An interesting episode in the scripture with great significance for us is that David was elected king while Saul still was the anointed king of Israel. During a period of several years they were both kings over the Promised Land. Saul was big, handsome and strong. He exuded all the qualities a genuine king was supposed to have.
Saul’s reign was apparent to all of his people. David, however, was more or less unknown and invisible to most. He only gathered a handful of men who were loyal to him and who recognized him as the true king over the nation. When we now are to investigate which significance this has for our lives we will consider Saul as a type of our fleshy inclinations whilst David represents the union life.
From the moment we are born again we are kings and royal priest in the kingdom of God. In the beginning of our walk we are like Saul. We are the perfect image of self effort and fleshy patterns which we hope will make us presentable to God. Our good deeds are handsome in our eyes. We cherish our strengths and we ask God to bless our works.
Simultaneously there is a David within waiting for Saul to die, so that the one who is a man after God’s heart can step forward to occupy the throne. The man who lives after the flesh will finally come to the end of himself. His efforts have been utterly rejected by God. All he has left is his faith, and the faith person who has been there all the time, but has been more or less invisible because he has been repressed by the flesh, steps forth.
Saul, the religious archetype, trusted his own strength. David, on the other hand, put his trust in God alone. But even in our “Saul” period David is given the opportunity from time to time to take precedence, notably when Saul is facing a challenge to big for him. So David pokes his head forth and through faith kills the Goliaths which threatens to overthrow Saul. However, Saul isn’t convinced that this weakling which he to a certain degree despises will secure his reign. He thus continues his life ignoring the power of the faith seed which is disseminated and which at last will conquer and overshadow the flesh.
Norman Grubb denotes this revelation when we discover that we are in a union with Christ the second crisis. We go from this false idea of separation, that is, God here and me there to a secure position of knowing that we know that we are joined one spirit with Him. This insight or revelation turns everything we formerly believed more or less upside down. The scriptures are opened to us in new ways. We begin to see and understand things which have been hidden from us because of our Saul life.
The good news is that there exist a David in every believer who is groaning in anticipation to be liberated and step up as a secure and safe son of His father. He has been a secure and beloved son from the beginning, but He hasn’t recognized it before now. Glorious and joyful is every son who knows who he is in Christ.
To be in the flesh denotes the erroneous idea that we live apart from Christ. This understanding leads to self-effort and a thinking which is sin conscious in its outlook. It is also apt to downgrade our soul and our soul reactions. We can also attribute to the flesh the idea that some soul reactions are more noble than others, which means a division in good and evil. Our soul is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” In Christ it again has found its perfection, its original design.
Fleshy thinking patterns will obstruct the believer from accepting himself as God has accepted him and impede the believer’s ability to recognize who he is in Christ. We now clearly recognize that the flesh represents a false idea of separation. This unsound idea of independence leads to “shoulds” and “ought tos”. The flesh thus perpetuates condemnation and suffocates faith.
Saul, “who was little in his own eyes”, is a typical representative of those fleshy thinking patterns which results in a desire to prove oneself, whilst David, “a man after God’s heart, represents faith and its restful position in Christ.