In an amazing way, David himself teaches us about the Messiah.
“Hail to the Lord’s anointed, great David’s greater Son!” the Epiphany hymn begins (Christian Worship 384). Who is David, and who is his “greater Son”? And why should we hail him as somebody of importance now?
David and the fulfillment of his prophecies
During the next few months, we’ll look at the life of David, who rose from relative obscurity to become the greatest king of God’s people Israel. His victory over a giant warrior three thousand years ago is referred to by ESPN announcers when talking about underdogs. His epic fail is the subject of songs, books, and movies. More important was his relationship with the Lord. He is called a man after the Lord’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). He wrote about half the book of Psalms. We can learn so much from this man of faith and the words God has given to us through him.
But, if David were here today, he’d urge us not to stop there. He would encourage us to view his life as a helpful but still shadowy silhouette of the Son who sits forever on his throne (2 Samuel 7). He would direct us to see references in his writings to the Anointed One (Messiah/Christ) who is truly worthy of our admiration, trust, and praise—Jesus.
We just celebrated the birth of that Anointed One. In him we have the fulfillment of the pictures and promises of David. In an amazing way, David himself teaches us about the Messiah. The shepherd helps us understand the Good Shepherd. The ancient, anointed king helps us look for the anointed King. The unlikely champion gives a glimpse of the ultimate unlikely Champion. The benevolent and blessing king foreshadows the benevolent and blessing King. And what David wrote in his psalms was nothing less than divine prophecy. What would the coming King and his kingdom be like? How would he be recognized? What kind of things would he say and do? God tells us, in part, through the psalms of David.
David’s early life
So, let’s start at the beginning with the birth and early life of David.
- He was the son of Jesse from the town of Bethlehem in Judea. That sounds familiar if you attended
a Christmas service. Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus, were from the house and line of David (Matthew 1; Luke 3). The promised Messiah, God’s people were told, would be born in that town (Micah 5:2).
- As a young boy David was a shepherd. He loved and took care of his sheep. He was able to relate to the Lord as his shepherd (Psalm 23) and the Lord Jesus as his Good Shepherd (John 10).
- When King Saul proved unworthy of his office, young David was anointed to be Israel’s next king. From that day the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. To the banks of the Jordan came Jesus, baptized by John, chosen and approved by the Father and anointed with the Spirit.
- From a shepherd boy to great king, David would be honored by the people of Israel. From humble birth and humble parents to King of kings and Lord of lords, great David’s greater Son would prove himself worthy of that title, both by who he is and what he’s done.
For further thought
Read 1 Samuel 16; Psalm 8; Psalm 72; and Hebrews 2. Compare the beginnings of David with the beginnings of his greater Son, Jesus.
This is the first article in a six-part series on King David and our future King.
Author: Timothy Westendorf
Volume 109, Number 01
Issue: January 2022