God's Type

While reading about the split of the kingdom of Israel after Solomon’s death I ran across the description of Jeroboam.

Now the man Jeroboam was a valiant warrior and when Solomon saw that the young man was industrious he appointed him over all the forced labor of the house of Joseph.
1 Kings 11:28


I wanted to revisit how God described Saul, Israel’s first king.

[Kish] had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome peson than he among he sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.
1 Samuel 9:2


I then looked up the description of David’s selection:

When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature because I have rejected him; for God sees not as a man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:6-7

So he sent and brought him in.  Now he was ruddy with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance and the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”
1 Samuel 16:12


Of these three kings of Israel, God documents how they appeared to people.  Saul was a very handsome, tall man while Jeroboam was not only a notable warrior but a notable worker who seemed to be a popular leader.  In America we might have elected either of them to office given just these qualifications; they each embodied leadership physically.  The problem for us is that looks do not always align with a person’s heart.

By multiple measures these men were impressive and both were offered a lasting, royal progeny leading God’s chosen nation if only they’d humble themselves and follow the directions of the holy God.  Neither man did.  They each failed to forego their own willfulness and fears and doomed their families and their heritage.


David, on the other hand, appears to have trusted God’s faithfulness at a young age.  Upon hearing Goliath’s challenge to Israel’s army he asks

“… who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”
1 Samuel 17:26

“David said to Saul, ‘Your servant was tending his father’s sheep when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him and rescued it from his mouth and when he rose up against me I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them since he has taunted the armies of the living God.'”
1 Samuel 17:34-36


Although he became king of Israel at age 30, he didn’t always have an easy life.  Although he was an amazing warrior that led a band of mighty men who dominated their enemies on the battlefield by the powerful hand of God Almighty, he was troubled and leaned on God relentlessly.

The man who killed and circumcised 200 Philistines when only 100 were required of him by Saul was also the man who snuck out of his window at night with his wife’s help.  He then wrote Psalm 59


For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth.
A Mikhtam of David, when Saul sent men and they watched the house in order to kill him.

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; Set me securely on high away from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from those who do iniquity And save me from men of bloodshed.
For behold, they have set an ambush for my life; Fierce men launch an attack against me, Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O LORD,
For no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me. Arouse Yourself to help me, and see!
You, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to punish all the nations; Do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity. Selah.

They return at evening, they howl like a dog, And go around the city.
Behold, they belch forth with their mouth; Swords are in their lips, For, they say, “Who hears?”
But You, O LORD, laugh at them; You scoff at all the nations.
Because of his strength I will watch for You, For God is my stronghold.
My God in His lovingkindness will meet me; God will let me look triumphantly upon my foes.
Do not slay them, or my people will forget; Scatter them by Your power, and bring them down, O Lord, our shield.
On account of the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, Let them even be caught in their pride, And on account of curses and lies which they utter.
Destroy them in wrath, destroy them that they may be no more; That men may know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth. Selah.

They return at evening, they howl like a dog, And go around the city.
They wander about for food And growl if they are not satisfied.
But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning, For You have been my stronghold And a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my strength, I will sing praises to You; For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.
Psalms 59:2-17 NASB


David also wrote Psalm 51, demonstrating that he understood God’s desire wasn’t just for the act of sacrificial offering but it had to be accompanied by brokenness in the heart of the one offering the sacrifice.

The faithfulness David showed, even in spite of some sinful disobedience, demonstrates what God desires: humility and a heart that loves God and wants to meet Him on the terms of God’s holiness and righteousness and our need for Him.