1 Samuel 16:13. Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
There is no more fascinating person in the Old Testament than David. Maybe more than any other Old Testament figure David points us to God’s Messiah, to Jesus himself, and even to ourselves as those who are in Christ.
David was an unlikely king. The youngest of Jesse’s sons and a shepherd boy, but chosen by God over his brothers to be the anointed “messiah” figure for Israel.
The word messiah means “anointed one.” The Messiah is the promised chosen hero who will save Israel from their sin. Almost as soon as Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden God was promising a hero to come and save the day (Gen. 3:15). Everything in the Old Testament is meant to point our hearts and our hope to the Messiah. Everyone in the Old Testament is waiting for him. Who is he? When will he appear? Is David the one?
But it’s not quite that simple. So far in the Old Testament only priests have been anointed. The anointing of priests is vividly described in Exodus. But now, in 1 Samuel, suddenly God has kings being anointed as well. King Saul and now King David have both been anointed. So is the Messiah a priest or is the Messiah a king? Yes.
And this is where David becomes so fascinating. David is the king who acted like a priest. He wore the priestly ephod (2 Sam. 6). He sacrificed before the ark of the covenant (1 Chron. 16). At one point he had even eaten the bread of the presence in the Tabernacle (1 Sam. 21). David, unlike any other king in the Bible, offers us a vision of the Messiah as BOTH king and priest. A vision that is captured clearly in Psalm 110:
Psalm 110:1. The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
2 The Lord sends forth from Zion
your mighty scepter.
Rule in the midst of your enemies!
4 The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever
after the order of Melchizedek.”
But of course David is not THE Messiah. David the sinner could never save his people from their sins. David needs the Messiah just as much as his people do. Just as much as you and I do. Look closely at Psalm 110:1 again. It isn’t ultimately about David. It’s about David’s Lord. His master. His priest-king who will sit at the right hand of THE LORD. Jesus Messiah.
Jesus is the true anointed priest of God: He sacrificed for us. He cleansed us. He blesses us. He intercedes for us, perpetually reconciling us to God by the once for all propitiation of his blood. He understands us, having been tempted as we are, yet without sin. He cares deeply for us. Like David, he leads us into the worship of our God and rejoices over us with singing.
And Jesus is the true anointed king of God: He rules the universe. He conquered all our enemies. He has lead us into an eternal kingdom of joy and peace. He serves his people, providing for them while inspiring them serve. Like David, he is the Shepherd-King. The King who does not demand that we give our lives to him, but rather gives his life to us.
And, like David, Jesus is empowered by the Spirit. Just as the Spirit of God rushed upon David, so too the Spirit came down upon Jesus. The overflow of God’s life giving love and power was upon THE Messiah. And through Jesus Messiah the life of God is now given to us by the same Spirit. The Spirit of Christ living in us, making us kings and priests unto God. His royal priesthood.
Every one of us needs a Messiah. We need a priest and we need a king. We need cleansing and we need guidance. We need love and we need power. In Christ we have the Messiah we need. The priest-king that loves and empowers us by his shepherding presence. The Spirit who pours God’s life into us.
And now “to live is Christ” is to be messianic – anointed by the Spirit of God with the life of God, living from the love and power of our true Messiah each day. Priest-Kings like Christ refusing to demand the life of others while giving our lives for others.
Where do you see your need for a Messiah today? For a priest? For a king?
You in Christ
In Christ you have the Messiah you need. How would your life be different if you fully trusted your Messiah today?
Christ in you
How can you embrace your mini-messiah-ship today? Where can you love, serve, care for, pray for, or lead someone today into the love of Christ?
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