Today I begin a series of posts on the early life of David, the great king of Israel. These series of posts on David will be based on the sermons on David by my pastor, Jeff Griffin. Jeff is the Senior Pastor of The Compass Church in Naperville.
Jeff Griffin has been the Senior Pastor of The Compass Church since 2014. Jeff graduated from Wheaton College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Jeff is a unique pastor; he preaches from the Old Testament on a regular basis. Few pastors preach regularly from the Old Testament. Jeff alternates preaching series of sermons from the Old Testament and from the New Testament.
When Jeff preaches from the Old Testament, he does not use the Old Testament text to preach on Paul. Jeff reads the text and then teaches and preaches from the text. Preaching from the Old Testament means that the sermon uses an Old Testament text. The sermon begins with the text and ends with the text. The application of the sermon comes directly from the text.
Jeff is a storyteller. I seldom mention Jeff’s stories in my posts, but the stories he tells are basic introductions to his sermons. Many of his stories are about himself. In one of his sermons, Jeff tells the story of how he ran out of gas on his way to a wedding. In another he tells about taking his son on a roller coaster. Some of his stories are historical. In one sermon he told the story of the civil war between Wheaton and Naperville. In another sermon he told the story about the erected stones at Vinland.
Jeff uses props to illustrate his sermons. When he preached a series of sermons on the Ark of the Covenant, Jeff, with the help of church members, built a beautiful replica of the Ark of the Covenant (one of these days I will show a photo of the Ark Jeff built). When he preached a series of sermons on Hezekiah, Jeff went to the Oriental Museum of the University of Chicago and prepared a series of videos to illustrate his sermons.
In one of the sermons on Hezekiah, a representative of the Oriental Museum brought a rare, antique 8th century B.C. lmlk jar to show the congregation one of the items in the museum. The museum representative carefully handled the lmlk jar with white gloves. He told the congregation that the lmlk jars are jars stamped with the Hebrew letters lmlk. The word lmlk means “belonging to the king.” These jars were probably used to collect taxes for the king.
After explaining the purpose of the lmlk jars, the museum representative, carefully handed the jar to Jeff so that he could hold that rare artifact. To the amazement of the congregation, Jeff dropped that rare artifact and the jar shattered on the floor. The congregation was stunned. How could the pastor break such a rare and antique artifact? It just happened that the jar was a fake and the museum representative was a member of our church. But that event was a memorable illustration for the sermon on Hezekiah.
In his series of sermons on Hezekiah, Jeff preached a sermon on Sennacherib’s letter to Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:10–13). It was a great sermon, a sermon in which Jeff emphasized Hezekiah’s reaction to Sennacherib’s letter. In all of my years in the ministry, I never heard anyone preaching on this text. The reason for this lack of sermons on Sennacherib’s letter to Hezekiah is because few pastors preach from unknown or difficult texts of the Old Testament.
But Sennacherib’s letter to Hezekiah was not the only letter Sennacherib wrote. After I heard Jeff’s sermon on Sennacherib’s letter to Hezekiah, I wrote a post on “Sennacherib’s Letter to God.” In that post I explained the content of Sennacherib’s letter to God and how it relates to Sennacherib’s letter to Hezekiah.
David was the youngest of eight sons of Jesse, a landowner who lived in Bethlehem. David grew up tending his father’s flock. His work as a shepherd trained and prepared him for his future work as the leader of a nation.
David is considered the greatest king of Israel. Because of the covenant God made with him, that his throne would endure forever, David became the type of the ideal king. This ideal David became the basis for the messianic hope of Israel, the coming of a New David.
Little is known about the early life of David before he was anointed by Samuel. The book of Ruth links David with Boaz, a wealthy landowner who lived in Bethlehem. Boaz married Ruth, the Moabite woman who came to Israel with her mother-in-law Naomi. After Boaz married Ruth, she conceived and gave birth to a son, Obed, “Boaz was the father of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David” (Ruth 4:21–22). According to this genealogy, Ruth was the great-grandmother of David.
As a shepherd, David became acquainted with the solitude of nature and found ample opportunity to develop his talent as a musician. As a shepherd, David had to learn how to protect the flock against animals of prey that occasionally threatened the flock. When David met Saul, he mentioned two encounters with wild animals. He said to Saul, “I am a shepherd for my father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and rescued the sheep from its mouth. If it attacked me, I took hold of its mane, struck it, and killed it. I have killed lions and bears” (1 Samuel 17:34–36).
God’s rejection of Saul and his family from the throne of Israel, opened the doors for David to be taken from the depths of obscurity in the fields of his father to a prominent place which would begin a new phase in the history of Israel.
In the anointing of David, we see a clear demonstration of divine sovereignty. No one suspected, not even Samuel himself, that a young man, a little shepherd of Bethlehem, would be chosen by God to become the man whom God raised up to become a king, the man whom the God of Jacob anointed, the singer of Israel’s psalms (2 Samuel 23:1).
The Making of A King
There will be eight posts on the early life of David. These posts will be based on a series of eight sermons Jeff will preach on “David, The Making of A King.” The eight sermons are:
2. “David, The Worshiper – Singing a Song to God”
3. “David, The Giant Slayer – Great Things Through Ordinary People”
4. “David, The Military Leader – Taking the High Road”
5. “David, The Obedient Follower – Obeying God in Hardship”
6. “David, The Receptive Student – Listening to Wise Advice”
7. “David, The Subordinate – Respecting Authority”
8. “David, The Resilient Fighter – Finding Strength in God”
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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If you are looking for other series of studies on the Old Testament, visit the Archive section and you will find many studies that deal with a variety of topics.