“And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.” King David leads a storied life in scripture. He is absolutely one of the central characters of the Old Testament. We know the story of David being anointed King by the prophet Samuel. Samuel got word from the Lord – “The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”” 1 Samuel 16:1 ESV. So Samuel goes to the house of Jesse, and checks over all the impressive, strapping sons Jesse brings before him, seven of his eight sons, one after another. After the first, Eliab, Samuel thinks “That’s the one!“ “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”” 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV. God keeps saying “Nope, nope, not this one, nope..” “Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.”” 1 Samuel 16:11 ESV. Yeah, Jesse’s got one more. But he’s out there tending the sheep, he CAN’T be the one.
“And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.” 1 Samuel 16:12-13 ESV. So David was anointed King of Israel. Problem is, Israel already had a King, King Saul. Truth be told, Israel was never supposed to have a King. God was supposed to be their King. But the people of Israel looked with envy in the nations around them, and wanted to be like all the cool kids. They grew tired of serving a King they could not see and had to trust on faith. All the other nations had a King to rule over them, they wanted a mighty King of their own.
So, despite Samuels heated warnings of all the misery a King would bring, the people still demand a King. So God gave them what they wanted, and Saul was anointed King over Israel.
But Saul was corrupt, and ultimately rejected by God as King over his people. And now we get to the anointing of David. The thing is, David gets anointed and nothing happens. He’s still the baby of his family, the runt of the litter. He is simply sent back out to the pastures to tend his sheep.
But a few months later, Israel and the Philistines are back at it. Some of David’s brothers are called to fight, David’s father sends him to take supplies to his brothers. That’s when he sees Goliath, stalking the battle lines, challenging anyone from Israel to fight him man to man. Of course, Goliath is reportedly a giant (9ft 9in tall, but some texts have hi at 6ft 9in, so who really knows??). Nobody takes his challenge.
Of all the stories about David in the bible, this is the one everybody knows. David is shocked no one takes the challenge, and basically says “I’ll do it!” Actually it want more like – “And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”” 1 Samuel 17:32-36 ESV. David says I’ve killed a lion and a bear, I can take this Philistine!!
So David takes on Goliath. “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” 1 Samuel 17:45 ESV. He takes on the giant not in his own name, but in the name of the Lord. That’s one thing King David always got right – he always gave all glory to Yahweh.
David takes on the giant – “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.” 1 Samuel 17:50-51 ESV. Pretty gory stuff. David killed that giant not once but twice!! Cut off the guys head with his own sword.
“And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.” Okay, it’s been a long time getting here, but here’s a question for you – why did David take that head to Jerusalem? We know Jerusalem as the great city of Israel, but at this time Jerusalem was a Jebusite city. It did not belong to Israel. King Saul’s kingdom was centered at Hebron.
So why would he go out of his way to take that head all the way to Jerusalem? Was he staking his claim? Was that his own personal declaration that, HEY!, I’m being called to this place. I’ve got business to do there. Something big is going to happen here, and I’m going to be a part of it!!??
It wasn’t until 15 years later that David was anointed again, and at the age of 30 he was made King of Judah. Finally, at 37 David became king of all Israel, anointed by God for the third time. And just what is the first thing David does upon becoming king of Israel?
“And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, that is, Jebus, where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. The inhabitants of Jebus said to David, “You will not come in here.” Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David. David said, “Whoever strikes the Jebusites first shall be chief and commander.” And Joab the son of Zeruiah went up first, so he became chief. And David lived in the stronghold; therefore it was called the city of David. And he built the city all around from the Millo in complete circuit, and Joab repaired the rest of the city. And David became greater and greater, for the Lord of hosts was with him.” 1 Chronicles 11:4-9 ESV. Finally, David has Jerusalem. After staking his claim with the head of Goliath 20+ years earlier, the Lord was with him and he took the great city. God was with David from that point on, staying faithful even during times when David strayed and sinned. And just as he made a covenant with Abraham, God made his covenant with David.
“Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.'” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.” 2 Samuel 7:8-17 ESV. So the covenant was made with David that his house would be established forever.
David had it set in his mind to build a temple. But God, just like he never wanted Israel to have a King, was never interested in having a temple built. Just before he anoints David He says – “But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?”‘” 2 Samuel 7:4-7 ESV. God never asked for a temple to be built. In fact, in His covenant with David, He says that a son of David will be the one to build His temple. This was because of the blood and sin that David had on his hands.
So David had a son, Solomon (which means “peaceable”). Solomon was the wisest man on earth, praised by God for praying for wisdom above all else. And Solomon famously built a temple for the Lord, fulfilling this promise to David, right? On face value, sure. It’s plain, right there in the scriptures, Solomon the peaceful son of David the warrior King, fulfilling that promise to build the temple which would last forever.
Except the temple did not last forever. It fell about 600 BC, was rebuilt on a smaller scale about a century later, then rebuilt in much greater glory than ever by one of the later kings, only to be finally destroyed (as Jesus predicted) around AD 70.
Not only did the temple not last forever, but Solomon had his own faults. He appeared to fulfill the promise to his father, but in so many ways he failed his charge. First of all – he built the temple with slave labor, eventually even using Hebrew slaves in building God’s temple. He also built his own palace, much larger than the temple he built God. He built a standing army, something specifically prohibited for Israel in the Torah. He built a harem. He built temples to foreign gods to satisfy his 700 wives!!
Really, what Solomon built was Egypt. God had led His people through the exodus, through the centuries, trying to form them into His people. And they simply devolved into the very people he led them to freedom from.
So, how does the New Testament begin? “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1 ESV. The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David. So here is the point – Jesus is the TRUE son of David, the stump of Jesse, of whom all those promises were made.
David wanted to build a temple, God said NO, you have blood on your hands, a son of yours will build my temple. Everybody thought Solomon was that son, but NO, Solomon got off track, built the temple to Yahweh AND all those other Gods, got blood on his own hands, and the temple built by Solomon DID NOT last forever. But Jesus is the true son of God building the temple (Hid church) that will last forever.
The apostle John tells us “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8 ESV. Jesus came not to DO the works of the devil as Solomon did, but DESTROY the works of the devil!! But He would not be beheading anyone. Jesus had the same temptation as David, the same temptation as Solomon. The devil took him out there in the wilderness and offered Him His Kingdom right then and there, through the same forces of might and power – “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'”” Matthew 4:8-10 ESV. He was tempted again on Mt. Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, “And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”” Luke 22:41-46 ESV. Jesus resisted the temptation to force and power, to blame and accusation. He could have given in, could have simply killed Pontius Pilate and avoided the cross. That was the temptation as He was sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus could have become just another host for the Satanic virus of sin and death, blame and violence, but Jesus would not do it. He came to destroy the works of the devil, not do the works of the devil. So He instead went to the cross, bearing upon himself our sins of blame and violence. He conquered the Goliath of sin and death, shame and violence. He carried them into hell, shook them off, and came back on the third day not seeking revenge but opening the doors to the New Jerusalem to lead us in.
Everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. If you are fighting a battle with Goliath, something so big you can not conquer, know that the battle is not yours, but the Lords.
Jesus once had this conversation with his opponents – “Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”‘? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.” Matthew 22:41-46 ESV. Understand that Jesus was pointing out that David called his son “Lord” because his son who would come after him would be much greater than he.
Jesus is that son. You don’t have to be David. You don’t have to get your stones and slingshot. Jesus is the son of David who is greater than David. He is the one fighting our battles. When you’re fighting a Goliath that you’re afraid of, the battle is not yours, but the Lords. David was drawn to Jerusalem, the city of God. He carried Goliaths head up there 20 years before it was even an Israelite city. We have Jesus to fight Goliath for us, and He leads us into His New Jerusalem, His city of peace.
The Battle is not yours. All you have to do is trust. You’re not Jesus. You’re not the savior, but you have a savior.