David, the Temple, and the Gospel
As New Testament believers, we are blessed to have God’s complete revelation – the Bible. We have the whole picture of the work of redemption that God so beautifully initiated and orchestrated since the beginning of time. Shai Linne, in his song Expositional Preaching, states, “All of the Bible is about Jesus. The Old Testament – Jesus Christ concealed. The New Testament – Jesus Christ revealed.” Every believer has a responsibility, by the Holy Spirit’s help, to labor to see God’s purposes of redemption in the scriptures that are actualized and finalized in the person of Jesus Christ. In this article, we will look at David, some of the events surrounding his life, and how they point us to the gospel.
David is described as a man after God’s own heart. God chose him when he was still a young boy while he tended his father’s sheep. By God’s help, he killed Goliath, who was an enemy of God’s people and a defiant of the armies of the living God. This event points us to Christ our Savior, who came and defeated the devil, the enemy of our souls, triumphantly through His death and resurrection. (1 Samuel 17)
Soon after, Saul became jealous of David and lived the rest of his life pursuing him to kill him. David was a Godly man. When he got the opportunity to kill Saul, he refused to do it because Saul was ‘the Lord’s anointed’. (1 Samuel 24 & 26) God protected David, gave him victory over all his enemies, and prospered him in all he did.
During David’s reign, Israel prospered greatly. They finally knew peace because David and his army defeated the surrounding nations that were at war with them. Israel was at rest and David decided to build a temple for the Lord.
David, however, was not perfect. The best of men are men at best! We all know that there was a time he failed to join the armies at war and one afternoon while on his balcony, he saw a beautiful woman bathing and lusted after her. What ensued was that he committed the sin of adultery and killed Uriah, the woman’s husband, to conceal his sin. (2 Samuel 11 & 12) After this incident, we see a roller coaster of events portraying David’s sins and failures. This is a reflection of the sin of humankind, justifying the need for salvation.
Amnon, one of David’s sons, raped his half-sister Tamar after tricking her. (2 Samuel 13: 1-22) David, as a king and a father, never resolved this injustice. However, Absalom – another of David’s son and Tamar’s brother, took it to heart and finally revenged by killing Amnon two years later. (2 Samuel 13:23-33) Absalom then fled and David remained passive about the matter. Joab, a commander of the armies, rebuked David and urged him to pursue Absalom.
A few years after Absalom’s arrival, he planned a coup and overthrew his father by spreading propaganda against him in all of Israel. David had to flee. (2 Samuel 15) Eventually, Absalom was killed and David returned to the throne. Afterward, there is a period of rest and less worry for David.
It wasn’t long before David acted in distrust towards God. In Samuel 24, he conducted a census. The goal was to establish the number of men capable of participating in a war. This was wrong in God’s sight because he was essentially trusting in the strength of his army and not in the God who had given him victory over his enemies in the past. It was an expression of reliance on the hundreds of thousands of the forces that were under his command and doubt in the Lord who supplied men for war whenever needed. Exodus 30:12 also states the need for a ransom for lives whenever a census was taken, so that there would be no plague. God punished David by sending a pestilence in Israel. Many of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.
God commanded His angel not to strike Jerusalem. David saw the angel of the Lord and said, “Behold, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand be against me and against my father’s house.” (2 Sam 24:17) Through David’s sin, judgment befell the people of Israel. Here, we are reminded of Adam, by whose sin judgment came to all men. Though sinful and imperfect, David mediated for the people of Israel. This points us to Christ, the perfect and sinless Messiah, who intercedes for God’s people that the wrath of God may not befall them.
David was then commanded by God, through prophet Gad, to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite so that the plague could be averted. He declined Araunah’s offer of giving the threshing floor and oxen for sacrifice as a gift, saying that he would not offer to God a sacrifice that hadn’t cost him. He paid 50 shekels for the piece. Christ went to an even greater extent than David. He paid for our sins using his own body and life. “And David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.” – 2 Sam 24:25 Christ offered His own body as a sacrifice for our sins so that all who believe Him can be spared from the wrath of God.
Later, God ordered Solomon to build the temple of Jerusalem in the same place that David had offered a burnt sacrifice. (1 Chronicles 22:1) The temple symbolized God’s presence among His people. It was not only a place of worship but also the place where atonement for sins was made through the sacrifice of animals. The priests served in the temple by acting as mediators between God and man. The temple was an embodiment of ‘the gospel’ to the people of the old testament. It was the solution that God offered for their escape from sin and eternal damnation.
In Christ the work of redemption is complete. He is the temple; unlike the Israelites who worshiped at the temple in Jerusalem, He is our place of worship, God with us and among us, and therefore we can worship Him any time and anywhere. He commands that we worship in truth and spirit. (John 4: 23-24) He is the sacrifice; He is the lamb that was slain for the atonement of our sins. (John 1:29) He is the High Priest; unlike the priests of the old testament who had to offer sacrifices of atonement every year, Christ entered the holy of holies once and for all. Praise God that through Christ, God provided an escape from our sin and we have obtained access to God. (Hebrews 9:12)
Unfortunately, the blessings of redemption do not apply to many because they have not turned away from sin and trusted in Christ, to their own souls’ peril. If you are one of them, I pray that by the Holy Spirit’s help you will call on the name of Jesus, ask for forgiveness of your sins, and trust in His complete work of redemption for your salvation. Amen