David finally sits on the throne. The promise that God had made him when he was barely a teenager has been fulfilled. His enemies are defeated (at least for now), and David no longer has to hide in caves or scrape for scraps of food. His every need is met instantly by a hoard of servants, and his orders are carried out across the kingdom.
Living in such luxury - especially after living for 15 years on the run - many of us would feel content and satisfied. Now that danger is past, it is time to relax for a week, maybe a month, and just enjoy our new life and the creature comforts that come with it.
But David couldn’t help but feel something was off. Sitting in his beautiful palace, looking down over the whole city of Jerusalem, he couldn’t help but notice the Tabernacle - the tent of worship for the people of Israel - looked… shabby in comparison. The once-impressive tent had served the Lord for nearly four hundred years, and had traveled thousands of miles in its long life. No doubt, it was beginning to show its ever-increasing age.
David, in his humility, couldn’t stand the thought that the Lord - the one who was really responsible for his success - would be honored with a mere tent (a worn-out tent at that), while he, a mere servant, got to live in an exquisitely-built palace. As his entourage was still unpacking, David got to work setting this situation right.
You may have wondered during this study why we are studying King David. After all, there are plenty of kings, generals and war heroes in the Bible. What is it that makes David so special? Why is he an example worth remembering?
This story from David’s life contains the answer. David’s greatest achievement was not winning a throne or slaying a giant. We don’t remember him because of his sound economic policies or the monuments he built. We remember David because he was “a man after God’s own heart.” David’s great achievement was having excellent priorities - he put God first, and in humility recognized that God was the one who really deserved the credit for “his accomplishments.”
Because of David’s faithfulness, God makes a covenant - a contract - with him. He promises David that:
“...when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son... Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.’” (2 Sam 7:12-14,16 NLT)
There is something interesting about this promise. At first glance, it seems to be talking about David’s son Solomon. Solomon became king after David and, just like God promises, is the one who builds the Temple. But as we read the rest of the Old Testament, it is clear that other parts of this promise don’t really apply to Solomon. In particular, his throne isn’t secured “forever,” since Israel eventually is taken into exile, and after that ceases to be a “kingdom” at all.
But one day - many centuries later - David would have another descendant, born in his ancestral city of Bethlehem. This man would not just build a house for God - He was a living, breathing temple everywhere He went. God really would be his father; He would be God’s only son. This man Jesus would start a kingdom that would span millenia, cross continents and outlast even the stars in the heavens. He would have many titles - Prince of Peace, God with Us, Anointed One, and Son of God, just to name a few - but one of the most popular during His lifetime was the name “Son of David.”
How do you measure up to David’s example? How do you “put God first” in your life? Do you make time with Him a priority? Do you treat your relationship with Him as central, or merely as “one other responsibility” you have?