9 Important Lessons from the Life of David

It is always interesting to read about the early Bible patriarchs and all that they did to make history. Like many others, David is one whose life is worthy of emulation. This is because he represents many positive things that a believer must build up and learn from his life.

The name "David" simply means “beloved”. He was the youngest son of Jesse and the champion that killed Goliath, the Philistine giant. He is also the third king of Israel and succeeded Ishbosheth, the son of King Saul. From shepherd to kingship, these interesting lessons to learn from the life of David cuts through his  triumph over every obstacle thrown his way in life. Learning from David's life will help us apply these lessons to our lives as believers.

7 Lessons from the Life of David - Shepherd and King by Akinjobi Oluwagbemisola Temitope

1. Prepare, even in Silence

The first lesson from the life of David is the fact that David prepared for kingship in great silence. In 1st Samuel 16:11-12, Samuel had visited the house of Jesse in search of the Lord's anointed who would serve as King over Israel. According to scriptures, Jesse brought forward all his children who he thought were thee best fit for kingship. Upon Samuel's request, Jesse confessed  that the last of them - David - was tending their flock of sheep. Then Samuel asked Jesse to send for him. When David appeared, 1st Samuel 16:12 says "he was ruddy, and without a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he". This explains that David's standing and outward appearance did not make him fit for the position of King. Anyone who goes through the stage of proper preparation will definitely have his body soiled in the process. While God is preparing us as believers for kingship, we have to roll our sleeves and put in the work with so much dedication and sacrifice.  Also, at the point of coronation, it doesn't always look like it, but it definitely is. 

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Another thing to learn here is that time reveals your preparation. All the hard work you put in will show forth in due time. Just like David, your current standing among family members and colleagues may make them to think less about you. Scriptures says that he was "Ruddy" just like a baby and he didn't have the  huge physical stature or the stern face a king should have, yet he was chosen! That taken, no matter your physical, financial or intellectual standing, you are still very much useful for the work of God!

Read: How to Trust God's Timing (Is God's time truly the best?)

2. Be Humble

David had a very humble spirit. In 1st Samuel 16:21, David's  humble character was evident in the house of Saul. The Bible records that David "stood before" Saul and he "loved" him greatly. David also became Saul's armour bearer. Now, this is not supposed to be a big issue, but for someone who knows that Saul had wronged God and that God had appointed him to take Saul's place, it takes only humility and reverence to serve in the palace. Also, in 1st Samuel 16:23, the evil spirit from God was upon Saul and then "David took an harp, and played with his hand": so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. In this case, there is really no way a king would have loved a shepherd boy like David unless there is something likable about him which in this text is David's obvious humility. David never thought to be rude because he had been anointed to be king. Instead, he helped king Saul's mental health with his music. This is the same lesson for us a believers. Humility is a fruit and we are supposed to bear this like every other fruit of the spirit. Do not be in a rush to oust your predecessors. Instead, be humble, and learn from them. In the long run, you will discover that God truly exalts the humble.

3. Take Opportunities Wisely

Again, David never took any opportunity lightly. One spectacular illustration for this was recorded in 1 Samuel 17:26 which talks about how David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who [is] this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? In this case, David did not see the problem. Instead he saw the opportunity in the problem. Upon his victory, David received many gifts specially from the king and also got a wife (Micah, the king's daughter). This was a honour because he solved a problem. Today, it is heart wrenching to see people passing over opportunities repeatedly  because the problem looks gigantic when the solution lies with you if only you could look deeper..you can't take your world by doing nothing!Rise up and do something!

4. Sieve Criticism

Another lesson from the life of David is to learn how to sieve criticisms. David never allowed the thoughts of others to affect his position and will at any time. In 1st Samuel 17:28, his eldest brother, Eliab heard when he spoke with the men and was angered against David. He queried him as regards the ship left in the wilderness and asked why he had come to the battlefield instead of tending the flock. He further says "I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle" (KJV).

In your quest to take up all opportunities, people might try to discourage you by saying you are not qualified,  have no connection or that you just don't have the talent".In this case, simply behave as David did  by "turning to another". When you surround yourself with beautiful people who are positive thinkers just like in our article here, your reward will definitely come out great. You can read up on How to Build Spiritual and Profitable Friendships here

5. David was fruitful at all cost

In Saul's lifetime, he never killed a giant. As a result, there was no giant killer in his army. On the other hand, David killed Goliath and afterwards, many giant killers arose in the land of Israel. The Bible records later that Sibbecai killed Sippai and Elhanan killed Lahmi (Goliath's brother). Also, Jonathan (son of Shimea, David's brother) killed a giant too in 1st Chronicles 20:4-8. The rule in being fruitful is that it always takes one to make one. A lion will never give birth to a dog just as a goat will not birth a fish. God as  a father Himself birthed us in His own kind according to scriptures in the book of Genesis. Again, Proverbs 22:5 says "We are gods for we are children of the most High God". In like manner, God wants us as believers to raise men after God's kind. We are meant to grow into the perfect will, understanding and stature of God just as David's strength helped others to rise.


6. Be Persistent

David was persistent in everything, including defeating his enemies. The Bible records in 1st Samuel 17:50-51 that David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but [there was] no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. In the first verse, the philistine was already down but David did not stop there - he beheaded his enemy. The philistine could have been revived if David had not finished him off. This shows that you cannot afford to be merciful to your problems. You must confront them and gain victory in the place of prayer. Don't stop because it has fallen. You should only stop when you finish them off and you can do that with persistence in prayer.

7. David had a Sense of Responsibility

In 2nd Samuel 24:2, we see that King David asked Joab the captain of the host to go through the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and number the people, that I may know the number of the people. However, in 2nd Samuel 24:10, David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

2nd Sa 24:17 And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house.

The text was when David tried to number the house of Israel,God was angry at him but David did not give excuses..he didn't say,"O God,it was Joab who didn't stop me"...he took all the blame!Even ready to be punished for it. Now, check yourself, how many times have you tried to run away from being held responsible for what you did by giving a variety of excuses..."it is not my fault"...don't be ready to say this at all times. Be responsible.

8. David was submissive to authority ( 1 Samuel 17:17-22)

David was an obedient child to God and to his parents. When his father sent him to go and take the food to his brothers, he went without complaints. He also took care of the sheep that was left in his care and ensure that they were all safe. David also respected and submitted to those in authority. He didn’t kill King Saul even when he had the opportunity to do that. Although King Saul tried to kill him many times but David said that he was God’s anointed and he will not do anything to him (1 Samuel 24:3-6, 26:9-11)

9. God was his backbone (1 Samuel 17:45-47, Ps 25:1-5)

David was a dedicated child of God. He never left God, even in his reign and fame. He obeyed God’s word and didn’t depend on his strength to kill Goliath.

In most of his psalms, he revered and trusted in God, praised and prayed to him.  

When God sent a prophet to tell him about his sins and his punishment, he didn’t argue or try to defend himself. He cried out to God for mercy instantly and God had mercy on him.

This is why God called David “a man after his heart”, because he always repented when he sins and praises God with all his heart.

3. He was a Great Warrior

From scriptures in 1st Samuel 18:2-7, we read about how King David was a man of war. He fought many battles and won victoriously with his army. The wars King David fought include the killing of two hundred Philistines as bride price for Michal (1st Samuel 18:24-27). He also saved the town of Keilah by fighting against their enemies (1st Samuel 23:1-6). Again, King David fought the Amalekites, to rescue his family and members of his soldiers’ family. (1 Samuel 30:1-17). These are just a few but each time, we are reminded that while he was a great warrior, he always fought for the truth and did not take sides with the enemies to fight their battles (1st Samuel 29:10-11)


There is much more to learn from the life of David. These lessons would change our outlook and approach to life generally.




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