Behold, I made him [David] a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. – Isaiah 55:4 ESV
Isaiah says that David was witness to the people and the context of the passage is that God is calling His children to Him. In thinking about what we can learn from the example of David, I want to highlight a few characteristics about David that stand out to me. Of course, there are many characteristics that we can learn from, but I’ve just picked three that stand out to me.
The first example I like is David’s whole hearted passion for what the Lord has called him to do. The passage that reflects this to me is 2 Samuel 6:14, “And David danced before the LORD with all his might…” In this story, David is bringing the Arc of the Covenant to Jerusalem and as it’s processing toward the city, David is offering sacrifices and dancing.
As I think about the moments that are success stories in my life, or moments of completion, did I dance before the Lord with all my might? When I have celebrated and danced (not literally, I have no skills), did I do it whole heartedly? David dances this way even though the woman who was his first love insulted him for it. He chose the passionate dancing over her (2 Samuel 6:20-23, more on that here). Would I choose passionate celebration of what God’s done for me over the thoughts and actions of those I love?
So David reigned over all Israel. And David administered justice and equity to all his people. – 2 Samuel 8:15 ESV
The second character trait of David’s that stands out to me is his fairness. He cared about all his people, not just his favorites. Kings and leader through all of history have taken favorites and given gifts and specials to those they loved over others. David’s fairness defined him and how he handled the results of battles, even when others wanted to distribute spoils selfishly (1 Samuel 30:22-24).
I hope that I can stand for the same thing even in the face of loss or the threat of other’s. Fairness is threatened by all sides from all people in almost every walk of life. The opposite of fairness, by the way isn’t inequality. The opposite of fairness is selfishness and inequality is the result.
And David knew that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel. – 2 Samuel 5:12 ESV
The third trait is his complete awareness of the purpose of his situation in life: for the sake of the people of Israel. David knew that it wasn’t about him. He wasn’t a great guy and that’s why he’d earned these results. God wasn’t extra-especially pleased with David. We can see that when David sinned (think: Bathsheba or the census debacle), God didn’t take away the crown. He punished David and expected him to repent, just as he does with us. But God didn’t give the blessings to David because of his goodness and God didn’t take it away because of his sin. God created David to walk the path that he did because of what God wanted accomplished both in David and the people of Israel.
I desperately want to have this view of my life. God made me to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) and He did it because of what He is planning on accomplishing in my life. I need to accept what He brings my way because I trust Him to be fulfilling His plan in me. I am not extra-especially good or extra-especially bad and God isn’t bribing me with good thing or punishing me with bad things as I go along. I am righteous because I accept the salvation of Jesus Christ and have believed on His name and been baptized. Other than that, I’m working to be His servant and accomplish the work He has made me for.