be continually praying that we live His way.
God wouldn’t let David build that house because of his bloody history; He did not want His house to be associated with bloodshed. But when God told David He would use his son for the actual building of the temple, how did David respond? “Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” (2 Samuel 7:18). David did not sulk about this. He felt honored—of all the millions of people—to have the part he did in building for the great God!
We must have the same attitude. Who am I to be here in God’s only Church on this entire planet? How can I be so blessed when all these billions of people don’t know anything about God? Who am I to have this honor?
When was the last time you thanked God for that? When was the last time you thanked God the way David did? To be here, knowing everything about God we need to know, and to be honored to build His house on Earth—the only one there will be before Christ returns. Who are we to be given that opportunity?
King David institutionalized praise for God. Throughout his long life, David had grown to love God deeply. He knew of God’s great love for mankind. He knew that men should praise God because of all of His “wonderful works” (Psalm 107). David was dazzled by God. We all need to develop that same mindset. Consider who God is and the opportunities He is extending to you, and ask yourself, Who am I? Who am I to be in God’s Church? Who am I to be doing a Work for God? Who am I to represent the living God? Why should we be so privileged and honored? With billions of people out there, why us? See beyond the present problems—see this indescribable blessing God has given you! As long as we have that attitude, God is going to bless us day after day after day!
Like us, David had many faults—many even recorded in the Bible. He was human, after all (Psalm 25:7). But God never gave up on him, and He will never give up on you—as long as you never give up on Him!
A Throne Established Forever
Even though God didn’t allow David to build Him a house, He was very pleased with David’s desire to do so. And He made a phenomenal promise to this man after His own heart: “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13). God established David’s throne to last forever!
The Cambridge Bible Dictionary and basically all other Bible commentaries say that Judah’s monarchy fell when the first temple was destroyed. They know that contradicts what God promised in 2 Samuel 7. God said David’s throne would continue forever! But they say the monarchy died with Zedekiah. Who is wrong here? If these Bible scholars did a little more Bible study, they would see that God never lies, that He never fails, and that He can bring miraculous things to pass. But these scholars put their own human reasoning above God’s promises!
Herbert W. Armstrong just believed what the Bible says and submitted himself to that. God revealed to him what happened to the throne of David. The United States and Britain in Prophecy explains how God kept His promise. Six million copies of that book have been mailed out. Yet the scholars still cling to their ideas despite all kinds of biblical and secular evidence proving they are wrong and God is right!
When commentaries say the monarchy ended with Zedekiah, they are calling God a liar! Here is a clear prophecy from the living God that David’s throne would be established forever! An understanding of David’s throne unlocks eternity!
Notice this prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” In God’s coming Kingdom, Christ is going to rule from the throne of David forever. The responsibility for administering God’s government will be placed on His shoulder. And that government—the same government that has already been restored to the Church of God—is going to increase forever! It will direct God’s Work in the universe. That same government taught by Mr. Armstrong will extend throughout all eternity!
Without this government, we have no future. But those who cling to this government will be right forever. The stakes are eternal—forever! We must understand this eternal government.
Christ is going to rule from the throne of David—that throne is on Earth today. One of the gloomiest failures of America and Britain is that they understand almost nothing about that throne. Our pitiful, degenerate nations have a dark, bleak future unless they grasp their future majesty revolving around David’s throne. That throne is the small beginning of eternal splendor in God’s Family!
A Family Throne
In 2 Samuel 7:13, the word house means dwelling and would be better translated as family. God is establishing a family throne forever.
The next verse reinforces this truth even more: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (verse 14). God told David that He would be a Father to Solomon. Solomon would be His son. This is the God Family throne—the God Family rule. God’s royal kings are to be leaders in the Family of God. Solomon was a king, but he was also God the Father’s son! God will have no kings who are not His sons—His Family.
This is a prophecy of God’s Family in the World Tomorrow. We are to be one as the Father and Son are one—and have been for all eternity (John 17). OnlyGod’s government has ever worked! And it has worked forever! By contrast, man’s government has never worked successfully.
The books of Samuel and Kings really demonstrate what a spiritual catastrophe it is if you wreck the family.
God’s Laodicean Church does not honor God as a Father (Malachi 1:6). If it did, all of God’s people would be united today. The Father is the Head. God’s Family, like any stable family, must have loving government.
That is the towering difference between a false church and God’s Church. No man is going to lead God’s Church, which is the Father’s Family. He reserves that prerogative only for Himself.
2 Samuel 7:14 continues, “If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.” A king or leader of God’s Church might weaken and think he is above the law. God promises that He will correct His leaders “with the rod of men” of this world. Members of God’s true Work should know by faith that their ministers—even the most exalted ministers—will be corrected! God is a Father who lovingly “spanks” His leaders who commit iniquity. That is an unbreakable promise from God!
God says, I want everybody in my Family involved in this hopeful message! I want it to be built into their very character from when they’re little babies right on up to adulthood. If we are taught these things, over the years it begins to become part of us, and we take on this righteous, godly nature. God is preparing us for eternal life!
God’s Family Government
God’s most precious gift to man is His family government. If you study the subject of David’s throne carefully, you will see that God is building Father-son relationships with His Spirit-begotten children today. He is building His Family. If we repent now, we have the unparalleled opportunity to share God’s throne forever!
The majesty of 2 Samuel 7:14 becomes more vivid when we see how it is used in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul quotes this verse in the first chapter of Hebrews: “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?” (Hebrews 1:5). The context of this verse shows God talking to Jesus Christ. But the King James Bible reference relates that the last half of this verse is cited from 2 Samuel 7:14, where the son being referred to was King Solomon—an ordinary man like you and me! Some commentaries, like the Anglican Bible Commentary, draw the same connection.
This is all about family! God keeps emphasizing that we have a Father-son relationship with Him—just like Christ Himself has! Do we understand what this passage is teaching? It shows what is in God’s mind and has been throughout the ages!
This passage continues discussing the angels. If you were to see an angel in all its fiery brilliance, you would probably faint. Angels are far more powerful than human beings. But read the rest of Hebrews 1: You will see that an angel has never been called a begotten son of God. Even these magnificent spirit beings don’t have that potential! But mankind does.
God never called an angel His begotten son, but He said those words to David. He says them throughout the Bible. I will be his Father. He talked to David just as He did to Christ. We have to have this message at the heart and core of our being: God is building a Family.
One definition of the word increase in Isaiah 9:7 is “progeny, increase of a family” (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon). Is God’s Family going to increase forever? There is that possibility. Whatever the future holds beyond the Millennium, it is mind-staggering. The firstfruits will be at the top of the pyramid with God. And the pyramid will grow forever. That means our position of responsibility and authority will grow forever! We have the illustrious duty to help extend God’s love forever.
This is a prophecy about God’s loving Family. This love of God flows both ways. The Father loves His Family so much that He gave His only Son. It is a love so deep that the Son of God died for us. There is no deeper love. Now we must work to build a love where we would die for God if that is required.
We know this kind of loving government works. The Father and Son have demonstrated for all eternity how it works.
When the Church was falling apart in 1979, Mr. Armstrong called an emergency meeting and brought in all the ministers. He hammered home this message about the good news of the coming Family of God! That is the gospel: We are going to be born into God’s Family! The whole Church was nearly destroyed because the ministers had lost that vision.
Satan is trying to destroy the Family of God. He hates the fact that family was never offered to him. God never said to those brilliant, powerful angels, “You are my son, this day have I begotten you” (Hebrews 1:5).
We must understand the importance of God’s Family and this calling! Families and marriages are God-plane relationships. What could be more important than that? What could be more important than getting your marriage and your family on the God plane? It worked for Hannah, and it certainly worked for Samuel and David.
The firstfruits—those called out before Christ returns—are called to be Christ’s Bride. This is the highest calling God has for any human being! Do we grasp what it means to be a human being? A firstfruit? This is what God has been trying to teach man from the beginning.
The human family is a type of the God Family. Family is a God-plane relationship. This institution was created to bring us into the God Family. That has never been the potential for the powerful, majestic angels.
“And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16). God repeatedly says that David’s throne will be established forever. The key of David, spoken of in Isaiah 22 and Revelation 3, unlocks glorious eternity!
A reference in the King James Bible indicates that we should compare 2 Samuel 7:16 with Luke 1:31-33: “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” The Anglican Bible Commentary also states that these verses are mainly a quote from 2 Samuel 7:16. Here we see David’s throne mentioned again. This “throne” has remained on Earth through the centuries. It is a throne from which Christ is to rule forever. There is to be no end.
This throne belongs to the Son of “the Highest,” which is God the Father. It is a royal family throne. God is building a family government that will rule the universe forever! The space and time are staggering: the universe and forever!
We see how God’s government will be administered during the Millennium. But this vision reaches into eternity. That means we also see how the universe will be ruled forever!
Why God Tested David
Common sense should tell us that sharing that throne will require some difficult qualifying. Extensive training and fiery trials are necessary.
2 Samuel 11 records David committing adultery with Bathsheba. I’m sure Bathsheba played her part in that; she did tempt David, and I believe she knew what she was doing. But David didn’t stop with the adultery—he made the problem even worse by murdering Uriah. These sins became exposed to the whole nation and to the world; we still read about them to this day. They were terrible sins, and David really had to pay for them. God told David that the sword would never depart from his house (2 Samuel 12:10).
David never blamed Bathsheba. As far as I can see in the Bible, David never once justified himself. He just said, Oh, what a sinner I am! Did he ever know how to repent. If you want to learn how to repent, go to David.
After he committed the sin with Bathsheba, David experienced terrible curses in his family. He had several children by different mothers, and I’m sure he couldn’t take care of them all. His firstborn son, Amnon, raped his half-sister. Another son, Absalom, took revenge by killing Amnon. Later Absalom led a revolt to steal the throne from David.
When David did sin, his own people attacked him—and he just put up with it. There is the incident with Shimei, who was cursing him, and one of his men wanted to kill the man. David said, Oh, leave him alone. Maybe God will count it good for me that I deal with his cursing. David felt that he probably deserved what the man was saying about him (2 Samuel 16).
David had some serious trials—some of the toughest of just about anybody in the Bible! I’m sure at times he wished he could go back to the simple life of looking after sheep! Under God’s watchful eye, David experienced a lot of trying and testing. We must never forget that he was being prepared and trained to rule over Israel forever!
We have been chosen to build God’s vision in our minds. We must learn to think and act as God does.
Being a leader—a king, a minister—is not an easy job. Those in high office need support and help from the people they lead.
God tested David to where He could finally know and absolutely never doubt that David would stick with God’s way and His government even if it meant giving up his own life!
That is the same attitude we need. The last warning to the Philadelphia era of God’s Church is to let no man take your crown—your throne (Revelation 3:11). After that comes the Laodicean rebellion in the last era of the Church, the time we are in today (verses 14-19). God then explains what we must do to qualify for our throne. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (verse 20). First, the faithful remnant of Philadelphians must knock and warn the Laodiceans. This is how we put God first. His Work is more important than our lives.
The reward for that effort is astronomical: We get to share Christ’s throne! “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne” (verse 21). Notice that Christ discusses His Father. We are going to be part of God’s family rule. Only sons of God will be there. We shall be in the holy of holies, ruling with God. We shall be there because we are Christ’s Bride—the highest level of God’s Family available to human beings!
Once Christ returns, no human being will ever again, for all eternity, have the opportunity to be a part of Christ’s Bride!
This is why we warn our beloved Laodicean family! Fifty percent of them are going to lose this reward (Matthew 25:1-10). The other 50 percent will lose a large portion of their reward unless they repent before the Tribulation.
This is all about the Father’s throne, Christ’s throne, and your throne—God’s royal family government. This is about God’s only Bride forever!
Surely we can see why we must be individuals who overcome. The vision of this magnificent future is why so many of the great men and women of the Bible were willing to die for God.
God Multiplies Our Numbers
When King David was 67 years old, just three years before he died, he got into some serious trouble, and he learned a big lesson.
Satan was well aware of how God was preparing David, and that God had exalted plans for this man. The devil took every opportunity he could to attack the king. At this time, “Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel” (1 Chronicles 21:1; see also 2 Samuel 24:1). Satan hated that family throne. He didn’t want to see God’s house constructed. He was passionately against what God wanted to accomplish with David! And David was human, as we all are.
Satan moved David to get his mind on the armies and how many they had, and how powerful they were. David ordered this census, which was a faithless act.
Notice what Joab told him: “Now the Lord thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing?” (2 Samuel 24:3). This was wonderful advice: Look David, what difference does it make about the army or how many people we have in Israel?
Does it make a difference how many are in God’s Church? We don’t need to look to human beings! God has infinitely more power. Even Joab could see that. When God showed us we were to build Him a house, we didn’t first take a census of this little Church to see whether it was feasible. Otherwise, we would have said there is no way we can do it. If we look to God, our numbers will be a hundredfold more powerful.
David insisted that the census be taken, and God was very angry. He disciplined David again, bringing a mighty plague on the nation. Seventy thousand people died (verse 15). We must understand how displeased God was. Was God cruel to kill 70,000 Israelites—out of about 7 million—because of what David did? God got His message across. He also has a strong message for the people of Israel today—and they are not going to like that, either.
This was a terrible punishment for a big sin before all the people. But something truly inspiring happened here.
David repented mightily again. “And Gad came that day to David, and said unto him, Go up, rear an altar unto the Lord in the threshingfloor of Araunah the Jebusite” (verse 18). When David offered to buy this piece of land from Araunah, the man said the king could have it, along with whatever he needed for the sacrifice, for whatever he wanted to pay (verses 20-23). This man loved his king!
David refused to take the land for nothing. “And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing” (verse 24). David realized he had sinned. He wanted to give an offering to God and for God to know there was some sacrifice in it. It wasn’t something he could easily give. He wouldn’t take the land for nothing, which was a good attitude to have at such a time.
“And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel” (verse 25). God halted the plague when David reared up an altar in Jerusalem and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.
David was preparing for the temple shortly after this, and the location of this altar ended up being the exact location of the holy place in the temple! God gave him this special honor. So even though there was a lot of suffering, David turned this into good news. What an inspiring ending.
1 Chronicles 22 records the tremendous preparations David put into building God’s house. Now his mind was focused. Counting the nation was not the way to prepare to build God’s house. Here, David realized how to prepare. “And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight; Also cedar trees in abundance: for the Zidonians and they of Tyre brought much cedar wood to David. And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death” (verses 3-5).
We can call it “Solomon’s temple,” but that magnificent building was mainly the result of what David did.
Think of how David had to prepare to make a building so magnificent that it would be famous throughout the whole world. That is what happened. Everybody all over the Earth was impressed by the greatest structure ever built! King David gave up practically all his wealth because he really wanted that for God. And he wouldn’t even live to see God glorified by it!
To build something like this, everybody must have a giving attitude—not one of, what am I going to get out of this? We must do it because we want to give and because we love God and want to glorify Him. It is a towering act that God’s people have to do! We must have the attitude that says, I want to show the world the best I possibly can how GREAT God is! I want everybody to know what I know about God! I want EVERYBODY to understand what an incredible potential they have if they stop rebelling! We must get to know God deeply and want, with all our might like David, for everybody to know the God who dwells in the northern heavens!
God had to try David excruciatingly hard to get him to focus properly on his part in building the temple. What a majestic demonstration of character David was for all of us.
But David didn’t just prepare financially. He also set up the course of priests to serve around the ark, as they would once the temple was finished. Twice a day, he had the Levites thank and praise God. He institutionalized this to show people how wonderful God is—to help them get to know Him deeply and have Him guide them in their spiritual lives (1 Chronicles 25:1). These men were to prophesy in psalms. David wrote the majority of them, and many of them are prophetic. We, too, prophesy in God’s house—in psalms and in other ways.
David said, “Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house” (1 Chronicles 29:3). David had planned to give a certain amount, but when he really set his affection on it, he went far above what he had planned to give! God was stirring him up more and more, and he wanted to give more and more with all his might. Everybody else caught the same spirit too (verses 4-6).
“And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents …. And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite. Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy” (verses 7-9).
The Israelites probably gave more here than they ever had in their lives. And they were rejoicing all the more because of that! They were totally given over to God, as much as carnal minds could be, at least. That is what giving can do even to the carnal mind—it fills people with joy and rejoicing because they are giving. Isn’t that the law of God? The more you live the give way of life, the happier you become—whether it is of yourself, or your money, or anything else (Acts 20:35).
“Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever. Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee” (1 Chronicles 29:10-14).
They were really sacrificing. David spoke for all of them when he asked, God, who are we to be here and to be able to sacrifice for this AWESOME house for you? Who are we to be honored to be given this opportunity?
We should all be asking ourselves these questions today. What an unparalleled honor God is giving us.
Here is an event from near the end of David’s reign as Israel’s king: “Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint” (2 Samuel 21:15). At this point, David was an old man.
Among this Philistine army was a whole mob of giants like Goliath! “And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David” (verse 16). Notice what happened in the face of this threat: “But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel” (verse 17).
David’s men wanted to protect David in order to ensure that “the light of Israel” would not be quenched. What a superb attitude! These men could have defected from David, calling him an adulterer and a murderer. But instead, they were sterling examples of virtue and loyalty.
To some degree, we will all be under King David in the World Tomorrow, so we need to cultivate this same spirit!
Those men knew God was behind David. They knew that following David was the key to Israel’s success.
What a difference it makes when God is working through a man to lead His people and the people simply follow that man!
David set a wonderful example of trusting in God, and he inspired others to do the same. We should be striving with all our being to attain David’s spiritual stature.
These soldiers under David were valiant—a stark contrast to what they had been under Saul’s leadership. “And it came to pass after this, that there was again a battle with the Philistines at Gob: then Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Saph, which was of the sons of the giant” (verse 18). Sibbechai was yet another giant-killer cast in David’s mold.
“And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam” (verse 19). Elhanan too followed in David’s giant-slaying footsteps.
“And there was yet a battle in Gath, where was a man of great stature, that had on every hand six fingers, and on every foot six toes, four and twenty in number; and he also was born to the giant. And when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea the brother of David slew him. These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants” (verses 20-22).
Why did Israel become so great under David? These men wanted to do all they could to help their king. They killed giants just as David did! This faithful attitude came from David right on down through his generals.
This is how we can become the greatest possible Church!
This wonderful example demonstrates the unity of command God wants His Church to have.
Each one of us should ask ourselves how much we possess this attitude. Would you stand up and fight the way these men did? Will you unify around God’s leader today the way those men rallied around David?
Remember these examples. Follow the faith of the man God is using to lead spiritual Israel. Don’t follow the man.
We all need to be giant-killers! God makes that possible for every one of us. That is how the Body of Christ will become powerful and accomplish amazing things!
This example of David’s army of giant-killers represents the epitome of God’s government! These men weren’t afraid—they didn’t run from giants. What changed from the cowardice and timidity they displayed under Saul? What made the difference? They followed David’s example of faith! And in so doing, they grew in their love for God.
It’s not enough that David be great. Everybody under him must be great! That is what is required if we are to have a great Church. There can be no breakdown in any link.
God’s Church needs to understand this truth better than it does today. This towering lesson in government is what will help us finish the Work with real strength!
David’s Last Words
“Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Samuel 23:1-3). These are the last words of the sweet psalmist of Israel. God spoke through this great man. David learned many lessons and wanted to impart them before he died.
The government of God “must be just, ruling in the fear of God”! (verse 3). We see many examples of devastating failure. But David wanted us to see the fabulous fruits of God’s government of love. So he illustrated what it is like when a ruler submits to God. “And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain” (verse 4). God’s loving government is like the morning when the sun rises in a cloudless sky. It’s like the tender grass springing beneath a brilliant sun after a pleasant rain. Read these verses in the Revised Standard Version. There is no greater poetry in the Bible about God’s loving government.
David is going to rule over all Israel because he learned how to rule and be ruled within the government of the living God. We must learn not only to submit to God’s government, but also to love it as David did.
I would not like to live under the government of most people. They don’t understand God’s loving family rule. But to have God’s government, and then reject it, is the greatest possible catastrophe! This is exactly what the Laodiceans have done. Most of God’s own people have been deceived about God’s family government. They don’t even understand how the devil has deceived them.
Mr. Armstrong once said, “The restoration of God’s government is uppermost in God’s mind. Is it in yours?”
“Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow” (verse 5). How can anyone say these books are not prophetic? God made a covenant with David that lasts for all eternity! David learned how to implement God’s government. That rule will solve all the problems in this world.
When we think of David today, we tend to think of him as a great empire-builder and giant-slayer. He certainly was that, but he was a weak man, too. He made quite a lot of mistakes that cost him dearly and weakened him for much of his kingship.
But overall, what was God’s evaluation of him? God loved David’s rule as king over Israel! So much so that He’s going to make him king over Israel forever!
The ministers’ job is to keep the people of God focused on David’s throne so they will have hope in their lives. This must not be obscure for God’s people; it has to be starkly present in their minds at all times! We have to know this key of David message God has commissioned us to deliver. We need that hope because problems are exploding in this world! If we don’t see the vision of David’s throne, we get discouraged and depressed. This vision is what propels God’s people forward!
When you talk about a throne that is going to bring about great change, that is a pivotal scripture. The entire world will pivot when we transition from the rule of Satan to the rule of God, when He will stop all the madness, suffering and misery—and it’s on the horizon right now! We really are experiencing the very last days of this age. We are so close to the rule of Jesus Christ!
David is about to rule this world. He and Christ and God’s people are going to galvanize the whole world and fill it with love, happiness, faith and joy. What a future we have! We are already kings and priests, and we will be right there, ruling with David. Then we will get to go out and help David show this world how to live, and will teach people all about the living God.
Why the House of David Is So Important
Think of the honor God has given to David. As God told him, “I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel” (2 Samuel 7:8). That is a spectacular rags-to-riches story!
Here is the promise God made to this mortal man: “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdomfor ever” (verses 12-13).
That is an eternal promise! Why does God emphasize that? Well, David is a type of all of us. He was a sinner like we all are, yet God drew him into this universe-encompassing royal vision!
The promise continues: “And thine house [the house of David] and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (verse 16). The big reason God emphasizes that throne is that He is going to sit on it! It’s His throne! God is thrilled about that. The physical kings on that throne are there to pave the way up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when He will use that throne to unite the world, filling the Earth with blessings and happiness.
You are going to be kings and priests and rule with Christ forever if you are in that spiritual house of David today. God has a spiritual line of David that will produce the kings to sit on the throne forever! God wants us to get our minds on ruling on the throne of David forever! That is something to get excited about! It truly should make us hyper!
Notice how David responded to receiving this promise from God: “Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” (verse 18).
David made some serious mistakes, but he repented deeply, perhaps like no one else in the Bible! And he held on to this beautifully humble attitude: Who am I? Who am I to be a part of all of this? Even when Saul was chasing him down and trying to kill him, David thought, Who am I to be the son-in-law to the king? He knew about the house of David and the future of that throne of David. He realized what God was doing with his name. And he said, What is my house that you would exalt my house that way? Why would you do that for me, a lowly rebel who sinned mightily in Israel? He surely knew how to repent and turn it all around. He had to understand then how God exalted his house.
We have to ask ourselves, do I really love God’s law and want to do all His will—everything that God says? Do I really have the attitude David had? Am I really someone after God’s own heart?
Here are nine points on why our being in the spiritual house of David is so important:
1) It helps us realize more deeply who we are and will be for all eternity.
2) It raises our spiritual standard. David was a man after God’s own heart, and that is the standard we should strive for as well.
3) It strengthens our faith. We are constantly reminded of how God’s promises were fulfilled and continue to be fulfilled.
4) It encourages us because we are in the same spiritual house as Christ and David.
5) It impresses on our minds the essential need for our trials and tests.
6) This understanding gives us a built-in vision. We are spiritual Jews (e.g. Romans 2:29).
7) The house of David gives us a built-in overview of God’s plan.
8) It helps us keep our endless glory in our minds. It illuminates the royal and noble calling God has given us.
9) It sharpens our focus on our future reward.
The deeper we learn this lesson about the house of David, the more meaningful these points will become to us!