Just as the Old Testament shadows the New Testament fulfilment, David’s story carries Jesus’ significance. Although facilitated to be in power by God, King Saul was a result of human debauchery. Man’s wishes are always the opposite of God’s wishes. Humanity is always attracted by objects that displease God. This is why idolatry was a perennial scourge to God’s people, Israel. God never intended that the Israelites ought to have had a King ruling over them.
Through their inability to walk according to God’s commandments, the Israelites could not experience the promised peaceful rest. David and Saul represent dichotomous spiritual Kingdoms. David represented God’s Kingdom, while Saul stood for Satan’s Kingdoms, currently prevailing among human governments of the world. God’s people Israel desired peace from their marauding enemies. In their pursuit of human solutions, they settled for the human kingdom over them. This was an appetite established from the admiration of other nations.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said “Give us a king to lead us” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that these people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them, but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do”(1 Samuel 8:4-9 NIV).
The idea of having a king ruling over the Israelites was as fashionable as any trending idea in this world. Godly principles have never been attractive to humanity; hence, the Israelites rarely sought God’s approval. Nevertheless, God promised never to forsake His people, regardless of their misbehaviour. Rather than be independent of being ruled by another fellow human, they preferred being under a human king. Their survival had been conditional to keeping God’s Commandments, without anyone else superintending over them.
This Godly principle did not appeal to the Israelites. They needed a King so that they could be like other nations around them. They forgot that they were a chosen nation, expected to live according to God’s commandments. In other words, they were not supposed to have other gods, other than God who had taken them out of Egypt. Human reasoning without God is disastrous.
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariot and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to blow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
“He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you will become his slaves.
When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you on that day.” But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” When Samuel heard all that the people said he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Everyone goes back to his town.”(1 Samuel 8:10-22 NIV).
The above anecdote reveals that all problems of humanity are self-induced. The behaviour of the Israelites, like all humans, was a result of not being aware of human origin. Without God’s revelation, humans know nothing about God who created them in His image. They devise solutions without God’s involvement, but later blame God, when in trouble. Whether in an individual capacity or as a group, this syndrome has manifested throughout human civilizations. Nevertheless, God’s love for humanity is coupled with patience and tolerance, similar to how He put up with the Israelites.
The blunders of King Saul, having been the first King of Israel, were predictable to the all-knowing God. Anyone could blame Saul for his ineptitude, but Saul was as human as any other human in the world. Later, God deliberately anointed David from Jesse’s household, while Saul was still alive. Common sense suggests doing so, only after the demise of Saul, not in his lifetime. Which king would have allowed such a development to occur while still alive?
The most interesting thing is that, to Saul, God did not hide His intention to anoint another king. Rather than punish him for his ineptitude, God kept him on the throne for as long as he intended to develop David. King Saul was not humble enough to accept dethronement. Meanwhile, God used Saul’s rough treatment for the development of David, at the same time, leaving this indelible historical information for our edification.
David endured King Saul’s rough treatment for approximately twenty-five years but having been anointed king already. Like most Biblical stories, this beats logic. While people can be fascinated by such spectacular anecdotes, God was drafting some heavenly communication. Like various other Biblical stories, David’s story enlightens the story of Jesus, as the future King of humanity. Understanding these things helps those in need to appreciate God’s mind. Otherwise, the rest of humanity can continue in its predictable behaviour.
On a spiritual level, Satan was anointed as king or the god of this world. Satan is in charge of worldly kingdoms, which rise and wane. The Kingdoms of this world can dominate but come to an end, at appropriate times. This is characteristic of everything on the physical scene. The most beautiful flower can blossom today but is designed to eventually fade to irrelevance. The fate of a gorgeous flower is the same as that of a repulsive flower.
While Satan is the spiritual king of this world, with capabilities of installing and uprooting kingdoms, he does so, at the behest of God. Regardless of how magnificent, and at what duration, worldly kingdoms are temporary. Some kingdoms may dominate longer, but such longevity counts to insignificance. This is just as physical existence is unpredictable for those living on this planet.
One might be well-organized and careful, diet-wise, but death remains unpredictable to him/her. One might be as disorganised and careless but outliving the well-organized person. This has been the allotment to physical life, causing King Solomon to also marvel at this reality:
“The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. Then I thought in my heart, ‘The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?’ I said in my heart, ‘This too is meaningless.’ For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die!
“So I hated life because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of Iife is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun because I must leave them to the one who came after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless”(Ecclesiastes 2:16-19 NIV).
King Saul exerted an unprovoked persecution against David, already anointed to take over the throne. This went on for approximately twenty-five years, with King Saul, seemingly unaware, that the call of nature would, eventually, demand his demise. In his pride, King Saul never entertained the possibility of losing power. Otherwise, he would have been able to see wrongness in his behavior, had he been humble enough.
Meanwhile, David was reduced to a destitute but had already been anointed to take over the throne. It is from David’s dynasty, rather than King Saul’s dynasty, that we see Israel Kingdoms enduring longer. Both the first and second books of Kings are recorded with good and bad kings of Israel, from David’s dynasty. Bible students would do well forgetting about both Kings, Saul and David, but focusing on spiritual kingdoms, as portrayed in Satan and Jesus.
Saul and David were human, like all of us, whose destiny had been predicated to perish. The focus remains on highlighting Jesus’ story, more than highlighting David whose shadow he was. There is little significance, even in Jesus being born from the tribe of Judah, except for the parabolic purpose of narrating Jesus’ story. Jesus’ anointment focuses on the reality of the Spiritual Kingdom.
David waited longer, after having been anointed, before replacing the bad kingdom of Saul. Likewise, Jesus had to wait longer, after having been anointed, before replacing the bad kingdom of Satan. David did not entertain the dethronement of King Saul before David’s time had come. Similarly, Jesus does not seek Satan’s dethronement, before His time.
King Saul knew that God had rejected him. But his pride could not allow him to accept that reality. Similarly, Satan knows that his reign is as temporary as everything transitory. But his pride cannot allow him to accept that reality. In this physical world, the time factor is given precedence. However, God’s ideas are not controlled by time. Wise people do not focus on time, necessarily, when estimating their conduct in this life. They focus on God’s will.
Jesus instructed His disciples to pray thus: “You will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”(Matthew 6:10). That phrase alone, takes the petitioner away from the cares of this world. That person begins to think as God thinks. His/her mind begins to be occupied by Godly principles, rather than worldly principles that are as temporary as all physical things are temporary.
The grand plan of God is to take humanity out of the grip of Satan, who is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). When looking at Saul’s story, one observes the obvious, after God had rejected him. His pride became his blinding factor. Without pride, Saul could not have engaged in the incessant desire to eliminate David, who had already been anointed to take over from him.
David was not a perfect man. His weaknesses, dominated by his sinful conduct with Bathsheba, make him not ideal for God’s purpose. Neither does that make anyone entertaining that judgment, ideal for God’s purpose. The prime lesson, coming from this revelation is that the common denominator for our salvation is found in humility. David was a man after God’s own heart. But not because of his paraded sinful conduct on earth, but because of his humility.
Some people prefer clinging onto the achievements attained in this life, thereby choosing to close their spiritual eyes. But such people are advised to think again. Like Esau who sold his birthright for the appetizing bowl of soup, they can sell their eternity. But they should be informed that the things of this world are as fleeting as everything is momentary. God’s promises are real, but only applicable to the humble, more than they serve to repel the proud people.
The righteousness of Jesus cannot be matched with David or any other physical person of this world. But the humanity of Jesus can be matched with any other physical person in this world. The ideal principle is to appreciate that there is no value in pride. A person may seek to remain under the cover of pride, to preserve his/her dignity. But that would be as foolish as it was unwise for King Saul to aim at reversing what God had planned ahead of time.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those who have witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.
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