David, A Type of the Bride
Anyone familiar with the story of David will recognize in him attributes of the Bride of Christ. As we have mentioned, love is the greatest attribute of the Bride. It is no coincidence, therefore, that David’s name means “loving.” From the first mention of David in scripture, we see elements of the Bride of Christ.
When God allowed Saul to be anointed as King of Israel, He was giving the people of Israel what they wanted. They wanted a figurehead that they could rally around. They wanted someone who was striking in appearance and had outward characteristics that were impressive to mankind. Saul, however, failed to lead the people according to God’s will. The attributes that appealed to man proved to be insufficient to impress God.
When God rejected Saul, He sent Samuel to find and anoint a man who would fulfill God’s desire. He sent Samuel to anoint a young shepherd boy who was impressive on the inside. David had a heart after God. David was passionate and his passion was focused upon Yahweh.
Samuel was sent by God to anoint David to be king. In this role, Samuel was representing the Holy Spirit who, along with God’s eunuch ministers, is preparing a Bride for Christ. In I Samuel 16 we read of Samuel arriving at Bethlehem and inviting the elders of the city, along with Jesse and his sons, to a sacrifice. A dinner is prepared and seven of Jesse’s sons pass before Samuel as he looks for the one who is the chosen one of God.
I Samuel 16:1-10
Now Yahweh said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And Yahweh said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh.’ And you shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.” So Samuel did what Yahweh said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” And he said, “In peace; I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. Then it came about when they entered, that he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely Yahweh’s anointed is before Him.” But Yahweh 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 man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but Yahweh looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has Yahweh chosen this one.” Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has Yahweh chosen this one.” Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “Yahweh has not chosen these.”
It was a tremendous honor for Jesse and his sons to be invited to a dinner and sacrifice with the elders of the city. As a father, I am sure that Jesse wanted his sons to make a good impression upon Samuel and the city elders. Indeed, Jesse had some sons that were impressive to look at, and these were presented first to Samuel.
Jesse, however, did not invite his youngest son to the event. David was still a youth and, though he was a beautiful youth, he did not have the attributes that impressed his father. His father did not feel that his presence would contribute anything to the meeting, so he was left out.
In the same way, the Bride that God is preparing lacks that which is impressive to man. Even among the Body of Christ, the Bride is little esteemed. She is rarely at the forefront of what the world sees as the church. While men of ambition and stature steal the limelight, the Bride toils faithfully in the background, overlooked, even by those of her own household.
Samuel must have been surprised that God had chosen one whose father was not even impressed with him enough to include him with his other sons. God had chosen someone who was so slighted as to not even be invited to an important meeting. When Samuel inquired if there were another son, Jesse revealed that there was another.
I Samuel 16:11
And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”
Although Jesse had neglected to invite David, he now becomes the most important member. All others must wait until David is located and brought before them. This wait was probably fairly lengthy. The sheep would not necessarily have been kept close at hand. Someone had to run and locate David and then return with him to the meeting.
Samuel informed Jesse and all the city elders that they would not sit down until David had arrived. This indicates that a dinner was being given, symbolic of the wedding feast of Christ and His Bride. The wedding feast cannot be held, the guests cannot be seated, until the Bride arrives. The one who was overlooked has become the focus of the event to the consternation of those who had misjudged things.
I am sure that Jesse must have been somewhat embarrassed. Desiring to make a good impression upon Samuel and the city elders, he was now causing them to wait due to his decision to not invite his youngest son. Even so, when Christ returns for His Bride, those in charge of God’s house, the church, will be surprised that the treasure Christ seeks has been lightly esteemed in their sight.
When David arrived, his appearance is described.
I Samuel 16:12
So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance.
David’s image is one of loveliness. His skin has a beautiful, ruddy appearance and his eyes are striking. Even so, when the Bride is revealed, she will appear beautiful to all those who behold her.
I have heard a number of people mistakenly interpret the word “ruddy”” to mean “runty.” This does not do justice to the Bride of Christ, nor to David. The word ruddy means reddish in appearance. It is speaking of someone who has a beautiful complexion. In the Song of Solomon the term is used to describe beauty.
Song of Solomon 5:10
My beloved is dazzling and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand.
David typifies the Bride in many ways. His beauty, his heart after God, his great courage, his love of justice, his desire to walk uprightly, are all qualities of the Bride. Another way in which he typifies the Bride is his separation. David stood apart from his brothers. This was not because David was aloof, rather, it was due to his being lightly esteemed.
When Jesse was told to bring his sons, he invited all but David. David remained with the sheep. After Samuel left, David returned to the sheep, while his brothers went to serve with the king in battle. Jesse once more sent those whom he felt were the best qualified and the most impressive.
It did not enter Jesse’s mind that his youngest son would be of any use in a battle. When David was finally sent to the battle, he was sent as a delivery boy to his brothers. No one, least of all his father and his brothers, expected that he would prove to be Israel’s champion.
In the same way, the Bride will often find herself separated from her brothers. Although overlooked and lightly esteemed, those who comprise the Bride will achieve the greatest victories, and in the process they will deliver those who have scorned them.
The Bride need not be concerned about her lack of stature in the eyes of others. As she remains humble, God will select the time of her exaltation. David did not go seeking to impress anyone. The Spirit of God was upon him and he was genuinely incensed at the affront that Goliath presented to God and the armies of Israel. He was seeking God’s honor, not his own.
As the Bride demonstrates courage and valor, she will find herself coming under the attack of those who are walking in fear. She will be accused of pride due to her boldness, even as David was accused by his brother Eliab (I Samuel 17:28).
As we mentioned in an earlier chapter, those who will go further into the temple must confront and overcome fears in their lives. They must express confidence in God even when He leads them to places where their natural resources are inadequate to see them through. There are many who will be unwilling to go forward into these areas of faith. These will remain at the Outer Court and some will become offended at those who would go farther in than themselves.
Those proceeding on in their pursuit of Christ will encounter opposition from their own household, the household of God. In fact, the most severe opposition will come from within the church. Rather than returning insult for insult, the Bride must remain steadfast in her pursuit of Christ, not allowing herself to become entangled with the pettiness of others. This was David’s example.
I Samuel 17:26-30, 32
Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine, and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” And the people answered him in accord with this word, saying, “Thus it will be done for the man who kills him.” Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?” Then he turned away from him to another and said the same thing; and the people answered the same thing as before… And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
Like John, it was David’s love for God that enabled him to endure, bear, and believe things when others faltered. His exploits were inseparable from the trust he had in Yahweh whom he was so passionate about. David did not seek to impress God or man with his exploits. David had a heart after God and these things flowed out of his love for God and his confidence in Him. This is the heart of the Bride.
As we already saw in David’s beautiful Psalm, David had a heart after God and, although he became king of a great nation and had everything available to him, his passion remained the Lord. The Bride of Christ, whether she is abounding or receiving the meagerness of the wilderness, will not have her heart captivated by things of the world. Her eyes will be turned toward Yahshua the Messiah, the Lover of her soul.