The result of David and Jesus’ missions to save the captives was the same—complete victory.
David, the Lord’s anointed king-elect, lived for a time in a way unfit for a king: hiding out in caves, foraging for food, and risking his life by pretending to be a traitor while living among his nation’s enemies (1 Samuel 27). King Saul was losing his grip—politically, emotionally, and spiritually.
David’s rescue mission
David, meanwhile, seemed prepared to do the unthinkable—to show his allegiance to the Philistine king of Gath by joining him in battle against Israel. But instead King Achish sent David and his men home. They returned to their home base, the town of Ziklag (1 Samuel 29).
When they arrived home they found a scene that made their hearts sink. A raiding party had burned their town and taken their wives and children captive. Bitter tears were shed. Bitter feelings overtook David’s men. Mutiny was afoot. David turned his heart and hope to the Lord for strength and guidance. Inquiring of the Lord through Abiathar the priest, he received confirmation that he should pursue the captors and would have success.
And so he did. The rescue mission was a total victory. All the scared and helpless captives were recovered and reunited with their husbands and fathers.
Our Savior’s redeeming work
We are wise to proceed with caution when making messianic comparisons between the life of David and his greater Son, Jesus. We don’t take every word and action of David to be exact parallels or direct foreshadowing of the Savior’s words and actions. Yet perhaps we are reminded, especially during Holy Week and Easter, of some similarities.
David wept to the point of exhaustion when his home was destroyed and his loved ones were taken captive. Deep grief and compassion overwhelmed his heart. We might see a faint glimpse into the heart of Jesus. What grief the Son of God felt to see the world he created marred by sin and death, hate and violence! We hear it in his lament over Jerusalem and its wayward ways (Matthew 23:37). He would stop at nothing to redeem a fallen creation. And stop at nothing he did.
The result of David and Jesus’ missions was the same—complete victory. The manner of warfare was much different. Jesus actually took the place of the captive ones, submitting himself to the punishment they deserved to set them free from sin’s condemnation. He triumphantly rose from the dead, proof positive that his fierce and long warfare with Satan’s attacks and his supreme sacrifice under God’s justice was sufficient for every one of those held captive. He has redeemed us, reconciled us to his Father, rescued us from the dominion of darkness, and brought us into his kingdom (Colossians 1:13-20). We are free, now and forever, from sin, death, and the devil—our captors. We are restored to the God of love by the God of love, the Lord‘s Anointed, great David’s much greater Son.
For further thought:
- What do you think about the way David treated his exhausted men who didn’t join the fight (1 Samuel 30)? Compare his attitude with the gracious attitude of our Savior who fought alone for those who were utterly unable to join in his fight. What comfort does it give you?
- Read David’s Psalm 16 and Acts 2:22-32 in the light of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. How did Jesus show himself to be David’s greater Son?
This is the fourth article in a six-part series on King David and our future King.
Author: Timothy Westendorf
Volume 109, Number 04
Issue: April 2022