Did you know that more is written about David than any other person in the Bible? David’s name is recorded 1,127 times in Scripture, and 58 of those are in the New Testament. Sixty-one chapters of the Bible are devoted to him, and 73 of the 150 Psalms are attributed to David. He is the only one in all of Scripture to be called "a man after God’s own heart."
So there has to be a reason that so much of David’s life was included in Scripture. The Apostle Paul told us in the letter to the Romans that "everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." So, let’s take a look at some of the principles from the life of King David that can teach us and encourage us.
Principle #1: Don’t let the exterior fool you.
You’ll recall that David became King of Israel following the reign of Saul, the first king. Saul had been chosen because of his appearance. He was a tall, dark, handsome guy, and he looked like the right choice. But soon after he became king, he became thin-skinned, hot-tempered, and given to seasons of depression, even thoughts of murder. He was a very insecure, power-hungry, self-centered man. He looked good; everyone, including the prophet Samuel, thought he was a good choice, but he turned out to be a disaster.
If you and I allow appearances and majority opinion to influence our decisions and attitudes, we’ll soon discover that we really can’t judge a book by its cover. The majority are rarely right and looks can be very deceiving.
When Samuel was directed to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the king to replace Saul, Eliab the eldest seemed to be the natural choice. He was tall and good-looking, and Samuel assumed he would be God’s choice. But God rejected him. In fact, Samuel went through seven of Jesse’s sons and none of them was God’s chosen. Finally, the youngest one, the least likely one, the shepherd boy in the field, David, was chosen by God to be king.
Can you think of someone you know–perhaps someone in authority–who was chosen because they looked the part, but this person has been a great disappointment? We are so easily fooled by appearances. The next time you find yourself judging someone by appearances, either positively or negatively, remember what God said to Samuel as he was assuming that Eliab was God’s chosen king:
Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
So, principle number one we learn from the life of David is "Don’t let the exterior fool you." We should ask God to give us His perspective, His eyesight, as we look at people. If you hire people to work for you, pray that God will give you wisdom that sees deeper than the outward appearance. As you form opinions of others, ask God to prevent you from making judgments based solely on looks. You’ll almost always be wrong when you simply judge people by the exterior.