The Loveliness of Christ

July 2, 2019
Warren Henderson

Think of three or four people that you really enjoy being with. What are the intriguing qualities of each person’s character that you appreciate? Now imagine how delightful it would be to converse with someone that possessed all of these favorable qualities. Furthermore, ponder what it would be like to interact with a person who possessed every good quality and was void of carnality? Such will be the believer’s experience in heaven, forever. John says that the Lord Jesus is not just balanced in character, but that He is like His Father, full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14). Besides the outshining glory of the Lord, His very character will be a magnet to draw all people to Himself. Everyone will be fully satisfied and edified in His presence – always. Like the Shulamite bride long ago, we too will say of our Beloved, “He is altogether lovely” (Song. 5:16). The Bible character that best typifies the Lord’s overall loveliness is David. David was not a perfect man, but his heart for God, faithfulness as a shepherd, zeal for righteousness, respect for authority, humble disposition, and resolute bravery caused nearly everyone to love him (or at least to respect him). He pictures the prophesied Greater David that would come to fulfill all God’s promises to David, the patriarchs, and the nation of Israel. The Messiah will possess all the lovely characteristics of David and many more without David’s sinful passions. As we observe how others appreciated being with David, may we yearn even more to be with our wonderful Savior.

David’s Anointing (1 Sam. 16:1-13)

Having fully rejected Saul, the Lord instructed the prophet Samuel to anoint a son of Jesse of Bethlehem as Israel’s new king: “For I have provided Myself a king.” Hannah had asked for Samuel, and the people had demanded Saul, but David was God’s own provision of grace for Israel. The progressive expressions in Scripture of God’s joy in exalting David to the throne of Israel are quite exquisite and picture the future day when God’s own Son will be exalted and rule over all powers and principalities. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart (1 Sam. 13:14) I have found My servant David; with My holy oil I have anointed him (Ps. 89:20) He chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds (Ps. 78:70) As commanded, Samuel went to Bethlehem to sacrifice and to anoint God’s king. After reviewing Jesse’s seven oldest sons, a perplexed Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen these.” He then asked, “Are all the young men here?” Jesse answered, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” Samuel requested that Jesse’s youngest son be brought to him. The situation shows just how insignificant Jesse thought David to be; he was not even called to the banquet hosted by the most distinguished prophet in Israel. Of course, David is a wonderful type of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, though first being rejected by His brethren (Jn. 7:5), would later be anointed king in the midst of them (Isa. 61:1; Lk. 3:21-22; 4:18). Jesse sent for David and brought him before Samuel. “He was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’” So, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David as the king of Israel in the midst of his brothers and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him from that day forward. But David would not immediately receive his kingdom; he needed physical growth and character maturity before he was ready for the task. Likewise, the Lord Jesus, “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” before He would commence preaching the kingdom message to Israel (Lk. 2:52). David is first introduced to us as a faithful young shepherd attending his sheep. Scripture refers to him seven times in this way to show us that God chose a proven, selfless shepherd to care for His sheep. Attending sheep was not a glamorous job, but an important one, and the youth that was obscure and unnoticed by others was just the kind of man God was looking for to lead His people! The Lord chose David to be Israel’s new king because He appreciated David’s zeal for righteousness and his dedication to Him. David desired what God desired (Acts 13:22), and therefore, unlike Saul, would do what God wanted. David was not a perfect man, but he had a heart for God.

David is Loved (1 Sam. 16:16-23; 18:1-30)

The Spirit of God had departed Saul and came upon David after his anointing. This reminds us of the Lord Jesus, who after His baptism was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Lk. 3:21-22). Because of Saul’s wretched mental state, his servants asked if they could search for a skilled harp player to ease his distress. Saul agreed to this proposal and his servants suggested that Jesse from Bethlehem had a son, “who was skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” Evidently, even as a teenager, David’s devotion to the Lord and his reputation as a brave shepherd was already being circulated. Plus, David was a skilled harpist! Saul requested that Jesse send him David. Jesse did so along with a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat. David traveled north to Gibeah and stood before Saul, who immediately “loved him greatly.” After David slayed the giant Goliath (1 Sam. 17), he was brought to the palace again where he met Saul’s son Jonathan, who instantly loved David also (18:1). Before the chapter concludes we are told that Saul’s youngest daughter Michal loved David (18:20). After Saul learned of his daughter’s affections, he betrothed her to David, with the stipulation that her dowry would be the deaths of one hundred Philistines. Saul greatly feared David, because of the wise manner in which He behaved. So, the king was hoping that the Philistines would get rid of David for him, but instead David triumphed over the situation by slaying two hundred Philistines. The battlefield became David’s proving ground and, every time the wise victor returned home, his reputation as Israel’s champion only increased. Because David was a model of humility and grace (in contrast to Saul’s selfish carnal character) his popularity swelled throughout Israel and Judah – everyone loved David (18:16; 22:2).

The Greater David will be Loved Too

From his introduction in Scripture, David is a selfless and faithful servant. It did not matter if he was tasked with protecting his father’s sheep from bears and lions or dispelling Saul’s contrary spirit, he would do what was required of him and to the best of his ability. There can be little doubt that the qualities Saul admired in David were what he wished he had himself: youthful zeal, the respect of the people, prudent speech, and the presence of the Lord. There was a charm about David, such that even during Absalom’s rebellion, those who knew his person were bound to him in life or in death. Saul may have been head and shoulders above the people, but David’s inner qualities of grace and loveliness easily captivated the hearts of all those who observed him. Such will be the reality of heaven, for the One whom David pictures, the Lord Jesus Christ, will completely enthrall every saint with His charming character and the radiance of His presence. All will be astonished at Him, will love Him, and gladly proclaim – “He has done all things well” (Mk. 7:37)!