King David: The Shepherd
David is one of the most important figures in God’s story of redemption in the Bible. We can follow David’s life from his youth to his death throughout the Old Testament to learn what made him known as “the man after God’s own heart” and an ancestor in Jesus’ lineage. Chris opens a series on David in this week’s broadcast to show his path from shepherd boy to the shepherd king of Israel.
The sins of Saul, the first king of Israel, paved David’s path to the throne. But before he took the throne, David faced an almost impossible task: slaying Goliath, the Philistine giant. But David walked in faith and used his experience as a shepherd to protect the people of Israel and defeat Goliath. As David shepherded his flocks of sheep, God chose Him to gather the 12 tribes of His people and shepherd them as king. Jesus, the Son of David, now guides and protects us who believe in Him for salvation as our Good Shepherd. What a blessing we can now enjoy that we first see modeled in David’s life!
Steve Conover: Welcome to The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. Have you visited our website, foiradio.org? After this episode ends, visit us if you haven't been there. We have over eight years worth of programming on our site for you to listen to. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Steve, today we're starting a four-week series on King David. Actually, King David is a character that is near and dear to my heart because of the influence that he has both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and so that's why I thought we would start a series that's really looking at different components of King David. And today we're going to be looking at King David the shepherd, and how that helped him guide Israel as one of Israel's greatest kings.
Steve Conover: We look forward to it, Chris. But first in the news, according to the Times of Israel, President Biden is planning to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to express his opposition to the judicial overhaul plan, which has been the source of many Israeli protests over the past few months. Israeli opposition leader and former Prime Minister, Yair Lapid said, "As a result of Netanyahu's policies, the United States is no longer our closest ally."
Chris Katulka: Well, here's my take. Israel is certainly working through some deep political issues that divide their country. However, President Biden is stepping over the line by publicly inserting the United States in Israeli politics. I strongly disagree with opposition leader Lapid. America does remain Israel's closest ally because it's not the United States’ job to pick winners and losers in Knesset politics. It's our job to support Israel's vibrant democracy, which is clearly hard at work.
Chris Katulka: Today, we're going to start a new series, a four-week series on King David. Every biblical character, big and small, is important to the story of redemption that God reveals progressively through the Scriptures, but there are certain characters that stand out because of the role they play in fulfilling the promise that God made to Abraham, to bring blessings to all the families of the earth. And I consider that blessing to be the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who brought salvation into the world. Now, there are some characters that stand out in the Scriptures, characters like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the 12 sons of Israel with a heavy emphasis, of course, on Joseph. There are other characters like Moses, Joshua and King Solomon, all important figures God uses in the Old Testament to advance the promise that God made to Abraham.
All you have to do is look at the sheer number of chapters dedicated to these individuals to see that their life plays a very important role. Moses had Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. Joshua has a whole book of Joshua. Genesis tells the account of Abraham's family, his calling, the family tree. David is another individual whose life is accounted for from his early life as a teenage boy all the way to his death, and his legacy can be seen all throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. And that's why I thought it would be good for us to study the life of David for the next few weeks. Who is this unique character in the Scriptures and what makes him stand out from the rest of Israel's kings? I mean, think about it, every king that follows David is compared to him in First and Second Kings, in First and Second Chronicles.
Clearly David set a standard for being a king of Israel, but what was it that made him so special? The best way to understand David and his vital role in the Scriptures is to go back to our first interaction with David in the Bible. So before we get to David's first appearance, let me set up some background here. The tribal leaders of Israel through God's guidance appointed Saul, a Benjamite as the king of Israel, the first king that they ever had. And there isn't much of a backstory to Saul's life, but we know that he stood tall above most Israelites and was definitely recognizable. Saul led the people of Israel but rubbed the prophet and the priest, Samuel and the Lord the wrong way. Saul lost Samuel's support when he usurped the function of a priest in an ill-advised sacrifice that was offered at Gilgal, and Saul angered Samuel even more when he kept spoils of war taken from the Amalekites in defiance of God's command to destroy everything.
You can read about that in 1 Samuel 13 and 1 Samuel 15. Saul neglected to heed God's command in the way that he was to lead his people, and for that reason, God ripped the kingship from Saul. And God then spoke to the prophet Samuel and said in 1 Samuel 16, "Now the Lord said to Samuel, how long will you mourn for Saul seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go, and I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided myself a king among his sons. When Samuel arrived in Bethlehem, he had Jesse bring his seven sons forward. And when they all passed before him, Samuel was told by God that none of the seven sons would be Israel's king."
So Samuel had to ask Jesse, "Is that all the young men?" And Jesse replied, "Ah, there is still the youngest one, but he's taking care of the flock." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and get him for we cannot turn our attention to other things until he comes here." Now, this will play a major role in understanding our future king of Israel here. You see, David was completely overlooked by his own father because he was too young and he was busy shepherding his father's flock. So Jesse had him brought in and now he was ruddy, it says, with attractive eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, "Go anoint him, Samuel. This is the one." In 1 Samuel 16:13, it says, "So Samuel took the horn full of olive oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day onward, and then Samuel got up and went to Ramah."
Think about this, the moment that the Spirit came upon David, the text indicates in verse 14 of that same chapter that the Spirit of the Lord had turned away from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. So in the first 16 chapters of 1 Samuel, think about this, God raises up Samuel as a prophet and a priest, Saul as a king, and now David was an anointed king and the Spirit was removed from Saul, but that doesn't mean Saul just stopped being king. In the eyes of God, David was certainly king, but Saul would remain king in the eyes of all the people, and it would remain this way until the end of the book of 1 Samuel. But throughout the course of David's kingship, his shepherding background will play a major role in guiding him as Israel's king.
For instance, let's move forward just one chapter to 1 Samuel chapter 17, the famous passage when David killed Goliath. Saul and the Israelite army are pitted against the Philistines and their champion Goliath in The Valley of Elah. The Israelite army fears the sheer size of Goliath, the Philistine. David's father, Jesse sends the newly anointed king to the battle to bring some food to his brothers and their commanders. David had already been running back and forth between Bethlehem and the battle because his responsibilities were not fighting on the battlefield, his responsibilities were shepherding, keep that in mind, his father's sheep. And when David arrived to the battle, he ran to the front lines to hear that Saul was willing to give his daughter in marriage wealth and even tax exemption status to the individual who kills Goliath. And when his older brother saw him, they were frustrated that David was there and said, "Shouldn't you be back tending to the flock? Shouldn't you be shepherding?"
While all of the Israelites were concerned about Israel's humiliation, David said, "For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he defies the armies of the living God." David went to Saul to throw his hat in the ring to tackle the Goliath problem that was plaguing him. Saul said, "You can't go against this Philistine and fight him. You're just a boy." He had been a warrior from his youth,” talking about Goliath. That's when David replied to Saul in 1 Samuel 17, starting in verse 34, he said, "Your servant has been a shepherd for his father's flock. Whenever a lion or bear would come and carry off a sheep from the flock, I would go after it, strike it down and rescue the sheep from its mouth. If it rose up against me, I would grab it by its jaw, strike it and kill it. Your servant has struck down both lion and the bear. This uncircumcised Philistine will be just like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God."
David went on to say, "The Lord who delivered me from the lion and the bear will also deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Then Saul said to David, "Go, the Lord be with you." Now, we all know what happened. The young shepherd boy David stood up against the giant Philistine Goliath, and having faith in God's love for Israel sunk a smooth rock between the eyes of the Philistine and defeated their enemies. Now, when we return, I want to unpack further the idea that David would use his shepherding position to convince King Saul that he was worthy as a young boy to defeat Israel's greatest enemy. Now, before we do that though, I want to share with you about our new two-day new nationwide conference, Proclaim.
Proclaim focuses on biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah. We're going to be diving deep into topics that should ignite the Christian's heart for God's Chosen People and his plan for Israel. Our passionate Bible teachers will expound on God's Word, leaving the listener encouraged and full of hope. Our topic for the 2023 Proclaim Conference is The World On Edge, where you're going to discover how the sweeping global changes that we are witnessing right before our very eyes relate to God's ongoing conflict with Satan and his plan to triumph over the evil one. You'll be strengthened in your faith and grow in the hope to endure these troubling days. We have three opportunities for you to join us for our Proclaim Conference. The first is July 28th and 29th, 2023 in Winona Lake at Grace College. Again on September 29th and 30th in Tampa, Florida at the Word of Life Bible Institute, and finally this fall, October 13th and 14th, 2023 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at Lancaster Bible College.
We hope that we'll see you at one of our conferences this summer. To learn more, you can register by going to foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone. We've just started a series on King David, and today we are looking at a very important attribute that will define King David's leadership all throughout the Scriptures, and that's the fact that David was a shepherd and proud of it. When Saul was looking at the young boy David, who had the chutzpah to stand up against Goliath, David gave Saul his resume. He said, "Your servant has been a shepherd for his father's flock. Wherever a lion or bear would come and carry off a sheep from the flock, I would go after it, strike it down and rescue the sheep from its mouth." Now, this seems counterintuitive, you would think David might bring up some other battle he may have fought in, or that he learned so much from his brothers who had been fighting on the battlefield with Saul, but no, David goes with the shepherd route.
As a shepherd, he cared for each one in his flock, and when an enemy, a lion or a bear would try and steal just one sheep from the flock, instead of cowering as a young boy, he would attack that enemy and return the sheep to the flock. Now, being a shepherd required care, it required concern, concern for each sheep individually, a desire to lead the sheep to food and fresh water to provide for them and to keep them from the dangers that were constantly lurking in the dark. David may have been young, but the skills that he used as a shepherd would be transferred to different sheep, and those different sheep is the entire nation of Israel. David as king would take a scattered flock, the 12 tribes of Israel and unite them under one shepherd. David would provide for the flock of Israel by establishing his flock as a formidable nation, and he also provided spiritual nourishment for the people of Israel as a man after God's own heart. He protected Israel from her enemies just as he did as a shepherd boy in Bethlehem.
Now, here's what's amazing, the term shepherd in those days didn't just mean someone who watched over a flock of sheep. A shepherd was actually another title for a king, for a leader of people, and David lived up to the standard of Shepherd King. He no doubt had his low moments in life, something we'll examine later on in the series, but David, as the king of Israel, was concerned for the wellbeing of his people. And the prophet Ezekiel, God brings up this issue of Israel's shepherds in Ezekiel 34, and this time God's thinking about shepherds as Israel's leaders who have abandoned the flock, which is the nation of Israel. He says this in Ezekiel 34, "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves, should not shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat, you clothe yourself with wool, you slaughter choice animals, but you do not feed the sheep. You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays or sought the lost, but with force and harshness, you have ruled over them."
"They were scattered because they had no shepherd and they became food for every wild beast. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill, my sheep were scattered over the entire face of the earth with no one looking or searching for them." God says that he will be Israel's shepherd seeking out the lost sheep of Israel. "I the Lord," as he says, "will be their God and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken." Now, listen, when Ezekiel wrote this, it was more than 400 years since David died, and I believe God is saying Israel's shepherds, their kings and their priests have failed them and were only concerned with themselves, but God will raise up a king from the line of David who will lead them, and God will be their shepherd.
It's amazing that when you step back and you think about Jesus, just think of this for a moment. Jesus is a son of David from the lineage of David. He is both God and man, and he calls himself... Do you remember in John 10, he calls himself the good shepherd? What does he mean when he says this? He's saying, "I'm not going to be like the kings and priests of Israel who are only concerned with their own wellbeing. I will be a king that's even better than David himself. I will guide you, I will protect you. I will lead you to pastures to feed you and give you fresh water." Jesus is saying, "I will be less concerned with my own life and more concerned with yours," just as he proved when he went to the cross. Jesus is our good shepherd, but that concept didn't just start with Jesus. That concept started with a young King David who modeled that his selfless shepherd's life was willing to sacrifice his own to save just one sheep, that would make him one of Israel's greatest kings.
Steve Conover: We want to take a moment to inform our listeners that Mike Kellogg, the voice of Zvi Kalisher in our Apples of Gold segment that you hear each week recently went home to be with the Lord. Mike Kellogg is well known for his radio ministry on Moody Radio in programs like Music Through the Night, which he did over 30 years, six hours a night, inspiring series like stories of Great Christians, and he was part of the production of the popular Sugar Creek Gang series among many other projects. And we want to express our thanks to the Lord for Mike's years of ministry and the way he served Friends of Israel as the voice of Zvi. To hear all of Mike Kellogg's Apples of Gold segments, you can visit foi.org/zvikalisher. Again, that's foi.org/zvikalisher. If you miss that, you can also find it through our radio website, that's foiradio.org. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: I have lived in this part of Jerusalem for more than 35 years, and my children grew up playing with their Arab neighbors. Today, my children's Arab friends are adults and they blindly hate Israel. Recently, after many years I ran into some of them, they recognized me and asked about my sons. One said, "Your sons were our friends, now they hate us." I replied, "They don't hate you. I have taught them to love." "Even to love those who hate you?" One asked. "We believe in the living God and the Lord teaches us not to hate but to love one another." "What books do you read that you speak such nice words even to your enemy?" "Would you like to see the book?" I replied. "Yes," they all agreed, "we want to read it and we want to know who wrote it." I showed them the Holy Bible. They were very surprised. "Do you know," one told me, "we want to read this book, but our parents are fanatic Muslims. They would kill us if they saw us reading the Jewish Bible."
I told them that the Bible was given to all people, not only Jewish people. "Do you have a Bible in our language Arabic?" While we were talking, two of their Arab friends were listening. "We too know your sons," one said. "Many years ago, we played football together," by football they meant soccer. "We also want one of those books but in Arabic." I told them, "This is the Holy Bible, and here it is not written to hate your friends. It tells us about faith and love, and those of us who have believed in the Lord no longer hate because God enables us to love." Now, they all wanted a Bible. "Are you sure this book is not only for Jews?" One asked. "I am sure this book is for everyone." They asked me many questions. They even asked in what language they must go to the Lord. "The language does not matter. What matters is that you go to him with your heart, you pray to him and he will answer you."
I showed them Isaiah 49:5, which says, "And now the Lord says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him so that Israel is gathered to him. Is it too small a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel? I will also give you a light as to the Gentiles that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth, thus says the Lord, the redeemer of Israel, the holy one to him whom man despises, to him whom the nation abhors, to the servant of rulers, kings shall see it arise. Princes also shall worship because the Lord who is faithful, the holy one of Israel, and he has chosen you." They wanted very much to read what was written there. "This is the beginning," one said, "we will come one day and speak with you about what we have not spoken about. Are you ready?" "It is my duty before the Lord to be ready." Please pray for these men. We know in prayer we see the mighty power of God.
Chris Katulka: The impact of Zvi's life in ministry in Israel didn't end when he went home to be with the Lord. In fact, Zvi's legacy lives on. Our Friends of Israel Ministry representatives continue to share the gospel in Jerusalem, Israel and really all throughout the world. We also serve Holocaust survivors and their families. We provide free food, medicine and clothing, and we even promote the safety and security of the state of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere. So when you give to the Friends of Israel, your donation actually allows us to advance the gospel of our Messiah Jesus. You can give online by visiting foiradio.org. Again, that's foiradio.org. You can click right there on our donate link. Also, be sure to let us know where you listen when you contact us.
Steve Conover: Thank you so much for joining us this week for The Friends of Israel Today. We heard Chris teach on David as a shepherd. Chris, where are we headed next week?
Chris Katulka: Yeah. David was a shepherd and it defined who he was as a king. But next week we're going to look at David the warrior, another aspect of who he was to help expand Israel's territory and push back Israel's enemies.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, edited by Jeremy Strong, who also composed and performs our theme music. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. And I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. And I'll give you one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
THE WORLD ON EDGE
Biblical Insights Into the Global Transformation
Discover how the sweeping global changes we are witnessing relate to God's ongoing conflict with Satan and His plan to triumph over the Evil One. You will be strengthened in your faith and grow in the hope to endure these troubling days.
A Memorial to Mike Kellogg
(1941—2023) Mike Kellogg, the voice of Zvi Kalisher in our Apples of Gold segment that you hear each week recently went home to be with the Lord. Mike was in newspaper and radio news and production for almost 50 years, both in secular and Christian venues. In 2014 he retired from Moody Radio after 42 years. He narrated the first recorded version of the NLT version of the Bible. For nearly 30 years he taught at Moody Bible Institute as adjunct professor in communications. He and his wife, Nancy Smith Kellogg, were married in 1965 and enjoyed rearing their six children and 19 grandchildren together. We are thankful to the Lord for Mike’s years of ministry and the way he served The Friends of Israel as the voice of Zvi Kalisher.
To hear all of Mike Kellogg’s Apples of Gold segments, you can visit foi.org/zvikalisher.
Apples of Gold: This Book is for Everyone
A man’s children can play a big part in his ministry. Zvi’s children helped him be an effective witness by their loving attitude toward others. They grew up playing with their Arab neighbors, and when Zvi saw these neighbors 35 years later, he found that prejudice had overtaken them. They assumed that his children hated them, but Zvi explained that he taught his children to love. This opened the door for a discussion about the Book that they lived their lives by.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
Your gifts help us to continue proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.