David – the Passive Parent

In the Bible, we know David for many things:

  • A shepherd boy
  • Anointed by Samuel as the future King
  • Killing Goliath with a slingshot
  • Chased by the current King (Saul) all around the country and chose not to kill Saul (twice) when he had the opportunity
  • King of Israel
  • Committed adultery and then tried to cover it up
  • Wrote most of the Psalms and poured out his troubled heart
  • Known as a ‘man after God’s own heart’.

Some lesser-known characteristics of David are that of his parenting skills and his relationship with his family. I will first look at the lessons from an overview of David’s life, followed with principles we can learn from David’s parenting skills that we can apply to raising world changers.

You can read about David in 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and the Psalms.


David’s childhood:

David was born in Bethlehem, the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. We do not know who David’s mother was, as there is no mention of her.

During the reign of King Saul, God instructed the prophet Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the second King of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13). Samuel invites Jesse and his sons to a feast where Samuel will anoint the son that God shows him will be the next King. Jesse turns up at the feast with seven of his eight sons. It appears unusual that they leave the youngest son out, until you realize that David is from a different mother to the other sons, also highlighted because they mention his looks. (When you read unusual phrases in the Bible, it is emphasizing that you need to take notice.) David was rejected and ostracized within the family. (Stressed further in 1 Samuel 17:28 when his older brother stated David was conceited & wicked.) Samuel highlights the fact that there must be someone missing from this momentous occasion and the family hastily sends for David. Samuel identifies that David is to be anointed as the future King.

If you were invited to a significant and unusual event, would you make sure that one family member was left out? Imagine the emotions and the detrimental effect on the relationships between family members.


Lessons from an overview of David’s life:

  1. God highlights that man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart and character. Despite David’s character and relational flaws, he repented. God is a just God and a God of Forgiveness. David committed adultery and murder, but he is known as a ‘man after God’s own heart’ (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
  2. Never despise small beginnings. God can use you wherever you are. While David was a shepherd boy, he developed skills in music (playing the harp) and in fighting. He is described as a brave man and a warrior (1 Samuel 16:18). David’s music skills not only endear him to King Saul by soothing him when he was depressed, but also in composing the Psalms. The fighting skills learnt with keeping his father’s sheep safe from lions and bears are used to slay Goliath, the nine-foot giant with a single stone.
  3. Be yourself and use your strengths. Do not try to be someone else. They forced David to try on Saul’s armour. He takes it off and picks up his armour – that of a slingshot and five carefully selected stones. We too can slay our giants with our tried and tested armour. David was known for his courage and boldness (1 Samuel 17)
  4. Saul was jealous of David and tried to kill him several times (1 Samuel 18). Be careful of jealous people. Be friends with wise people. Saul’s son Jonathan helped David survive.
  5. David married Saul’s daughter after refusing to marry Saul’s eldest daughter. Even though Michal loved David, David didn’t love her but agreed to marry her for the benefits that came with her. David left her behind when he ran away from Saul, but chose to take his other two wives with him. Choose your partner wisely.
  6. David was anointed to be King but could not be enthroned as Israel’s King until after the death of the present King – Saul (2 Samuel 5&6). One of his first acts as King was to capture Jerusalem and bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Unfortunately, David was not aware of the laws which govern transporting the Ark, and it had fatal consequences for Uzzah.
  7. David dispatches his army to fight the Ammonites but remains safe at home. This is unusual as it is pointed out that it was a time when all the kings went out to war, but David stayed at home. Not leading his army into battle positioned David for his famous sin. While on the roof of his palace, he sees a woman bathing nearby and is struck by her beauty. Overcome with lust, he commands the woman is brought to him, and he seduces her (2 Samuel 11). Beware of boredom!! The woman (Bathsheba) becomes pregnant, and David tries to hide his sin by bringing Bathsheba’s husband (Uriah the Hittite) home from fighting and trying to make him sleep with her to cover up the conception. Uriah the Hittite refuses to sleep with his wife while his men are in the middle of fighting a war. David then arranges for Uriah to be placed in the front line so that he will be killed.
  8. We reap what we sow. Nathan the prophet confronted David, who then acknowledged his sin and repented. But consequences still had to be dealt with. The child conceived in adultery died. Plus, David’s children committed similar sins. David’s eldest son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar. Several of David’s sons killed their brothers. (Absalom killed Amnon and later, and once Solomon was King, he killed Adonijah.)
  9. Be careful who you listen to. Amnon’s advisor Jonadab plotted the rape with Amnon (2 Samuel 13). Surround yourself with wise friends of noble character.
  10. Tamar’s brother Absalom appears horrified when David didn’t address the issue but ignored it. Thus, Absalom took matters into his own hands. Absalom killed Amnon and fled. Eventually, David listened to Joab and allowed Absalom to return, but there was no reconciliation for two years. Absalom then began a subversive campaign against his father, David (2 Samuel 15:1-37), promising people great things. David ended up fleeing, scared of his son.
  11. Absalom and David ended up gathering an army each and fighting each other in war. Absalom ended up dying when his hair was caught in a tree as he was riding underneath, with the mule escaping and leaving him dangling there. His enemies caught and killed him. The Israelites took a while to accept David as King again. Thankfully, Joab could speak into David’s life and help him.
  12. As an older man, David was physically and sexually impotent and Abishag, a sex goddess was brought to lie with him to solve the issue (1 Kings 1:1-4). The example David set concerning sex was not godly or healthy and is replicated in the following generations.
  13. David’s sons competed for succession as King, with a power struggle ensuing and, ultimately, death.
  14. Solomon, David’s sons, repeated many of David’s mistakes. He had over 1,000 wives, and they turned his heart to other gods. Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 11:4-6).
  15. David repented numerous times and poured his heart out in songs that were recorded as Psalms.


Principles regarding raising world changers

  1. Deal with generational sin.

We can trace adultery and murder down through David’s lineage. He was conceived in adultery. He committed adultery. His son continued the sin. Get prayer ministry to deal with the generational curses within your family line and stop them infiltrating further down the generations.

  1. Correction and discipline are needed.

You cannot afford to be passive and indifferent. David is a classic example of a passive father. He never corrected or disciplined his son for raping his half-sister. Thus, another son Absalom takes matters into his own hands in revenge and kills the perpetrator. When children have clear boundaries, they feel safe and secure. Children need to see you, as a parent, acting just with all the siblings.

  1. Treat all children equally.

Don’t have favourites. “And when king David heard of these things, he was exceedingly grieved: but he would not afflict the spirit of his son Amnon, for he loved him, because he was his firstborn” (2 Sam 13:21). David remained quiet and passive and attributed that to his love for his eldest child. Genuine love includes correct and just discipline. Amnon has seriously sinned against his sister and needed to be held accountable. David remaining quiet and uninvolved meant that he communicated acceptance of what Amnon had done.

Your children will become resentful and bitter if they see you acting unjust or not dealing with issues.

  1. Relationship is more important than rules.

When David fled Saul, he took two of his three wives and left Saul’s daughter Michal behind for many years. Later, David dragged his abandoned wife Michal, who had now married Phatliel, back to his palace and under his control. (2 Samuel 3:13-16). Image was more important than relationship.

  1. Treat your children with kindness and compassion.

David didn’t demonstrate kindness and compassion with his children and wives/concubines but extended these qualities to Jonathan’s disabled son Mephibosheth when traditionally he would have been killed (2 Samuel 9:1-13). Please treat your own family well. Do not extend grace to others when you don’t extend it to your own family.

  1. Don’t get caught up in your occupation to the detriment of your family.

Raising your kids is important. Be present with your kids. David, as King, was busy. He put the needs of the people before his own family’s needs. It appears David spoiled his children, giving them whatever they wanted (1 Kings 1:6, 2 Samuel 13:21). Was this to make up for the time he spent apart from them?

  1. You don’t need to promote your kids. God will open doors for them.

When David was a young kid in the mountains herding sheep, who would have dreamed that he would become King? God can move and arrange circumstances to enable the seemingly impossible to occur. That doesn’t mean that we don’t work and develop our abilities. David developing his fighting and music skills enabled him to be strategically near King Saul.

  1. Are you a blessing to your family when you are home?

In 2 Samuel 6: 20, David came home to be a blessing to his family. What atmosphere do you bring home with you? Would your family say that when you are home, you are a blessing to them?

  1. We all need accountability and wise mentors. (2 Samuel 19)

David enquired of mentors and wise people several times, other times unwise people. The outcome can be disastrous if you listen to unwise people. Being accountable to someone wise means that you are less likely to stray.

  1. Be prepared to reap what you sow.

In 2 Samuel 12:11 after Nathan confronts David with his sin of adultery, Nathan tells David that ‘someone close to you will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. What you did in secret, the family member will do in broad daylight’. In 2 Samuel 16:21-22, David’s son Absalom slept with David’s concubines in full view of everyone. Repent quickly, but you will still have to deal with the consequences of the sin. Also, be careful of what you say as you sow seeds with the words you speak.

  1. Beware of idleness, especially in teenagers.

Amnon was idle and had too much time without any purpose. Teenage boys, especially, need activity and purpose; otherwise, they can easily look for mischief.

  1. Don’t allow idols in your family.

David’s first wife Michael had a pagan image at home (1 Samuel 19:13) despite David being a ‘man after God’s own heart’. Encourage your family to worship the one true God with you. Be careful what you allow in your household. Once you allow idols in your home, you open an entry point for the demonic to have a legal right.

  1. Be wise in your selection of a partner.

David danced before the Lord, but his wife Michal criticized and nagged him. Do not allow others to determine how you worship. Select a partner who will not be critical and nag (2 Samuel 6:20). Pray and chat with your children about selecting a life partner.

  1. Run from sin.

We all need a proper understanding of sin and a realization that no sin is too great for God to forgive. David sinned by being an adulterer and a murderer, but he repented, and God forgave him.

  1. Perception is important.

When David saw Goliath, his perception differed from all the other Israelites. They saw a giant. David saw an opportunity and an enemy that he could defeat. The way we perceive things affects our thoughts, attitude and behaviour. Model and help your children with their perception.

  1.  Keep focusing on who God is.

God is a God who forgives and chooses to forget. God’s love and mercy never end. Always keep a close relationship with God. Bring your children up to know and love God and his mercy and love.


I would love to hear your thoughts on David and how the principles from his life apply to us raising world changers.