David’s unbroken fellowship with the Lord began on the day that he was anointed King of Israel. 1 Samuel 16:13 tells us, “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.” “The Jews recognized that the Messiah would come from David’s descendants (cf. John 7:42). One of the titles applied to Jesus during his earthly ministry was ‘Son of David’ (Matthew 9:27; 12:23; 15:22), emphasizing his heirship of all David’s royal prerogatives as well as his fulfillment of the messianic promises to David (2 Samuel 7:8-16, cf. Matthew 22:41-45; Luke 1:32, 33, 69)” (note on 1 Samuel 16:13). One of the things that linked David to Jesus, the Messiah, was his role as the shepherd of God’s people. When Samuel came to Jesse’s home looking for Israel’s future king, he didn’t find him among David’s six older brothers. 1 Samuel 16:11 states, “Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are all of your sons here?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, but behold, his is keeping the sheep.’” David’s background as a shepherd gave him a unique insight into the Messiah’s viewpoint of salvation. In Psalm 23, David wrote:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
“The Lord is depicted as the Shepherd who takes care of all the needs of his sheep. David’s own care of his father’s sheep may have led him to consider how fully he could trust in the Lord, his faithful heavenly shepherd” (note on Psalm 23:1-6). David’s statement, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” may have been based on his experience of fighting the giant, Goliath. It says in 1 Samuel 17:2-3 that “Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them.”
David’s entrance into Saul’s life and the kingdom of Israel, over which he was reigning at the time, began with a spiritual need that David was chosen to fulfill. 1 Samuel 16:14-18 states:
Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.”
“It is interesting that David is called ‘a man of valor, a man of war’ when he had not yet had a chance to prove himself in battle (1 Samuel 17:33). David had likely exhibited these qualities in his experiences as a shepherd, and they were equated with valor in war situations” (note on 1 Samuel 16:18). When David offered to fight the giant, Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:33-37 tells us:
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.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
David’s claim that he had struck down both lions and bears and that he intended to defeat Goliath with the help of the LORD was a daring leap of faith considering that Goliath was described as being 9 feet tall and was wearing a protective coat of mail that weighed 125 lbs. (1 Samuel 17:4-5).
David referred to Goliath as an “uncircumcised Philistine” who had “defied the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:36). David viewed Goliath as a personal enemy of God that needed to be dealt with under the terms of God’s covenant with Israel. When the conquest of Canaan was promised to the people of Israel, God told Moses that an angel would go before the people to guard them from their enemies. God said, “Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Pay careful attention to him and obey his voice; do not rebel against him, for he will not pardon your transgressions, for my name is in him” (Exodus 23:20-21). “Exodus 23:21 states that the angel of the Lord has the power to forgive sins, a characteristic belonging to God alone (cf. Mark 2:7; Luke 7:49) and that he has the name of God in him…There is the distinct possibility that various Old Testament references to the ‘angel of the LORD’ involved preincarnate appearances of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Things are said of the angel of the LORD that seem to go beyond the category of angels and are applicable to Christ” (note on Exodus 23:20-23). It is likely that David viewed the situation with Goliath as a challenge to Christ’s authority. The preincarnate Jesus Christ is identified in Joshua 5:15 as “the commander of the LORD’s army” (note on Joshua 5:13-15). David’s statement that Goliath had “defied the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:36) was the equivalent of saying that he had defied the armies of Jesus Christ.
The Hebrew words that are translated man of valor in 1 Samuel 16:18 are gibbowr (gib-boreˊ), which means powerful (H1368), and chayil (khahˊ-yil), which “has the basic idea of strength and influence” (H2428). Gibbowr is an intensive form of the word geber (gehˊ-ber), “A masculine noun meaning man, mighty (virile) man, warrior. It is used of man but often contains more than just a reference to gender by referring to the nature of man, usually with overtones of spiritual strength or masculinity, based on the verb gabar (1396), meaning to be mighty” (H1397). Power is a characteristic usually associated with the Holy Spirit, but it was also used to describe Jesus’s ability to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6) and to lay down his life for the benefit of others (John 10:18). Jesus told his disciples after his resurrection, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” The Greek word that is translated power in this verse is dunamis (dooˊ-nam-is), which means “force (literal or figurative); specially miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself)” (G1411). Dunamis is derived from the word dunamai (dooˊ-nam-ahee), which means “to be able or possible” (G1410). David’s valor can be attributed to the fact that the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him and was with him from the day that he was anointed King of Israel until his death (1 Samuel 16:13). David displayed this power when he testified to those who were listening, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:36).
David’s confrontation of the Philistine giant, Goliath, was primarily a war of words. 1 Samuel 17:40 tells us that David approached Goliath with no other weapons, but his shepherd’s pouch filled with five smooth stones, a staff, and a sling that he carried in his hands. 1 Samuel 17:38-47 states:
Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 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. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
David told Goliath that he came to him in “the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45). Essentially, what David was saying was that he was coming to Goliath in the name of Jesus. David accessed the power of God by the authority given to him through Jesus’ death on the cross, even though that event had not yet taken place. When we pray in Jesus name, we are using the same power that David did to confront the giant, Goliath.
Paul talked in his letter to the Ephesians about believers being sealed with the Holy Spirit, “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Ephesians 1:13-14). Paul went on to explain that it is by grace through faith that we receive salvation in Christ Jesus and all the spiritual blessings that go along with it. Paul said:
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:15-23)
Paul prayed that God the Father would give the Ephesians the Spirit of wisdom and of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:16). The Spirit of wisdom is another name for the Holy Spirit, the only source of the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ for those who have not met him face to face. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Helper and said, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:25-26).
David’s understanding of Israel’s Messiah was based on the Mosaic Law, but in the same way that the Holy Spirit brought to the disciples remembrance all the things that Jesus taught them, so the Holy Spirit brought to David’s mind the things that referred to Jesus in the law. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his followers that he had come to fulfill the Mosaic Law and that it was the foundational teaching of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20). It seems likely that David’s concept of the kingdom that God wanted him to establish and to rule over was the kingdom of heaven. The LORD made a covenant with David that promised to establish and maintain his dynasty on the throne of Israel and to provide Israel “forever with a godly king like David and through that dynasty to do for her what He had done through David—bring her into rest in the promised land (1 Kings 4:20-21; 5:3-4)” (Major Covenants of the Old Testament, KJSB, p. 16). 2 Samuel 7:1-16 tells us:
Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.” And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
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?”’ 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.’”
“David’s desire to build a house for the Lord sets the stage for one of the key passages in the Old Testament concerning the coming Messiah. Verses 8-16 are referred to as the Davidic covenant. The passage is both an expansion and a clarification of God’s promises to Abraham. It represents an unconditional promise to David that he would be the father of an everlasting kingdom (v. 16)” (note on 2 Samuel 7:4-16). In 2 Samuel 7:13, God referred specifically to establishing the throne of David’s son forever. “This refers initially to Solomon but was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the ‘Son of David’ (Luke 1:31-33; Acts 2:25-35) who reigns at God’s right hand (Psalm 2:7; Acts 13:33)” (note on 2 Samuel 7:13). When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to give birth to Israel’s Messiah, he said, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31-33).
Jesus’ valor is displayed prominently in the book of Revelation where his future conquest of and reign over the earth is depicted. Beginning in chapter four with his throne in heaven being revealed, John shows us that Jesus’ power is linked to his creation of the world and that his crucifixion was the impetus for him being given the right to reign on the earth. John said:
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:9-12)
John indicated that it was the Lamb who was slain that received power and might, the key components of valor. John tells us that Jesus will take possession of this power when the seventh trumpet of God’s judgment is blown (Revelation 11:15-17) and afterward, there will be war in heaven, “Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon” (Revelation 12:7). John continued, “And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of his testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (Revelation 12:7-11).