Chapter 8 – Making David King

“All these … were of one heart to make David king.” (1 Chr. 12: 38.)

In one of the chapels of Oxford University there is a beautiful stained glass window, the exterior of which is decorated with sacred pictures from the Old Testament, the interior with corresponding pictures from the New, so that, when the sunlight falls upon the window, the two pictures are blended. An observer, standing inside of the cathedral, beholds the soft evening light falling upon the picture of Mount Moriah and Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Isaac, and at the same time upon the cross of Calvary, which interprets the Old Testament type; or again, perhaps, he will gaze upon the brazen serpent as it blends with the great sacrifice of the Son of Man. Beautifully does this illustrate the connection between the Old Testament and the New, and the glorious fact that all the scenes of the ancient Scriptures are but figures, whose full meaning must be learned in the light of the gospel and the life and death of Jesus Christ!

Of all the Old Testament types of Christ, none is more remarkable than David — born in Bethlehem, as Jesus was, a simple shepherd foreshadowing the great Shepherd, a sufferer and an exile like the Man of Sorrows, he at length became king, and is preeminently the type of Christ as our great King and Lord. In this respect he differed from Solomon, his son. Both of them are types of our coming King, but Solomon is the type rather of the kingdom after it shall have become established in peace and righteousness. David, on the contrary, foreshadows the King of kings in the years and centuries of His rejection by the world, and as He slowly conquers His kingdom and wins the crown which He is to wear with His saints through the ages of glory.

This is His position today. Like David He has been anointed and proclaimed the King of the church and the nations, but like David He is rejected by the great majority of mankind, and a counterfeit king usurps the throne, of whom Saul was the type. The world today is not subject to the will of God and the scepter of Jesus, and never will be until He comes a second time. Even the church has refused, in large measure, to be subject to her King, and has allowed the spirit of the world to control and contaminate her. But the true David has still His loyal friends and followers, although, like the followers of David in his exile, they are often the humblest of men and yet more and more will be the very outcasts of the world, but their connection with David made them illustrious, and to serve Jesus is enough to dignify and glorify any human name.

This is the great business of all true Christians today — to make Christ King. Let us first look at the way in which this may be accomplished, and second, at the character of the men on whom He depends to accomplish it, as illustrated in the picture of these ancient worthies who followed the fortunes of David and won for him his crown.

Making Christ King

1. Each of us can give Christ the kingdom of our own heart. He will not use us to establish His kingdom in the world until He occupies the throne of our entire being and becomes the King of our affections, our motives, our will, and all our heart. This must be done by the full surrender of love — a love that supremely gives Him the highest place and makes Him our all in all. The ancient Pantheon offered a niche to the Christians for the image of Jesus, but they answered, “Our God must reign alone; we can have but one king, and Christ must be the sovereign of all our hearts.” He is preparing today a people for His glory, and this is to be the test, that they follow the Lamb whithersoever He goes, and give Him the bridal love which displaces every other which could for a moment hinder His supremacy. Beloved, have we given Christ all our heart, and do we gladly do it now? The answer of your consciousness is the best test of your consecration.

2. You can take Christ as the King of your life by giving Him your difficulties and adversaries to overcome, and permitting Him to subdue all His enemies and yours and reign the Lord of all. Everything that comes up in your life is but another opportunity of giving Him a larger and richer crown. It is too strong for you, but not for Him. Your land of promise is not a luxurious inheritance of self-indulgent ease, but a battlefield of countless foes and ever harder, nobler triumphs. Every confederacy of hostile kings that comes up to meet you is but another challenge to prove the might of your great Captain and all-conquering King, and, instead of shrinking and complaining that the conflict is so hard and the foes so mighty and so many, you should recognize them as His foes rather than yours, and hand them over to Him for still more glorious victories.

It was of the Lord that those kings should have come against Joshua with the intent that they might be utterly destroyed. Every son of Anak that marched out against the armies of Israel was sent forth at God’s command, not to destroy Israel, but to meet their own destruction; and but for the battle there never could have been the annihilation of the foe. And so he says to us, “In nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” Nothing ever comes up in your life but Christ anticipated it long ago, has been prepared for it from the beginning, and, if you will let Him, will carry you through it in glorious victory. This is the meaning of His kingdom; He is thus winning for you and Himself a mutual crown. Will you, beloved, exalt Him over all your difficulties and trials, and crown Him Lord of all?

3. We can make Christ King by laboring for the evangelization of the world and the spread of His glorious truth and work. We can win for Him the crown of many hearts, and thus hasten His glorious coming.

There are two ways especially in which this can be done. The first is in calling out His bride even from the church; not necessarily in the sense of separating them from the communion of the church, but rather in the sense of separating them unto Him in entire consecration. He is preparing for Himself a bride, not consisting of mere professors, but of those who are wholly His, separated from the world and sin, robed in the whitest garments of His perfect righteousness, and wedded in affection to Him alone as their Bridegroom and Lord.

We can accomplish this by spreading the gospel among the unsaved and sending it out especially to the heathen world. The great call of the Master today is to the evangelization of the nations; and when this has been accomplished, there will be no barrier in the way of His immediate return. Are we thus laboring to make Christ King, spreading His glorious truth, and calling all nations to prepare for His millennial reign? This is the real purpose of God for His church today; not so much to build up great and permanent institutions, as to be a messenger of the glad tidings and to publish among the nations the glorious news that the King is about to come.

Napoleon, in his hour of pride, refused to receive a crown from human hands, but, taking in his own fingers the royal diadem, and placing it upon his brow, he exclaimed, “These hands have won; these hands alone shall give the crown of empire.” But the Lord Jesus desires to receive His crown from those who love Him, and honors us with the great privilege of winning it for Him and laying it at His dear feet. The Lord help us to hasten His kingdom and to add to the glory of His many crowns!

Those Who Make Him King

1. David’s men had all been unhappy, helpless, and indeed, we might say, worthless, for we read that whosoever was in debt or in any kind of trouble resorted to David in the cave of Adullam, and David made them one of his mighty men. Before they came to him they were the outlaws of society, but the moment they touched David they became ennobled, and afterwards were raised to be his princes and the officers of the kingdom. Even so we, whom Christ has chosen as His friends and fellow-workers, are by nature poor, unworthy sinners, with nothing to recommend us but simply this — that we have followed Jesus, and that He has touched us with His royal hand; and this is enough to make us glorious and illustrious. Sinners by nature and practice, we have been washed in His precious blood, and our love to Him is accepted as better than royal blood, and by-and-by He will say to us, “You are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto me; that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

2. In the description of the respective tribes that came up to make David king, we read of the Benjamites (1 Chron. 12: 2), that “they were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow.” They were two-handed men, i.e., all their power was given to their master, and they were ready, not only in season, but out of season, for service and warfare. So Christ would have His true soldiers not only speak out of a pulpit, or to read from a manuscript, but ever prepared to speak a word of warning or comfort or salvation as opportunity requires.

3. They were armed men (verse 8). They “could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains.” There is a difference between a shield and a buckler. A shield is something that you yourself hold, but a buckler is something that is fastened upon the arm and that cannot be lost. There is a kind of faith that we cling to, and there is a faith that holds us and that we cannot lose — even the faith of God — like the buckler on the arm which we retain in the heat of battle, and which even the dying warrior still holds above his breast. This is the faith that Christ would have us receive and in which He would have us conquer.

4. They were courageous men; they feared no danger (verse 15). “These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west.” They had a hard test. As they approached the Jordan there were enemies upon the east, but they scattered them like the smoke before the wind. Next, the Jordan had flooded its banks and could not be forded, but they sprang into the flood and swam across, fearing neither flood nor foe. When they reached the farther shore, still the enemy stood facing them along the banks, but they put them to flight. Perhaps they did not even wait for the battle, for men so brave were not likely to meet a formidable resistance. And when we press through the tides of opposition and the hosts of hell, we shall find our enemies still encamped before us, and each battle will be on the verge of a greater victory still to come.

5. They were true-hearted men (verses 17, 18). “And David went out to meet them, and answered and said to them, If you have come peaceably to me to help me, my heart will be knit to yours: but if you have come to betray me to my enemies, seeing there is no wrong in my hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it. Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Yours we are, David, and on your side, you son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto you, and peace be to your helpers; for your God helps you.” So Christ wants loyal friends: loyal not only to Him, but loyal to His people, too. Their cry was not only, “peace be unto you,” but “peace be to your helpers.”

6. Next, they were wise men (verse 32). “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” And so our King wants wise men today; men that do not waste their strength in misguided efforts, men that are not fighting over old issues long since obsolete, or beating the air with mere speculations and theories that have no practical bearing, men of today that understand the Lord’s meaning for our times and catch his thought for their generation, and are living for the work of the present hour. Such men, like the men of Issachar, have all their brethren at their command and exert the sacred influences which control their minds and make them leaders of the great hosts of God.

7. They were men that could “keep rank” (verse 33). That is, they were adjustable and congenial men who could work in cooperation with others; not narrow, bigoted and impracticable people, with whom nobody could work, as Christians sometimes are, but large-hearted, loving, humble workers, who knew their places, who took any place, who were not afraid to take the lowest place, who could obey orders as well as give them, who could walk in fellowship with other soldiers, who could keep step with other soldiers and maintain the unbroken rank in the host of God. God give us this spirit! The nearer we are to God the less angular we will be, and the easier it will be to work with us.

8. Again, they were single-hearted men (verse 33). “They were not of double heart.” Their whole heart was with David. Their whole interest was invested in his kingdom. Their whole being was given to his honor and advancement. And so we cannot be true soldiers for Christ unless we have given Him all our heart; and nothing can separate us from Him when we are utterly devoted to His honor and interest, every other attachment and every other interest being subject to His highest will and glory, and eternally linked with His kingdom. We cannot have our heart in the world that has no interest in Him and on things that must perish, but every part of our being must be invested in His coming and His glory.

This is also the meaning of the perfect heart referred to in verse 38. God give us such a spirit in the blessed work of hastening the coming of our blessed Lord!

Beloved, we are passing through the days of David’s suffering and humiliation. He is not yet upon the throne of this world, although He has the right to reign, and a sure decree has been passed in heaven, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” But He is now in the days of His obscurity, and the badge of His service is a cross and a crown. He is passing through the world and picking out His future princes, testing them by their loyal devotion to His person and will. Oh, that we all may be true in these days, and honored with a part of the glory in that day.

It is said that the great Ivan of Russia used to go among his people in disguise and test them. One night he went through the suburbs of his capital and knocked at many lowly cabins as a poor, wandering tramp, asking for a night’s lodging and a crust of bread. He was refused from door to door, until at last he came to a humble cabin, where a poor man was attending his wife and newborn babe. He opened the door at the knock of the wanderer, kindly invited him in, treated him with courtesy and attention, gave him a rude bed and a humble supper, and bade him goodnight with great kindness. The emperor lay, sleeping little and thinking much, and in the early morning he took his leave amid many thanks. Late in the afternoon the royal chariot drove to the door and halted. The poor man fled to the gate in great alarm, prostrated himself at the feet of his emperor, and asked him if he had committed any crime to cause his displeasure. The emperor assured him it was all right, and then added, “I have simply come to thank you for your kindness to your emperor last night. He came in the disguise of a beggar to test your love, and now he comes as your sovereign to reward your loyalty. This bag of gold is for your newborn child. As he grows up I will adopt him as my child and will give him a place of high and honorable service in the empire, and if I can be of any service to you and yours, command your emperor.”

So Christ is passing by today. He is coming soon. The Lord help us to know Him and receive Him in His lowliness, and may ours be the joy in that day of receiving His smile and recognition in the midst of a dissolving world and a despairing multitude!