When Israel became a nation, there was a period of time when they did not follow God. And God chastised them as he said he would. Israel developed their own answer. They needed to become a nation like every other nation around them. They needed a similar government. They needed a king.
So, they crowned a king, and the Bible takes quite a bit of space to draw a contrast between the first king (Saul) and the second (David).
Saul was at first glance the ideal king. He was tall, handsome, tough and intelligent. He was experienced. However, he may have followed God, but he did it badly. He was indecisive, petty, self-interested and self-indulgent.
David may have been handsome, but the first impression stopped there. He was normal-sized and inexperienced. He had a normal, lowly job. His family was not important in his community. It was in his character that he stood out. He did follow God. He was decisive, magnanimous and pursued the good.
There are examples if how David pursued long range goals, with discipline, and consistency. The both failed. Saul made excuses; David was honest. Saul pursued David, to take his life to advance his political agenda. When Saul was providentially given into David’s hands, even though he had pursued David for months, David chose mercy. Saul’s leadership led Israel into disaster. When David became king, he led Israel into triumph.
After Saul died, the people began to quickly move toward David. Scripture describes at some length how Israel, common people and the influential, gravitated toward him. And it was written that “there was joy in Israel.”
Joy is in part a focus of the heart.. There is not much joy in the world today, because there is not much hope. People are heart-focused on the bad things. They have no expectation for good. Israel saw in David the foundation of a positive future. They had a mission and a purpose. This mission gave Israel a focus to rally around and be united in. Purpose, unity and positive expectations bring joy.
The family of God has a purpose and a mission. This purpose gives something for them to focus and unite on. This purpose becomes the basis for positive transformation in people, communities and the world. In Jesus, like David, we have a foundation for joy.