1 Samuel 17: 57-18: 4; 20, 21 (to “… upon him); 20: 18-23, 35-42
2 Samuel 19: 24-38
Ephesians 6: 24
David is a wonderful type of the Lord Jesus in many respects. He is often a type of a believer too, but I want to speak about David as a type of the Lord Jesus. I have read about people who loved him. I hardly feel qualified to speak of the subject, but I have an impression to speak of devotion to the Lord Jesus. How devoted are we to Him?
Where we first read in 1 Samuel, David had returned from his great victory, when he met the one who had the power of death in figure, and annulled him; annulled him by using his own power. 1 Samuel 17 is a marvellous picture of the Lord Jesus meeting Satan in all his power and overcoming him. He went down in lowly grace into the valley. He stooped down and chose those stones. He would not go in man’s power, he would not go with anything that would impress. He says as to Saul’s armour, “I cannot go in these; for I have never tried them”, 1 Sam 17: 39. They had not been tested. What had been tested was perfect obedience and confidence in God: that had been tested and had not been found wanting. So he went down and in lowliness he met the enemy of God’s people; and brought him down. Then he drew out Goliath’s sword, cut off his head and killed him completely, see 1 Sam 17: 51. The very power of death, that which Satan used to hold men in bondage, was what the Lord Jesus used to annul him that had the might of death, He used his own power. No wonder later in the history he could say that there is none like that sword, see 1 Sam 21: 10.
Here David is returning, his moral features just the same. Who would have known that he had just overthrown the great enemy of God’s people as he came back in simple grace, except that he had the head of the Philistine in his hand, the token of his victory? What is the token of the victory of Jesus? It is Himself in glory and the Holy Spirit as having come indwelling the hearts of believers. There we have the evidence of His victory. David was there, and all he said to Saul in answer to his question was, “I am the son of they servant Jesse the Bethlehemite”. He does not even claim a name. What grace! Every moral excellence that was seen in Jesus still shines out in His glorious position, seated at God’s right hand. No feature of moral excellence has been laid aside; He retains it all there, shining out in the realm where He belongs. It may no longer be shining in a scene of adversity but it is shining out to be appreciated by God and appreciated by the saints. It says that with these few words, “the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul”. There was a man who had a sight of Christ in glory and it so affected his heart that it says, “Jonathan loved him as his own soul”. Has everybody in this room got a sight of the Lord Jesus in glory? We all know about that pathway of humiliation and devotion to the will of God, we all know that He went to the cross for you and for me, that He might bring us to what was beyond this world. He came into this scene that He might take us to what is beyond it, and in doing so He had to take upon Himself our sins and He had to take upon Himself everything that lay upon mankind, the very condition of man, He had to take it all upon Himself, and He had to give an answer to God on behalf of us, but now He is in glory. God has raised Him and placed Him at His own right hand and He is there to be an object and we present Him in the gospel as an object of faith for men. I trust that everybody in this room has reached that point in their life when they have said, I have to turn away from myself and turn away from this world, and I want one object before me and it is a glorious Man in heaven. God has set Him there as an object for faith, but more than that, God has set Him there as an object for your heart.
Here we have David in his triumph over Satan and there is one there who gets a sight of him:
The sight in heaven is glorious
He gets a sight of the triumphant and victorious One and it says he, “loved him as his own soul”. Beloved, let a sense of the Lord Jesus in all His glory and excellence and worth fill your heart; there is nothing like it. There is none that can compare with Him. It says, “loved him as his own soul”, the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David. It goes on to say that Jonathan divested himself of his natural dignity, “even to his sword” - what an amazing thing! We read earlier in this book that there were only two people in Israel who had swords because the Philistines had stopped all the blacksmiths. Jonathan was one of them; but he said, 'David is the one who can rightly use the sword, it is for David’. The conflict was his, Israel had come into the triumph of it just as we will in a coming day when Christ rides out having taken vengeance on all God’s enemies, and He will ride out with that garment dipped in blood. The conflict was His, but the armies of heaven will follow in white garments, sharing His triumph. Jonathan is saying, 'Let David take the sword, the conflict is his, this is the man for me. There is one man who is exalted in glory and he is the man for me.' Have you come to that point that whatever may attach to us naturally, whatever natural dignity we may have it all has to go before the excellence and glory of the One who is there, seated at God’s right hand. Jonathan “loved him as his own soul”. At this stage Jonathan would put nothing between himself and David.
Then we have somebody else who loved him, Jonathan’s sister, Michal. It says she loved him but not as her own soul. It says, “Michal Saul’s daughter loved David”. She could admire him, she saw the beauty of that one, that he was excellent. The scripture speaks of that when he first comes to light, “ruddy, and besides of a lovely countenance and beautiful appearance”, 1 Sam 16: 12. She loved him. How many of us are like that, we might admire Him - it is one thing to admire Him, but it does not say of Michal that she gave up anything for David, far from it. If you turn over the page you will see that when it came to her own safety she was prepared to misrepresent him to her father. She was prepared to say that he was a different kind of man from what he really was. What sort of love was that? She could not help admiring him, but there was not the devotion of affection. The word in Ephesians is, “Grace with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption”, Eph 6: 24. I think it is clear that Michal put herself first.
Jonathan went further, but as to Jonathan the day came when there was a test. David was rejected. Jonathan had a place in Saul’s world, but David was rejected. I had an impression when we were reading this chapter locally that Jonathan had a real test here, and I think that he knew it and felt it. I think Jonathan knew that his love for David, though so great, had its limits. I do not want to speak critically of Jonathan because he was a real genuine believer, a real lover of David, but here David’s place in Saul’s house was empty. He no longer belongs in Saul’s world. What was Jonathan going to do? Jonathan said, “abide by the stone Ezel”. There is a point that we have to come to in our lives. This stone means departure or separation, it is one of the milestones in our lives. I have spoken about Jesus in glory and seeing Him there and letting Him fill our hearts in His present position in glory. That is one of the great milestones. Another is that we have no part with the world from which He has been rejected. That is what the stone Ezel means, separation, departure. Christ has been rejected from this scene, and we have to come to this stone, we come to it in our experience. It is not something we just grow into, it is a point we have to arrive at in experience. Have we all arrived at that, have we all come to it in our experience that there is a world that is going on to destruction, a world in which Jesus has no place? There is another world, apart from this order of things all together. The test comes by “the stone Ezel”. Jonathan says he will shoot the arrows and he says I will get the lad to pick up the arrows. If I say, “Behold, the arrows are beyond thee”, it is true, there is no place for David in my father’s house. Jonathan went into the field and he said to the lad, “Run, find now the arrows which I shoot. The lad ran, and he shot the arrow beyond him. And when the lad came to the place of the arrow which Jonathan had shot, Jonathan cried after the lad and said, Is not the arrow away beyond thee?” Poor Jonathan, the arrow had gone so far, how far was Jonathan’s love prepared to go? “Is not the arrow away beyond thee?” Is it not further than that? Has my love not gone further than that? The lad stopped, the lad had reached the arrow, Jonathan was saying, surely my love is going to go further than that? “Is not the arrow away beyond thee?” No the arrow was not beyond him, Jonathan’s love had its limits. Jonathan’s love was so true, so real and so valued by David, he was one who might have felt that this love would cleave to David, but he said to David, “Go in peace”. He does not say I am going with thee. The arrow did not go beyond that place, his love for David was real, but he says to David, “Go in peace”. The chapter ends, “And he arose and departed; and Jonathan went into the city”. Does that mean he did not love him? Of course it does not. Maybe he felt that if he went into the city he could make things better for David, but you cannot change the world. You cannot change the world from which Christ has been rejected. He remains rejected, and if you go into the city in this sense, and maybe seek to change things on behalf of a rejected Lord, what you find is that you become part of the city. You do not change it, you become part of it. The world is willing to accommodate anything apart from absolute devotion to Christ. It will not accommodate that.
We see that in Mephibosheth. Here is one who was in Absalom’s world and David had been rejected from that. Mephibosheth said, 'I have no part in this world, I am not going to make myself respectable for this. David is in rejection.' It says, “he had neither washed his feet, nor trimmed his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed”. He was saying, 'why should I adorn Absalom’s world, why should I adorn the world from which Jesus has been rejected?' What part has a believer in doing that? The believer’s part is nothing less than total devotion to Christ. In the scene of His absence, He is looking for no less a standard than total devotion for Him. Mephibosheth was one such. Things were said about him which were not right, but he says, 'What does it matter, what have I anyway? I am here as a vessel of mercy, I would have nothing if it were not for the mercy that has been shown me, why should I not be devoted to the one who has displayed such mercy?' Mephibosheth says to the king, “Let him even take all”, 2 Sam 19: 30. He says, 'I am not looking for a place, not even looking for a place in David’s realm'. He was just there as a vessel of sovereign mercy. That is all we could look for, sovereign mercy. What devotion there was in Mephibosheth - I think we see in him one who loved our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption. His love for Him was not looking for anything in return; his love was for his own sake and his appreciation of him in his own world.
We have another man, Barzillai, who was a great man in his day; he had entertained David in the time of his rejection and helped him, and David tells him to come over. But Barzillai said, I have declined, I am not what I used to be, I cannot discern these things. That is what happened at Ephesus, the apostle says, “Grace with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption”. What happened? They became like Barzillai, they declined, they left their first love. The Lord has to speak to them about that, He says to them that they had so much which was commendable in Ephesus, they hated the works of evil men, judged those who were doing wrong, kept themselves positionally right, but what about your love for me? That is what He is saying.
Beloved, I do not want to end with Barzillai, I do not want to end with a negative note, let us take account of Mephibosheth, this great lover of David, the one who asked for nothing in return. He loved him for his own sake, he loved him for all that he had done and loved him for what he was. May we be here faithful. If we are to be here faithful to the Lord Jesus in a scene of His rejection it is not because we know what the scriptures say about the pathway of a believer. If we are going to be here faithful to the Lord Jesus in the time of His rejection it will be through total devotion to Him. What pleases Him should be uppermost in my life, what is in keeping with Him should be my occupation.
A simple word, but may the Lord bless it.
18th November 2006