Who was David?
Here's the answer:
King David was a man after God’s own heart.
"Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I [God] look at what is in the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7b).
David was a young shepherd whom God chose to become the second king of Israel. God could see into this boy’s heart, and He was pleased with David’s thoughts and intentions.
King Saul was the ruler at that time (the very first king of Israel), but he was not following God’s commands and had become very selfish and disobedient. Saul reigned as king for 42 years, but God was now rejecting him because of his disobedience. So God had the prophet Samuel anoint David as king—which meant that Samuel poured oil on David’s head to show that God had chosen him.
One day, when the Israelites were in a war with their enemies the Philistines, a Philistine giant—who stood over nine feet tall—challenge any Israelite to come and fight. Saul and his army were terrified of this giant and didn’t know how they would defeat him. But young David convinced Saul to let him fight the giant. David went out and killed the giant with one smooth stone and a sling (1 Samuel 17:49), which was an amazing act of courage, faith, and obedience.
Saul soon became jealous of David because the village people thought more highly of David than of him, so he set out to kill David. For eight years David ran from Saul, and twice David had the opportunity to take Saul’s life. But David refused to hurt King Saul, and instead left Saul’s judgment to God, who eventually removed Saul from the throne.
King David goes down in history as being the most righteous king who ever lived, and even though he made some very big mistakes, his life teaches us that we serve a very loving and forgiving God. Even when David sinned, God was ready to forgive Him.
David is a kind of Old-Testament picture of Jesus in the way that he constantly had faith in God, and he knew where his strength came from—just like Jesus! But most importantly, David was willing to lay down his life to rescue just one sheep, just like Jesus did for us.
We know by David’s example that when we trust in God we can be sure that He will guide us, protect us, and bless us. How we look on the outside isn’t important to God—He’s interested in the parts no one else can see, like our thoughts and motives. The two things that please God the most are faith and obedience, both of which David and Jesus showed beautifully.
You can read some of David’s story in 1 Samuel chapters 16—20 in the Old Testament.