The story of David and Saul is a gripping one. The rest of the book of 1 Samuel is dedicated to telling it to the point of Saul’s death in battle, as well as the death of his three sons in that same battle, including David’s friend Jonathan, who saved him from Saul more than once. I don’t necessarily see any great or profound spiritual insights or revelations about redemptive history here, but I’m sure they are there. By all appearances it is simply a bloody, war-torn point in Israel’s history where we witness the rise of the Davidic kingdom, out of which a thousand years later will come the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
From what I can tell of timelines I’ve read of this period, Saul was king 27 years before David was anointed king, from 1052 to 1025 BC. From that time, just prior to David slaying Goliath, Saul was king 15 more years until he died and David took over the kingship of Israel in 1010. This is the period which is covered in these 14 chapters.
There is a consistent contrast throughout between the shoddy character of Saul, and David’s consistent focus on the Lord and what he wants, and what it means to be a man after God’s own heart. Remember, that was the qualification God wanted for Israel’s king. We can see clearly that the essence of that heart is trust; David consistently believes God will give Israel the victory because that is exactly what he has learned as a student of that history. And most of the time from a human perspective Israel is completely outnumbered and the odds are against her, yet David knows God will simply not allow his people to be defeated or subjugated as long as they trust in him. How could it be otherwise: these are God’s people!
We can take from this that the new heart God has given us is the same heart he gave to David, a heart that trusts him completely; he has given every Christian the ability to be a “man after God’s own heart.” It isn’t only Israel’s king anymore, for we have all become Davids in this sense. Through Jeremiah, chapter 31, God gives a promise of what his new covenant will accomplish:
33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And Peter amplifies this in his first epistle:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
What God gave to David specifically to move redemptive history forward to Christ, he gives to all his chosen ones in Christ. Words are a weak instrument to convey just how profound an insight this is into the nature of God’s relationship to his people, his New Covenant people. It’s not simply that we must trust in God, which is true enough, but that we can trust in him, because as his people we know the character of our God to be perfect in every way; he is totally worthy of our trust. As Moses proclaims in Deuteronomy 32:4:
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.
This really is the continental divide of the human heart; on one side are those dead in their sin to whom God is their enemy and his wrath their fate, and on the other those chosen in him who has become their Savior and God their Father, their hearts of stone turned to hearts of flesh. The former are skeptical of God’s character; they attribute to him all kinds of faulty human motives, while the latter can know a peace of God which “transcends all understanding,” and in any and every circumstance. This is terribly important because God’s promises are eternal and we judge them temporally to our own detriment.
The perennial human question of how can God let x, y, or z happen is literally temporally myopic! There is a bigger picture here that our finite, and I might add self-centered, minds simply cannot grasp. Our finitude is in fact a blessing because we don’t have to understand it all, any more than Paul or Peter or the rest of the Apostles did, save John, who died horrible death’s as martyrs. And they saw and touched and ate and walked with the Lord Jesus! Well, I guess there were not “any great or profound spiritual insights or revelations about redemptive history here.” Ha!