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Lessons From The Life Of David PDF Print E-mail
Written by S.B. Luckett   


Crawfordsville, Indiana, September 1888 

In the oracles of God, written aforetime for our learning, are interspersed many mystic lessons that are very precious and comforting to our hearts, when led by the Spirit into their secret meaning, and are permitted, to behold in type the foreshadowing of gospel blessings, that answer to our experience as the heart of man to man.

I have been thinking of David in the cave of Adullam, as the emblematic head of a peculiar people—as typical of the humiliation of Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, his drawing love that brought them to his standard, and his mild reign over them as his willing people, both in the kingdom of grace and realm of glory. The throne of David is, we might say, but another name for Israel's greatness, but there was "a day of small things" in the life of David, when he was low down in the valley of humility, and sore pressed with fierce and cruel enemies, resembling more a fleeing refugee than the heir apparent to the Jewish throne. In him and in his great anti-type the extremes of lowliness and royal greatness are seen to meet.

When the haughty Saul was rejected by the Lord from reigning over Israel Samuel was sent with anointing oil to the home of Jesse, from among whose sons the Lord had provided himself a king, to consecrate the man after God's own heart, to seal with holy oil as a witness of the Lord's decree, binding in one the office and the heir. But Samuel, although God's prophet, knew not how to choose the future ruler of the Lord's chosen tribes. His heart was pleased with the dignified and stately eldest-born, but, the Lord seeth not as man seeth. His countenance and stature were as nothing to him who maketh men to differ as he will. He refuses the prepossessing Eliab, and again and again rejects the offered sons, until seven of them had contested their fitness for the dazzling honor. The Lord was here pleased to manifest his sovereignty, and the perplexed prophet was constrained to say, The Lord hath not chosen these. Are here all thy children? In answer to this it was ascertained that there was one son remaining, the youngest, who was apparently unthought of in this day of honor to the house of Jesse, but behold, he keepeth the sheep. No idler is he, seeking rest in the tents of ease. No sycophant striving for honor among his brethren, but a faithful shepherd boy caring for his father's flock, and it pleased the Lord to designate this ruddy stripling for anointment, for he would take him from the sheep-cote, from following the sheep to be ruler over his people Israel. But O, thou highly favored David, undesired of men, but chosen of God and precious! thou art not yet come to thy kingdom. Thou shalt be tried as by fire and the water floods. The archers shall shoot at thee with grievous hatred. Thy cross shall be heavy and severe, but the crown shall be sure, and through adversity, danger and .distress, thy bow shall abide in strength, and thy arms be made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob. The Lord's way is not man's way. His perfection comes through suffering, his glory through tribulation. His way is first to bring very low before he raiseth up; to make poor before he maketh rich; and from the dust, from beggary and the dung-hill, he lifteth his elect to sec them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory.

David, though destined to high renown, must first learn these lessons of adversity; must be put under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father. As a weeping captive, he was made to pour forth his complaints by the strange waters of Babylon. He was made to realize that wrath is cruel and anger outrageous, and that before envy and jealousy none can stand. As the object of Saul’s hatred and persecuting power, he sought refuge in the cave of Adulam, and here his history, like a sweet allegory, holds our poor hearts spell-bound with breathless, almost painful, interest; for it. was here in the day of his humiliation and suffering, that his brethren and all his father's house came down to him, showing that there are a few to choose affliction with this representative man, and who are willing to become identified with this lowly type of Zion's King. No more does the strong man armed hold their allegiance and their love, for they have become enamored with another leader, and one whom the nation at large may disclaim as their king, they regard as the true prince of Israel, whose right it is to rule. But they must go down to him, aye down where the weeds of sorrow shall be wrapped about their heads; down in the vale of adversity where they shall expect, with their leader, one day to perish by the hand of Saul. They must go down to the Lord's Passover of unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and be ready, with their loins girded and staff in hand, to depart in haste.

But who was it that composed this peculiar army of the hidden prince? It was, in the aggregate, his brethren and all his father's house, and as individuals every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented. These were the strange, uncomely characters that gathered unto David. What an ill-favored, forbidding army! Distressed, discontented and in debt. Are not the ends of the earth brought together to compose a type of the redeemed? And as such the history becomes truly interesting to all who claim to have followed the Son of Man in the regeneration. As those literally in distress, in debt and discontented gathered under Israel's lowly but anointed sovereign, so was it said of the true Shiloh of Israel, that unto him shall the gathering of the people be. And these chosen adherents and witnesses of the Son of Man and the son of Jesse, were alike disallowed of men. They gathered no laurels from the world, and none were found to speak their praise. If the first was a band of insolvent debtors, a company of poor, distressed and discontented refugees, so in later days the fisher boats and the outdoor industries were the places where Jesus found his first companions. It was the blind and deaf, the lame and halt, the leper and the beggar, the sick and undone that were sought out by our spiritual David and gathered into his kingdom. Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble were called, but the poor and needy, and to the unthinking multitude these were made as the filth of the world and the offscouring of all things.

David had first to learn or experience sufferings and trials, and sojourn in Adullam, which is literally Testimony; so the anti-typical David must first descend into the lower parts of the earth, where for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground to bring forth much fruit. With wonder-working power the blessed Mediator, in his suffering Headship, draweth all men unto himself; according to his own declaration, "Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me." But these, too, are brought down in sorrow. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications shall they be led to the Captain of their salvation. When the circumcision of the heart, made without hands, shall cut them off from their former hopes, and they shall see an end of all perfection in the flesh, being slain to every expectation of righteousness through the land; when the Lord shall search his Jerusalem with candles, revealing iniquity and bringing to light some of the ten thousand talent debts long concealed, then shall a time of discontent open before them and trouble fill their souls. It will be the dawning of a day of new things, a translation from one kingdom to another. The Lord's wonderful work is wrought in the earth; a marvelous change from Saul to Paul, a change of allegiance from Saul to David. It is a day of separation. These tried souls have no more place in the parts that seemed before a habitation of peace and safety. They shall be brought out from the people, and gathered from the countries. They shall be taken one of a city, and two of a family, and brought to Zion. The Lord shall seek and save the lost, bring again that which was driven away, bind up the broken, and heal the sick. He will be their God, and reign over them in Mount Zion from henceforth, even forever. Thus shall Jesus be a captain over the tribes of his inheritance. Having been anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, he has in all other things the pre-eminence over them, in suffering as well as in power, greatness and glory. Although they partake of his sorrows, they can only faintly realize the anguish and sore travail that rent his bosom. He tasted death for them all, and in bringing many sons unto glory was made perfect through sufferings. And if they ever enter into his joy, and reign with him in glory, they must first suffer with them in time. If they live with him beyond the swelling tide of the river of death, they must be dead with him to the rudiments of the world, and know what it is to be storm-tossed on the troubled deep. They must be familiar with his yoke and his cross, and count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord. They must go forth, therefore, unto him without the camp bearing his reproach, and rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer shame for his adorable name.

And this shall be the character of every child of his love. His own word declares them to be an afflicted and poor people. Every one must be a partaker of chastisement, for this one mark of sonship that all must bear. The surprising feature in the history of these outcasts of Israel, is the suffering they endure without being destroyed. They are perplexed, but do not despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. It is wonderful that the bush should so burn and not be consumed.

David and his followers found help in every time of need. A stronghold was ready in every extremity. The wilderness, the mountain, the wood, the cave, each furnished a retreat that the enemy could not enter and thus did trial and delivery alternate until the day of final triumph. And so it is in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. Although safe as the choice of the Father, they are chosen in the furnace of affliction, and shall find the days of darkness to be many. Over all opposing elements they shall be brought off more than conquerors through him who hath loved them. They shall come up out. of the wilderness, leaning upon the beloved. They shall ascend the hill of the Lord, and stand in his holy place. For him they shall hear the cry, Be ye lifted up ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in. The King of saints shall enrich with his presence the tabernacle of eternal glory, that. shall never be taken down, and thither shall he take the blood-washed throng and present them spotless before his Father's face, and there shall they sing undying praise forevermore. Dear suffering saint, wherever you may be, let the imagined rapture of this great day of the Lord comfort you in sorrow and sustain you in the furnace. Fall in death you must, but death is shorn of its terror; it is now but a shadow, and fall when you may, or how you may, or as deep as you may, you shall find in the supreme moment that underneath are God's everlasting arms. To him be glory evermore, world without end.


Crawfordsville, Ind.

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