Godís Inheritance of Glory in Sons
by T. Austin-Sparks

Chapter 2 - David an Illustration of the Meaning of Sonship

"And Jesus, when He was baptised, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:16-17).

"...That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased: I will put My Spirit upon Him" (Matt. 12:17-18).

"...To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6).

"Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering" (Col. 3:12).

We are occupied with God's inheritance of glory in sons. We read in the previous chapter passages of Scripture relevant to that. You will have noticed that the verse preceding Ephesians 1:6 indicates that He "foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself... to the praise of the glory of His grace". And then immediately it goes on to speak of our acceptance in the Beloved, which means our acceptance in Christ, the beloved Son. So it is that the universe is horizoned by this one object. God has, so to speak, thrown around this universe a horizon, and that horizon is His glory in sonship. We are going to seek to get nearer to that, taking a further step inward at this time.

We turn to the book of the Revelation to help us in this movement. You know that this book of the Revelation is pre-eminently wonderful for one reason, that it gathers into itself the whole Bible. It is not a very great book so far as pages are concerned, but it is a very great book in the sense that it has, within its quite brief compass, the whole Bible. It is the book of inclusion. The Old Testament is referred to definitely some twenty-eight times in this little pamphlet, but that does not convey everything. If you were to look at those twenty-eight references, you would find that each one of them represented a very great deal of the Old Testament. Then, it is the book of conclusion, that is, that while it gathers up into itself the whole of the Old Testament, it brings all that has gone before to a conclusion. It is the book of consummation. This is the end of all that that has been, and this is how it works out. And then it is the book of realisation. Here we have spiritual and literal fulfilment of all that has gone before.

I wonder if you have noticed that the last lines of that book gather the Old Testament together in a very remarkable way? In verse 19 we read the summing-up words of everything: "If any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life...". That links the end with the beginning. Here the closing words of the Bible link on with the book of Genesis right at the beginning: "the tree of life". And then again in verse 16, the second part of the verse: "I am the root and the offspring of David." That takes us right into the centre of the Old Testament and throws back from that to all that had gone before, and leads on to all that follows.

"The Root and Offspring of David"

This is a remarkable statement, and it is a very significant word. "I am the root and the offspring of David." It is remarkable that it should be almost the final statement of the Bible. What does it mean? Well, "I am the root of David" means that all that David signifies and implies comes from Christ. David derives his significance, his value, his meaning, his everything, from Christ. Christ is his root. Well then, Christ must go a long way back if He is the root of David. All that led up to David came from Christ. That means Christ is God's eternal Son.

"The offspring of David" means that Christ takes up into Himself all that David ever signified and inherits all that David represented, and that is no small thing. Christ is David's inheritance. David is Christ's inheritance. Those words in Luke 1:32: "The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David." Those words get very near to this matter in the last chapter of the Revelation. David has a large place in the New Testament, for he is referred to by name in the New Testament no fewer than forty-seven times, but then in addition to that there are all the quotations from David, from his Psalms, in the New Testament. And if again you look at all those references to David in the New Testament, you will find that they contain in themselves a very great deal indeed.

The statements about David in the New Testament are tremendous, sometimes breathtaking. So we must look to see what David is, in order to get to this matter of God's inheritance of glory in sons. That necessitates the reading of some other passages, and it is all about David: "Which also our fathers, in their turn, brought in with Joshua when they entered on the possession of the nations, that God thrust out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; who found favour in the sight of God, and asked to find a habitation for the God of Jacob" (Acts 7:45-46). "When He had removed him (that is, Saul the son of Kish), He raised up David to be their king; to whom also He bare witness and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who shall do all My will" (Acts 13:22). "Then thou spakest in vision to thy saints, And saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David My servant; with My holy oil have I anointed him: with whom My hand shall be established; Mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact from him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him" ... "It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as the faithful witness in the sky" (Ps 89:19-37).

David the Beloved

Now, what is the point? First of all, the meaning of his name. The name 'David' means 'Beloved'. "Who found favour in the sight of God", "a man after My heart". You can already hear something leading to, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17); "...made us accepted in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6 A.V.). David, by his very name, is a pointer to God's Son and by his very name links in with this matter of sonship where the glory of God is going to be found universally.

David the Anointed

But that is not the only link with Christ. Have you noticed that the first time that David's name is actually mentioned is in connection with the Holy Spirit coming upon him? "Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward" (1 Sam. 16:13). The first mention of his name is connected with the Spirit of God coming upon him. You notice that the first time that the Lord Jesus is called the Beloved was when the Holy Spirit came upon Him: "This is My beloved Son". "I have chosen David," said the Lord, "With My holy oil have I anointed him" (Ps. 89:20). The chosen and the anointed of God on the basis of sonship, and when that happens, destiny is settled, and what a destiny! Things are just bound to happen.

Everything Moves to David

Everything will most certainly move towards that one. Whoever may have drawn away and for a time held something other than on that Divine basis of sonship will have to let it go; they will just have to let it go. It will be taken from them and it will all move in a transition towards the one chosen and anointed of God. Do you see how that happened with David? Even in the day when he was chosen and anointed, Samuel was not disposed to think that David was the one. David's brothers came before Samuel, these men evidently of great stature and fine physique who were obviously men of war in the natural sense. As they passed before Samuel one by one, and he came to one more outstanding than all the others, he said in his heart, "Surely the Lord's anointed is before me" (1 Sam. 16:6). He was wholly disposed towards that one, and would have been disposed, I take it, towards any of the others before David. But the Lord said, 'This is not he.' "Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." It seemed that all the brothers had passed before Samuel and he was left with a question. 'What is the meaning of this? I was told that it was in the house of Jesse that I should find the man of God's choice. The house of Jesse has passed before me, and the Lord will not let me do anything about any one of them.' And so he turned to Jesse, "Are here all thy children?" Jesse said, "Well, there is another one, I did not think it worth bringing him, he is the youngest, he is looking after the sheep. We thought that any of these would come before him...". Samuel said, "Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he come hither." When David came, the Lord said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he", and Samuel had to make a transition from all others to David. He was God's chosen and in heaven he was God's anointed, and everything had to move to him.

And from Samuel onward this course of transition took place in all directions. Presently some men of Israel will join David. Movement will begin, movement towards David. Sooner or later his own brothers had to join David. They were clearly not favourable to him, indeed they were very angry with him and had no place for him. They said, "What have you done with those few sheep? You go back and look after them. Your place is there, not here" (1 Sam. 17:28). There had to be this transition to David. I am not going to point you to the Scriptures, but there is one Scripture which definitely says that one of the brothers of David was mentioned in connection with David's wars.

And then it was almost like a landslide. All Israel began to turn from Saul to David, and although Saul himself was David's greatest enemy, and most bitterly against him, he was compelled to utter the words that David was God's anointed. "I know that thou shalt surely be king" (1 Sam. 24:20), said Saul. Here is everything in transition, moving towards David, the beloved of God.

Do I need to follow that through with the still greater Beloved, the Anointed, the Chosen and the anointed of God, His dearly-beloved Son? You just cannot stop it. There is a movement in heaven towards Jesus Christ, God's Son. God has fixed the destiny of this universe in Him. God has deter­mined to have all glory in His creation in Christ, and it has just got to be. Men have done everything in their power to stop the dry rot of their kingdom, but what happens? The more they persecute, the more they grow. The more they stand in the way, the more God goes on in spite of them. The Lord Jesus was forsaken, smitten, buffeted, spat upon, mocked. They cried: "Away with Him, crucify Him." They ushered Him by sheer force to the cross and pierced Him. That is one side of the story. But He was God's anointed, and that is the other side, and so today there are countless numbers who have been with Him through the generations, waiting for the day. They have gone from this earth. There is a great multitude on the earth, and we trust there will be many more added day by day, but it is a tremendous transition. And if we want any argument at all, we have only got to look at history in relation to Christ, any argument that in the end God is going to get glory to Himself through His Son.

But let us come back to David. Saul and all with him were in a carnal condition when David was anointed. We know the meaning of Saul: man's idea of rulership, of kingship; man's choice, something in which man glories, of which man boasts, the natural man, and all Israel was in a very carnal state, for Samuel said to the Lord, "They have asked them a king like the nations". And if we want anything more utter concerning their carnality, it is the reply of the Lord: "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me" (1 Sam 8:7). That is the state of things. Saul then, and all with him, represent the carnal man in relation to Divine things, with a hand upon the things of God. David is a man of the Spirit, the spiritual man, who is the rightful heir to the things of God. One takes possession for himself and his own glory and satisfaction. That is Saul. David came into possession for the glory of God, and that is the key to David's life. You may have a lot of things against David. You may ask a lot of questions about David. There are those black spots in his life. You may wonder why God committed Himself to David as He did, why God made so much of David in view of those things. The answer is that David had a heart for God and "the Lord looketh on the heart", and God can do wonderful things when it is like that. That is only another way of saying 'a man of the Spirit', for a man of the Spirit has heart for nothing else and no one else but God, and certainly not for himself.

David's Separation from Saul and His House

But note, this transition and this ascendancy of David ran along parallel with David's separation from Saul and his house. That separation did not take place all at once. It had a quiet beginning and it was very gradual, but it was very sure. This is a very important and significant thing to note, this move­ment which began in David's life away from the house of Saul. It seemed slow, but you can see it taking on strength, becoming more and more defined until the complete break with the house of Saul was made, and God attested David by this transition. One thing after another falling to David ran parallel to that separation from the house of Saul. The more David became separated from the house of Saul, the more the Lord attested him, the more the Lord added to him. Have you noticed that in the life of David? When the last break came, then David came into his full position.

The house of Saul, as we have said, is carnality. It is the flesh, it is the natural man touching and handling the things of God. Oh, no, it is not the world, it is not the unsaved, it is the people of God, but the people of God in a worldly position, a worldly state, the people of God who are keeping up the religion, but it is just form and not of the Spirit. They are maintaining a certain form of things, the tradition, the history, but they are not in harmony with it by the anointing. There is all the difference between a Christianity that is traditional, historical and institutional, and a Christianity that is anointed with the Holy Spirit. You know the difference, I am sure, between those two things. You can meet people who can say they are Christians. You say, "Are you a Christian?" "Yes, I am a Christian, do you think I am a heathen?" But you do not meet the Lord. You have no sense that they know the Lord, you do not realise that the greatest thing about a Christian is that here is one in whom the Lord is. You meet the Spirit of Christ here, the Spirit of Life, the Spirit of Light, the Spirit of Love and the Spirit of Power. Yes, and you can go further and be very religious in your form, your going to church, and your taking Holy Communion and your going through certain other rites, yes, all that in a very devout way. There was something of that in Israel in the days of Saul, and yet the anointing was not there, the Spirit of God was not there, the Lord was not there; He had left it and He had left Saul. Now David must leave it, and only as David does leave it and stands clear of that carnal state will the Lord work out this destiny and cause things to pass to him.

Do you notice something like that happened with the church at the beginning? In the beginning, in the first days of the church's history as we have it in the book of the Acts, we do not find an instant and complete break with the old tradition. Some were still clinging to the temple and to some of the feasts and the rites of Judaism. It was not until, by slow and gradual movement, at last that they took spiritual ground and repudiated Judaism as such, historical, traditional and institutional religion as such, and took the ground of Christ wholly, that the Lord set His full seal on them. You can see the movement from Jerusalem, from Judaism, from the old ceremonies; the movement to Christ. The letter to the Hebrews is the great document of that transition.

Now, you see with David there had to be separation from that in which Satan had a footing, and that was religion. An evil spirit came upon Saul, that is the devil, a foothold of Satan in that system. The Spirit of the Lord came upon David and David had to come out where the Spirit of the Lord was in utterness. And as that went on gradually and steadily, but most surely, things moved to David, and he was shown to be God's beloved, God's chosen.

David's History Repeated in Every Son

Now these are things inseparable from God's glorious inheritance in sons. There must be first of all a recognition of our election. The apostle makes so much of that, telling us that we were elect, we were chosen in Christ. There must be a recognition of this and an acknowledgment and acceptance of it, that we are the Lord's by His own sovereign act of choice, and of coming into line with that. The Lord is our owner. He has chosen - oh, mystery of mysteries that He should have done it, but there it is - He has chosen. That is an essential thing, in the long run, to His glorious inheritance.

Anointed: the Holy Spirit, when He got hold of men in New Testament times made them exceedingly particular about this matter. When people turned and professed to have come to Christ, and were said to have believed, these Holy Spirit filled and governed men would not just accept it as report. Neither would they accept it as just an attitude or a statement of the people concerned. They went where it happened to make sure, by taking care that these people did really, in an act, receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit knew what He was doing. His great inheritance, God's great inheritance of glory, is only in anointed people, those who have received the Spirit of God, and you may be a professing believer and say you are that, but the question is, 'Have you received the Holy Spirit?' Paul was meticulous about that. When he came to Ephesus and found certain disciples, he said, "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?" (Acts 19:2). Now, this is not just some doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The whole destiny of the church hangs upon this, and the whole inheritance of God in glory hangs upon it, whether you and I are spiritual people, made so by having been born of the Holy Spirit and having received the Holy Spirit. Just settle it here that as a child of God called to sonship, you must be in the position to say, 'I know I have received the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is in me.' It is your birthright, and it is God's right to His inheritance in you.

And then separation from all that in which Satan has a footing. That is essential to the ultimate glory, and the glory of God will be progressive according to our separation from all that is carnal, sensual, and, as the apostle adds, devilish or demonised. Now, immediately after David was anointed, what happened? He had to meet the devil. He was anointed. Now there is a history going on in the unseen. This is not all written in the record of David's life, but there is something going on and you can see the spiritual movement as from behind. David is anointed. The evil spirit has come to Saul. Those two are going to be brought together before long with a clash. On the one side, Saul, possessed and governed by this demon, this devil, marks down David. Presently he will try to kill him with his javelin. The battle is set. That very anointing has precipitated this. It is a part of the anointing. It is the issue of the anointing. The beloved is on the field, the beloved of God. Immediately after Jesus received the Spirit and the attestation - "This is My beloved Son" - He was led into the wilderness with the devil. The battle is joined, the conflict in the unseen has started, because of the anointing.

The Antagonism of Satan

And from Saul it will move out to Goliath. That anointing will meet that full development of antagonism to God as represented by Goliath, for he was a representative and an inclusive one. All the enemies of the Lord were summed up in Goliath. Kill Goliath, and the Philistines will flee. While Goliath remains alive, then Israel is in terror and paralysis rests upon the hosts of the Lord. This anointed one must move out, and by the anointing he moved out against Goliath.

But my point is this - here is the parallelism between David and Christ, the two Beloveds. By that very election and anointing, Christ moves out to the kingdom of Satan. Perhaps we ought to take more note of this and more comfort from it. We never do. We always feel bad, we always have a little grumble about it that, when there is something to be obtained in relation to God's inheritance of glory, some more glory for the Lord, then the conflict gets going. We know it, we notice it. Something is to be obtained and we know it very largely because of the activity of evil powers. In all sorts of ways the battle is on. Oh, if only we could and would, that is a very good sign. There is something coming to the glory of God. God is going to come into His inheritance, and we are brought into the battle of this ultimate thing - God's glory in sonship.

You see, Satan then recognised what was involved with David, and he certainly all the more recognised what was involved in Christ, and he recognises what is involved in the church - nothing less than his own kingdom, his whole system, his whole place, his whole power. That is involved where the anointing is and where, by the anointing, God's glory is the issue. Yes, Satan knew all about David and what he represented, what he signified, how far-reaching he was. Satan knew all about it, and that dear man David had to go through it, to fight for the thing that was in his heart - the glory of God. And you must remember, however much you condemn David for certain things in his life, however badly we may feel about those things, and however sorry and grieved and perplexed, we must remember that the more a man stands for the glory of God, the more he is the target of the devil. There is a concentration of evil forces upon those who stand for this great issue of God's inheritance, to catch them, to trip them up and to break them down, which other people know little of. Always remember that with David. He may have been weak and faulty, but that was not all. Hells combined to shatter that man if possible, and take advantage of his weak moments, as those evil powers always do.

The Snare of Satan

And sometimes the snare. Saul sought to get a footing with David in his kingdom by his daughter Michal. He offered his daughter Michal in marriage to the man who slew that giant. See that snare. You follow through the history of Michal and see what a snare, what a thorn in David's side she was, and how in the end the Lord had to bring a curse upon Michal. She was the very instrument of Satan in David's life to ensnare, and if the devil cannot get by open and loathesome means, he will do it by subtlety and subterfuges.

So he comes to the greater Beloved, and says, showing Him all the king­doms of the world, "All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me" (Matt. 4:9). His aim was to get a foothold for his kingdom in the Beloved. He is always doing that sort of thing. In some way he will try to circumvent this great issue of God's glory.

We will go on perhaps later. David - a great son, his name is Beloved - Christ taking up all that David signifies as a still greater Beloved, all that David signifies taken up in Christ, the offspring of David, and then the church brought in, accepted in the Beloved One and called the beloved of God. It is a wonderful thing that that name, that designation resting upon David and then upon Christ, should pass to us, but it is not just a term of endearment, a pretty phrase - "beloved of God", "beloved of the Lord", "dearly beloved". It is something of immense significance. It implies nothing less than that it is with the beloved of the Lord that God's inheritance of glory rests, by these beloved sons in the Beloved Son, God is having His heritage of glory.

Yes, we come back to the beginning. The universe is horizoned and circled by this One, that the glory of God is ultimately manifested universally through sonship. It means what we have been saying. David is a great illustration of the meaning of sonship, both as to its demands and as to its experiences. We have not touched David's life, we have only just begun. What a history David had for this reason: that the glory of God was so much bound up with him. Oh, look again, yes, we are going to look again at David and see what glory came to God through that man, and then you see, well, that is the thing bound up with sonship, standing in the position of the beloved. But look what is required: this recognition of the sovereign choice of God, this absolute essential of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, this necessity for a gradual inward separation from the old natural life until it is final. And as to experience: rejected, cast out, embattled, frustrated, persecuted, pursued, cast down and much more, all in the way of the glorious inheritance of God. And David, after all, is only a faint shadow of the greater Son, the Lord Jesus, who knew more of that sort of thing than David did, but who gave God the uttermost separation unto His will. Of David the Lord said "who shall do all My will". Ah, but David's doing of the will of God was a small thing compared with the way the Lord Jesus did it, "Obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8).

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