Lesson 7 - David and the Kingdom of God





When Jacob blessed his sons, it was his fourth son, Judah, who received the promise of the kingdom.  We saw this in Lesson 1.  The blessing itself is found in Genesis 49:8-12


8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.


9 Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?


10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.


11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:


12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.


The first anointed King of Israel, however, was not from the tribe of Judah, but from the tribe of Benjamin.   In 1 Samuel chapter 8, the elders of Israel demand a king despite Samuel’s counsel to do otherwise.  1 Samuel chapters 9-10 describe how Saul the Benjamite is chosen to be Israel’s first king.   It is unclear why God chose Saul, who would fail miserably as king, but ultimately Saul does fail and God does reject him.  It is then that God chooses the man who will become the symbol of Israel’s kingdom, King David.  



David and Goliath


Even before David becomes king of Israel, his life is a picture of the redemption that comes through Jesus Christ.  Consider the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.  King Saul is chosen as king from among all of the peoples of Israel in order to lead them in victory against their enemies, the Philistines.  However, instead of leading them into brave victory, Saul and the rest of Israel cower in fear before a single man, Goliath.  This giant of a man was indeed formidable, but God had promised Israel that he would fight their battles for them.  There was no need for them to be afraid of Goliath.  Despite his size, the God of Israel was even bigger.  Victory should be assured.   For forty days this giant defied the armies of God, but no one stepped forward in faith to God to battle him.  Then along came David.

David was a young man, not yet old enough to join the army.  He had recently been anointed in secret by Samuel as the new king of Israel, but it would be many years before that title would be his in reality.  David could not stand by while this Philistine defied God and so he volunteered to go fight him.  David was too small for Saul’s armor and weaponry, so he went before Goliath with nothing but a sling and five small stones.  David understood that it was God who fought his battles.  Consider his words in 1 Samuel 17:45-48


45 Then said David to the Philistine, 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.


46 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.


47 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.


And that is precisely what David did.  With one stone, he brought the giant down.  He then cut off the giant’s head with Goliath’s own sword and Israel saw a great victory that day.

The story of David and Goliath is one in which many Christians often misinterpret the application.   Many Christians believe that they should identify with David.  They think that with the help of God they can take on any enemy that comes before them.  While there may be some truth to that, such is not the picture we get from the story of David and Goliath.  We are not David, striving against some great enemy with the help of God.  Rather, we are the soldiers cowering on the sidelines waiting for someone to fight our battles for us.  

David is not a picture of Christians fighting and winning great battles against greater enemies. Rather, David is a picture of Jesus fighting the ultimate battle against the ultimate enemy – Satan and Death.   We are the soldiers, facing an enemy we could never hope to defeat.  We could never take on Satan and we could never defeat death.   In fact, no one could defeat Satan and Death except God.  Then along comes Jesus.  He comes in appearance as a man – and indeed is a man – but he is also God.  Just as David, with the power of God, was able to defeat Goliath; so Jesus, because he was God, was able to defeat Satan and Death.

The story of David and Goliath reminds us that we need a champion who can fight in our place.  Jesus is that champion.  The next time you are faced with a great battle and a great enemy, do not think of yourself as David – as one who can defeat the enemy.  Rather, call on the one who has already fought and defeated the enemy for you.  Call on your champion, Jesus Christ.



The Davidic Covenant


As with his ancestors, God made a covenant with David.  And like the covenant that God made with Abraham, God’s covenant with David was unconditional. God’s covenant with David can be found in 2 Samuel 7:1-17, key portions of which are below:


12 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.


13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.


14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:


15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.


16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.


Obviously, these words have both physical, earthly meaning as well as eternal, spiritual meaning.

Being an unconditional covenant, God did precisely as he promised and established David’s kingdom. David was of the tribe of Judah and so David’s kingdom became a fulfillment of the prophesy of Jacob.  Even when David’s son Solomon sinned, God did not tear the kingdom away from him.  He divided the kingdom, tearing ten of the twelve tribes away from him, but the house of David in the tribe of Judah never perished. Furthermore, until the people of Israel completely turned away from God and were sent into exile, a descendant of David was always on the throne of Judah, but the line of Judah continued on from generation to generation.

It is because of both the prophesies of Jacob and the covenant that God made with David that the lineage of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1 is so important.  The King of Israel must be not only from the tribe of Judah, but also of the direct lineage of King David.  Jesus meets that requirement.

God made an unconditional promise to David to establish his kingdom forever, but because of their disobedience, the kingdom of Judah failed.  It is through Jesus, however, that God fulfils his promise to David.   God promises David that one of his offspring would establish his kingdom, and that God himself would be a father to that King, who would sit on the throne forever.  Jesus is that offspring.  Jesus is the Son of God. 

Jesus’ first coming was to be a suffering messiah, but he was no less a king then than he will be when he returns again.   Even Pilot, who ordered his crucifixion, acknowledged (at least in part) his kingship when he placed the title, King of the Jews, over his cross.   Jesus, however, did not consider his kingdom to be earthly at that time.  He told Pilot in John 18:36 that if his kingdom were of this earth that his servants would not have allowed him to be delivered over to Pilot.

When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he established the permanence of his kingdom.  No longer would one king die and another take his place.  King Jesus would be the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and will sit on the throne of David forever.



The Life of David


David was Israel’s first great King.  Whenever the Kingdom of Judah is mentioned, it is almost always associated with King David.   His life is iconic of everything that Israel represents.  His life, though, in many ways was a foreshadowing of the life of Christ. 

Even though David was considered a man after God’s own heart, it is impossible to draw perfect parallels between the life of David and the life of Jesus.  David was a man, born the 7th son of Jessie, and in many ways failed miserably.  Jesus was God come in the flesh, born of a virgin, and lived a perfect life.  Nevertheless, there are some interesting aspects to David’s early life that distinctly mirror the life of Jesus Christ.

David was the youngest and lowliest son of a humble man.  Because of his status in his family, he was a shepherd.  In fact, he was a good shepherd.  He courageously protected his flocks against bear and lion.  Later in his life, he became not just a shepherd of sheep, but as king he was a shepherd of the people of Israel.  Jesus was also a shepherd and referred to himself as the Good Shepherd.  As pastors, we are also under-shepherd of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ and bear a great responsibility to represent him well.

When the prophet Samuel came to the house of Jessie to anoint one of his son’s as King of Israel, David was not even invited to the meeting.  No one would have expected David to be king, not even Samuel.  God however, reminds Samuel that “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).  This is oddly similar to what the prophet Isaiah says about the Christ in Isaiah 53:2, “he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”   Despite being anointed as king, however, David did not immediately take possession of the throne as king.  Jesus likewise is the King of King and Lord of Lords and the rightful King of Israel even now, and yet he also did not immediately take the throne as king.

Like Jesus, David quickly became very popular among the people, performing many acts of valor in battle.  The people even began singing songs about David, saying “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7).  Jesus also became very popular among the people because of the many signs and miracles he performed.  It is this popularity, however, that created problems for both David and Jesus.

The Jewish leadership quickly rejected Jesus because they were jealous of his popularity with the people.  Saul also quickly rejected David because of his jealously over David’s popularity.  Saul knew that God had rejected him and was worried that David would overthrow him as king.  The Pharisees were likewise concerned over their position of authority.

As a result David spent much time wandering in the wilderness, a foreshadowing of the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness.   Saul sought to take David’s life many times, but David always escaped.  No matter how many people counseled him to kill Saul during his exile, he refused to shed the blood of God’s anointed king. Eventually, in God’s timing, Saul was brought down and killed in battle, and David’s obedience not to kill Saul was rewarded. He was able to return victoriously from the wilderness and take his place as king.  Jesus also returned victoriously from the wilderness after being obedient and resisting the temptations of Satan.

David spent many years as the most successful King of Israel, but his rule was certainly not without problem.  He may have been a man after God’s own heart, but David was still human and not divine like Christ.  David committed terrible sins including adultery and murder. As a result, David had great difficulty in the later years of his rule. 

Even this difficulty, which was partially the result of his own sin, has striking similarities to the life of Christ, drawing a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  In his later years, David’s own son Absalom rose up against him.  He stirred up the people against David, and David’s own servant, Ahithophel, betrayed David to Absalom (2 Samuel 15).   Towards the end of Jesus’ ministry, the Pharisees began to stir the people against Jesus, and it was Jesus’ own disciple, Judas, who betrayed him to the Jewish leaders.  Because of this betrayal, David had to flee Jerusalem.  The picture of David weeping as he ascends the Mount of Olives to leave Jerusalem (2 Samuel 15:30) is a striking mirror to the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, when Jesus weeps as he descends the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem.

David’s departure from Jerusalem marks of picture of the crucifixion and death of Christ.  Just as Shimei mocked and cursed David, so Jesus was mocked and cursed.  And as Absalom entered into Jerusalem and is declared King, David’s reign as king “dies” and is essentially brought to an end, mirroring the death of Christ on the cross.  Ironically, just as Judas went out and hanged himself after Christ was crucified, Ahithophel also went out and hanged himself.

But just as Christ’s death was only temporary, so was the death of David’s rule as King of Israel.  Jesus was only in the grave three days.  David was only exiled from Jerusalem and his kingdom for three days.  Absalom and the armies of Israel pursued David and his servants and fought with them in the forest (2 Samuel 18).  In a way that can only be counted as miraculous, the servants of David defeated the armies of Israel (2 Samuel 18:7).  So too is the miraculous manner in which Jesus defeated Satan.  David actually prophesies about this divine, miraculous victory in Psalm 68:18, saying “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men” – which Paul later quotes in Colossians 4:8 as being a prophecy of Jesus’ victory over Satan (for other prophesies of David, see the next section below).


There is still yet one aspect of how David’s life mirrors the life of Christ that has not yet come to fulfilment.  In 2 Samuel 19, David returns to Jerusalem after Absalom’s death as king.  Taking his seat in the city gate, the people declared “Behold, the king doth sit in the gate.”  However, not all of Israel followed him at that time.  Eventually David defeats all of his enemies and unites all of Israel.  All Israel then acknowledges him as king.  Thus he died in peace.  There are still many Jews today who do not yet recognize Jesus as their king.  One day, however, Jesus will return to Jerusalem – not as the Suffering Messiah, but the Conquering King.  On that day, all the enemies of God will be defeated, and as Paul says in Romans 11:26, so all Israel will be saved.



David’s Prophecies of Jesus


We do not always consider David to be a prophet.  We think of him rather as warrior, as king, even as poet and musician.  But it is through his poetry and music that David also prophesied of the coming messiah. We have already seen one such prophecy in Psalm 68:18.  There are others. His Psalms are full of scriptures that point to Christ.    Many of these are quoted by the Apostles during the development of the early church in the book of Acts.  A number of them are described here.


Psalm 2


1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?


2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,


7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.


Psalm 2 was a royal song that the New Testament church attributed to David.  The people of Israel, however, sang it as a song celebrating the kingdom of David.  But just as David’s life is a foreshadowing of Christ, so this Psalm is also a prophesy of Christ.   The early church in Acts chapter 4 quoted verses 1-2, which hint at Christ’s rejection and mistreatment by the Roman government.   The church attributed them not only to their persecution at that time, but also of Pilot’s persecution of Jesus Christ.  Likewise, Paul and Barnabas quoted verse 7 in Acts 13, which speaks of Christ’s divine nature as the Son of God.


Psalm 16


8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.


9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.


10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.


11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.


These words of David were quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost and again by Paul in Acts 13.  David wrote them concerning himself, but they were also a prophesy of the Christ.  David spoke them concerning his hope in eternal life, but they prophesy the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


Psalm 22


Because of its length, Psalm 22 is not quoted here, but its entire text is a prophesy of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  In fact, its opening words, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” were quoted by Jesus Christ himself while he was on the cross (Matthew 27:46).  The Apostle, Matthew, records the events of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in a way that so parallels Psalm 22 that it is almost scary.

When the Roman soldiers pierced the hands and feet of Jesus, it was a direct fulfillment of Psalm 22:16. When the Roman solders cast lots to divide Jesus’ garments in Matthew 27:35, it is a direct fulfillment of Psalm 22:18.  When the passers by in Matthew 27:39 deride Jesus and shake their heads, it is a direct fulfillment of Psalm 22:7.  When the scoffers challenged Jesus to save himself in Matthew 27:43, it was a direct fulfillment of Psalm 22:8.   The description in Psalm 22:14 is a perfect description of what Jesus would have experienced while hanging on the cross, and when Jesus said “I thirst” in John 19:28, John called it a fulfillment of scripture.  That scripture was Psalm 22:15.

But just as last half of Psalm 22 is David’s cry to God not to forget him but to make right all the wrong, God makes right the crucifixion by raising Jesus from the dead.  As such, Psalm 22:22 is quoted in Hebrews 2:12 as the author of Hebrews reminds us of the victory of Christ in establishing our salvation through his death.


Psalm 23


As previously mentioned, David was a shepherd in much the same way that Jesus is our Good Shepherd.  However, David himself recognized that God was the ultimate good shepherd, and he prophesied of such in Psalm 23.  The 23rd Psalm may very well be one of the most well known Psalms in the Bible.  It speaks of the Lord (Jesus Christ) as our shepherd and tells of how he cares for us as his sheep. 


Psalm 110

1 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.


Psalm 110:1 is actually a verse that Jesus himself quotes to prove that he was the Messiah (Matthew 22:41-46), and he did so in a way that completely confounded the Pharisees.  Jesus, the Christ, is both David’s son and his Lord.  How can this be?  Because he is also the Son of God, and David prophesied as much 1000 years before Jesus was born.

Likewise, in Psalm 110:4, David prophesies that the Christ will be a priest of the order of Melchizedek.  Nowhere else in scripture is this prophesied, but as we saw in the previous lesson, the writer of Hebrews picks up on this in Hebrews 7 and explains not only how Jesus is this priest, but what that means to us as believers.





There is much about the life and kingship of David that is a direct foreshadowing of Christ.  At the very least, God’s covenant with David points directly to the kingship of Christ as Son of David and Son of God.