I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way? A Psalm of David, Psalm 8:4 The Message
The complex story of David is told in the biblical texts 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles. David was the eighth and youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem. As a teenager, David became a giant killer. He befriended Israel’s Crown Prince Jonathan and was appointed to become court musician and armor-bearer for Israel’s first king Saul. Through a tumultuous unfolding of events, David eventually succeeded Saul as king. Under David’s command and leadership, Israel’s regions unite to win battles against their surrounding enemies. Jerusalem becomes known as the “City of David” and the center of government, commerce and worship.
This charismatic leader influenced the world. Prayers and songs from the book of Psalms are connected to David. He is mentioned in Islam’s holy book, The Koran, and identified as a prophet (Sura 6), noting in Sura 38 his repentance for his sin with Bathsheba. Michelangelo created a world renowned sculpture of David that is considered a classic from the Renaissance era. The Star of David became an important Jewish symbol which now appears on the flag of the modern state of Israel. David has been portrayed many times in films by actors including Gregory Peck (David and Bathsheba, 1951), Richard Gere (King David, 1985) and Max Von Sydow in the TV movie Solomon, 2005.
David: his relationships and his city.
David’s meteoric rise was fraught with turbulent relationships. His relationship with God was a key factor in determining how events unfolded in his marriages, with his family and ultimately with the sacred city of Jerusalem. The Lord was with David through all the turmoil which included his affair with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba and the death of his own rebel son, Absalom. David identified and anointed Solomon the next King of Israel just before he died. David’s lineage holds an honored place in two religions: Judaism, which awaits the coming of the “Messiah, son of David,” and Christianity which already celebrates Jesus as the "Messiah, son of David."
Why Jerusalem? The nationhood of Israel is defined, first and foremost, by its communal relationship with God and secondly, by the Jewish people's historic mission. And it turns out that there is no better place to relate to God than Jerusalem. After David makes Jerusalem his capital, he buys the upper part of the hill above the northern boundary of the city from its owner Aravnah, the Jebusite. The purchase is recorded in the Bible in two places (2 Samuel 24:24 and 1 Chronicles 21:25).
This hill is Mount Moriah. It is a mountain of spiritual greatness. From the earliest period of Jewish history, the Patriarchs of the Jewish people recognized the tremendous spiritual power of Mount Moriah. This is where Abraham went up to offer Isaac as a sacrifice and later remarked as the Bible records:"The Lord will see," as it is said to this day, "On the Lord's mountain, He will be seen." (Genesis 22:14) Mount Moriah is where Jacob dreamed of a ladder going to heaven, and said:"How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." (Genesis 28:17)
It’s no wonder every major conqueror in all of human history wanted to own this sacred plot of land. Jerusalem has been conquered or destroyed 36 times in 3,000 years. It is said God's presence can be felt here more intensively than any other place on the planet earth. Therefore, this was the logical place to build a permanent resting spot for the most holy and sacred object that the Jewish people have ― the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant.
Relationship City is the title of our next series. We will focus on David’s life while he resided in Jerusalem. Jerusalem continues to be one of the most influential cities in the world. I’ve travelled in Israel-Palestine on a number of occasions. A rabbi once said something to me that stuck. “So goes Jerusalem-so goes the world.” Consider what we can learn from the sacred texts of the bible. Discover how we might apply what we learn as a nation while we continue to relate to Jerusalem. Is there something prophetic we might glean from David’s relationship with God, his people, his beloved city Jerusalem and his relationship with the world? Let’s study and find out together. See you in church.
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. I Samuel 16:13 ESV