David was a just man who feared the LORD. He left an indelible legacy, not only by his impressive military and political leadership, but also by his great, big heart after God: “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1). Though David fell often and sinned grievously, God went after him, and David repented greatly. That’s what makes him a great man! The just shall live by faith.
David provides the metric for measuring Judah’s kings, beginning with his great grandson Asa:
Four generations after David’s reign his descendant Asa “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did his father David” (1 Kings 15:11, emphasis added)
Ten generations after David’s reign his descendant Amaziah “did what was right in the sight of the LORD, yet not like his father David” (2 Kings 14:3, emphasis added)
Thirteen generations after David’s reign his descendant Ahaz “did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God, as his father David had done” (2 Kings 16:2, emphasis added)
Fourteen generations after David’s reign his descendant Hezekiah “did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done” (2 Kings 18:3, emphasis added)
Finally, Seventeen generations after David’s reign his descendant Josiah “did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the ways of his father David” (2 Kings 22:2, emphasis added).
David’s descendants ruled over Judah for nearly 400 years. And all of their reigns were measure by the metric of David—his life before God and his rule over men.
Throughout his life David’s behavior was just. When he erred as in the adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah he repented before God. Many of Judah’s kings fell into sin, but only a few repented before the LORD—“ruled in the fear of God.” Solomon, in a moment of moral clarity, describes the life of a just man, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief” (Proverbs 24:16 - KJV, emphasis added).
David’s final words reveal why he was the metric for all of Judah’s kings, “The God of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God’” (2 Samuel 23:3). These words also speak prophetically of a future Just One who would sit on a greater throne.
A thousand years later Peter, in his Pentecost sermon, uses David’s legacy to describe this Just One, “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:29-30). This King rose up, not in repentance, but in redemption of all those who live by faith and through faith in Him are counted as righteous or just.
King David, a just king, died and was buried, but the legacy that he left pointed to Jesus.
The one who believes in Christ walks in the ways of David. What a legacy!
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