David is a central protagonist in the biblical story. And though his triumph over Goliath and his moral failings with Bathsheba are the stuff of great art, it is his establishment of the monarchy in Israel that both shapes and foreshadows future events.
David is born in Bethlehem (c. 1040 BCE). He spends his childhood as a shepherd (a very lowly position) and bears no obvious signs of greatness (see: Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Aaron…). Yet God names David the successor to Saul – Israel’s first and failed king.
David is anointed king by the prophet Samuel (see 1 Samuel 16 for the story; note that in Hebrew the word for an anointed one is “messiah”), and it is under David that the 12 tribes of Israel are consolidated into a nation state with its capital in Jerusalem.
David proves to be a very capable king with exceptional skill in battle, able to not only secure but expand the borders of Israel to their zenith. And though he is guilty of some terrible sins (which the Bible recounts in all the gory details), he remains ever devoted to God, repenting of his wrongs; one God describes as a “man after my own heart.”
In many ways David marks the high point in Israel’s political and economic power and security and thus it is no wonder that he will form the model upon which Israel’s future expectations of an anointed “savior” are based.
In this episode, Rev. Mike Regele (guest preaching) gives one of the finest and clearest explanations of the establishment of the monarchy and the reign of David I have ever heard (he makes a very, very complex biblical story sound so simple!).
It is from this high point in Israel’s history that Israel will soon fall, and with it will come the fear that perhaps the project of salvation has come to its end…