David’s Last Years
September 20, 2023
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
“We need not fear great men against us while we have the great God for us.”

Though King David had to suffer the consequences of his sin with Bathsheba, he continued to enjoy fellowship with God and continued to experience God’s blessings. God did not remove His mercy, as David celebrated in his psalms. “But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer” (Ps. 66:19). “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (Ps. 103:11).

Solomon was born (2 Sa. 12:24-25). David named him Solomon, which means “peace,” but God named him Jedidiah, which means “beloved of the Lord.” Here we see God’s great mercy and foreknowledge.

David continued to have victory over his enemies. The sons of the giant were killed (1 Ch. 20:4-8). “The servants of David, though men of ordinary stature, were too hard for the giants of Gath in every encounter because they had God on their side. ... We need not fear great men against us while we have the great God for us. What will a finger more on each hand do, or a toe more on each foot, in contest with Omnipotence?” (Matthew Henry).

David received the instructions for building the temple (2 Ch. 29:25), made preparation for that project, and had the joy of seeing his son Solomon sit upon the throne with the people united behind him. 

• David was not allowed to build the temple himself, but God told him that his son would build it and God used David to prepare for it (2 Sa. 7:1-13). 

• After David numbered the people, God sent a pestilence to judge the nation (1 Ch. 21:1-14). It appears that this was because David was acting in pride rather than faith, because the people were God’s and not David’s (1 Ch. 27:23-24). And David was not trusting God for deliverance, but was trusting the number of his people.

• In response to David’s confession and prayer, God stopped the pestilence at the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. David bought the place (1 Ch. 21:18-30) and prepared to build the temple there. Note that David refused to offer to the Lord that which cost him nothing (1 Ch. 21:24). He wanted to sacrifice to the Lord from his own goods. He wanted his offering to the Lord to cost him something. He was a giver rather than a beggar, which reminds us of Jesus’ words that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Ac. 20:35). 

• This is Mt. Moriah, where Abraham had gone to offer Isaac and God provided a ram instead, pointing to Christ’s vicarious death for the sins of the world (2 Ch. 3:1; Ge. 22:2). David’s sacrificial altar on Moriah also pointed to Christ’s cross. Just as God stopped the pestilence from destroying Israel via the sacrificial altar (1 Ch. 21:25-26), so He stopped the pestilence of judgment on mankind by Christ’s atonement on the cross. As the fire from heaven fell on David’s sacrifice, God’s judgment fell on Christ at Calvary. David offered both a burnt offering and a peace offering (1 Ch. 21:26). • The burnt offering signified Christ as the sinless man who was acceptable to God in the behalf of sinful man. It signifies Christ offering “himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14). The peace offering depicts Christ reconciling man with God through the offering of Himself. It signifies Christ as “having made peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20). 

• We will see more about David’s preparations for the temple in his final address to Israel (1 Ch. 28-29).

David exhorted his son Solomon to know God and to be faithful to Him (1 Ch. 22:11-13). “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. ... Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Ch. 28:9, 20). David had failed in many ways in his family, but he continued to the end of his life to exhort his children to walk with God. In spite of his own sins and failures, he didn’t quit trying to help the next generation. This is wise. If you fail in some area of your Christian life, you should repent and get things right and go on to try to help others. And wise children will give honor to and receive instruction from their parents even though they have failings. This is God’s will. 

David continued to write beautiful Psalms by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He wrote Psalm 71 in his old age (Ps. 71:18). This psalm was written to show “thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” To the very of his life, David was passionate to teach Israel about God. He was a man after God’s own heart, a man who had the heart of a shepherd-king. David’s last words were a psalm (2 Sa. 23:1-7). 

David praised God before the congregation and led the people to the Lord (1 Ch. 28:1-8; 29:10-19). 

David was warmed by Abishag (1 Ki. 1:1-4). This account is in Holy Scripture and is, therefore, “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Ti. 3:16). David was “old and stricken in years” and could not keep warm. His wives were old, too. After a search throughout Israel, Abishag was found. She was “a Shunammite,” meaning she was from Shunam, which was on the north side of the hill Moreh. She was “very fair.” She was brought to Jerusalem to the palace and kept the king warm and ministered to him. After David's death, Adonijah asked Bathsheba for permission to marry Abishag. She agreed to talk to Solomon about the matter, but Solomon discerned that Adonijah was again plotting to gain access to the throne and had him killed (1 Ki. 2:13-25). We aren’t told any more about Abishag. It is likely she did not marry. One prominent lesson is that any work in the will of God is a life well lived. From a worldly perspective, Abishag’s life was a sad failure: a beautiful woman who did not enjoy a normal marriage, did not bear children, did not have a husband to grow old with. But she had the privilege of ministering in a small way to the greatest king in Israel’s history, the anointed of God, the father of the coming Messiah, the sweet psalmist of Israel. That is a high calling.

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