—DEC. 1.—1 SAM. 16:1-13.—
Golden Text—"Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."—1 Sam. 16:7.
IN selecting David to reign over Israel God chose one who was not only suitable to the necessities of that people and time, but one who aptly prefigured the Christ, Head and body, selected during the Gospel age and anointed to sit on the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord. In this view of the matter the golden text forcibly reminds us of the statement of the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 1:26), "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught the things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence."
God looked for the same characteristics in David that he now seeks in those whom in this age he calls to be anointed for the Kingdom. He found in him faith, meekness, courage, energy and loving obedience. Yet he was [R1901 : page 278] young and inexperienced and untrained and unskilled in the duties of the high office to which he was called. This latter condition, which, in the estimation of men, would have been an insurmountable barrier, was no obstacle in God's sight; for God is able to inspire his called ones with his spirit and to arm them with his might. So he did with David, and so he does with the Christ—our Lord Jesus and his body, the church. In the Psalms of David his typical character is very clearly indicated, sometimes personifying Jesus our Head, and sometimes the whole body of Christ. Thus, for instance, when he says, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture," the reference is only to our Head; while in other cases, as in Psa. 23, the application is to the whole body, whose Shepherd is the Lord Jehovah.
It required the two reigns of David and Solomon to represent the great work of the Lord's Anointed. David's reign represented the work of the church in the flesh, while Solomon's reign represented the work of the church glorified and at rest from all her enemies.
David when anointed was but a youth. He was not one, however, who wasted the precious spring time of life in sowing "wild oats." He was a bud of promise, a noble youth,—meek, modest, gentle, faithful, courageous in the line of duty, and brave to face danger and to endure hardness in any good work, especially wherever the interests of God's cause or God's people were at stake. Seeing in him this sterling stamp of character God called him to higher service. So he has been calling and anointing with his holy spirit a similar class all through the Gospel age. They are the Lord's anointed kings; but their kingdom, like that of David, is not established: they are surrounded by enemies on every side as was David, and the whole time of their life in the flesh is a continual warfare as was his. Like David, too, they have had it in their hearts to build the temple of God in the present age, that all the world might come and worship. But this privilege is not granted to the church in the flesh, even as the building of the typical temple was denied to David, but was reserved for Solomon, to whom the Lord gave a rest, peace and prosperity which made it an apt symbol of the reign of the glorified church.—1 Chron. 22:7-9.
But while David was not permitted to build the temple of God, he was permitted to gather together and prepare the materials for the building. So the church in the flesh makes ready the materials for the temple of God which in the dawn of the Millennium will come together noiselessly as did Solomon's temple, without the sound of a hammer. David's warfare, then, was a type of the warfare of the whole church, Head and body, while in the flesh, against the principalities and powers of darkness on every side that oppose her to the very end of her earthly course, so that, though she is anointed for the kingly office, she is never established in power, peace and security to the day of her death. Her work on this side the vail is to war a good warfare, and to industriously gather the materials and prepare the living stones for the glorious temple which shall by and by call all the world to worship.
Beyond the vail of the flesh this same anointed company (all the faithful overcomers of this age) will enter into the glorious reign prefigured by the reign of Solomon—"They shall rest from their labors, and their works follow with them." (Rev. 14:13.) And the temple of God [R1902 : page 278] shall rise and shine in its beauty, and in it shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, which blessing was typified by the abundant blessing, peace and prosperity of Israel during the reign of Solomon.
Let all who have this glorious hope in them remember the words of our golden text—"The Lord looketh on the heart." He is looking to see who is worthy to sit on the throne of his Kingdom; and has shown us very clearly the traits of character for which he is looking. It behooves us, then, to see that our hearts (our will, purpose, intention and effort) are in such a condition of loyalty, faithfulness and obedience as will bear the inspection of the all-seeing eye, while we remember for our encouragement that, as shown in the type, no conditions of birth or station or circumstances can form any obstacle to our acceptance with God and our future exaltation with Christ if we are faithful.