Sitting on a hilltop, surrounded by sheep, the young shepherd looked into the shimmering night heavens in wonder. Later the boy would grow up and record some of the private thoughts that came to him as he gazed into the sparkling starlit skies: "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?" (Psalm 8:3-4).
The boy was David—the shepherd who became a king and wrote many of the Psalms. What can we learn from this shepherd boy's example?
David was fearless. He killed a bear, a lion and the Philistine giant Goliath. Faithful David restored God's honor before a fearful Israel and an arrogant heathen nation. Revering God, he served paranoid, jealous King Saul, who tried to kill him.
In God's honor David led Israel victorious through many battles. His faithfulness moved heir-apparent Prince Jonathan to help David ascend the throne in his place.
Yet David was not immune to fleshly temptations. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband, Uriah, killed. God publicly chastised David for his sins, of which he deeply repented (Psalm 51:1-19).
God forgave David but informed him that his lack of self-control would result in continual turmoil within his own family. Later, David had to flee from his son's attempt to usurp his kingdom. The king mourned as a true father when this rebellion cost the life of his son, Absalom. Then, when David numbered his armies before going to battle, God punished Israel for this faithless act. This was King David, righteous acts, blemishes and all.
A key to David's success and close relationship to God is found in Psalm 51. There we find the very heart of God buried deep in the chest of a contrite sinner (Acts 13:22). His humble attitude helped David to understand God's purpose for mankind.
Awestruck by the magnificence of God's creation, David asked, "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?" (Psalm 8:4).
David knew that man was the pinnacle of God's physical creation: "For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet" (Psalm 8:5-6; see also Genesis 1:26).
The book of Hebrews records David's words, then adds that we have not yet reached our awesome destiny: "For in that He [God] put all in subjection under him [man], He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him" (Hebrews 2:6-8).
We then read that God, through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:9-11), will bring "many sons to glory" (Hebrews 2:10). The time is coming when we can truly be "crowned . . . with glory and honor" (Psalm 8:5), when those faithful to God will reign on earth as kings and priests to God (Revelation 5:10). The crown of glory and honor of which David spoke is part of our destiny. Be sure to request our free booklets Why Were You Born? and The Road to Eternal Life to discover more about your awesome future!