A Heart for God Part 2
When reading his life story, some Christians feel conflicted by God’s characterization of David as, “a man after My own heart.” He certainly wasn’t perfect. Isolated moments of failure are in plain view on the pages of the Bible. Yet, God praises David for one character trait that set him apart from his brothers and above his predecessor King Saul.
“I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”
David had a heart for God and was willing to do all that God required of him. Exemplified throughout David’s lifetime, that character trait was demonstrated in at least five qualities that gained him the reputation of being a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14 cf. Acts 13:22).
The fact that Samuel had anointed David to be the next King of Israel did not remove all future obstacles. For ten of the next 15 years of his life, he evaded the persistent attempts of King Saul to assassinate him. Although he was on the run and hiding in the wilderness, many of the psalms David wrote during this awful time begin with thanksgiving.
The well-known words of the 100th Psalm capture the heart of King David:
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name” (Ps. 100:4).
In the face of overwhelmingly adverse circumstances, David chose to be thankful.
Regardless of his situation, David also maintained genuine humility. He was real. He knew who he was before God and never forgot the immensity of God’s loving kindness in his life.
For almost a decade, he dodged Saul’s attempts to destroy him. The natural temptation would be to take things into your own hands and retaliate. Even though Samuel had already anointed him as the next king and he had command of an army, David refused to take the throne by subterfuge or force. David waited for God’s timing (1 Sam. 24).
At the height of his glory as Israel’s greatest king, rather than bragging about his accomplishments, we see David sitting before the Lord asking, “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Sam. 7:14).
In attributing his numerous successes to God, David demonstrated genuine humility.
David’s sin with Bathsheba is so well known, there is no need to recap details (2 Sam. 11:1-26). It was an affair involving adultery, lying and murder. God was displeased and sent Nathan the prophet to confront David. Contrary to Saul, however, who always tried to cover and excuse his sin, David’s response was genuine contrition (2 Sam 12:13).
The psalm David wrote expressing his remorse begins,
“Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your loving kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies; blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Ps. 51:1-2).
Seeking grace, he turned to God with a contrite heart.
The Lord was central in David’s mind and heart continually. The 63rd Psalm powerfully expresses his unfailing love for God. David pours out his heart,
“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me” (Psa. 63:6-8).
Through all the shifting circumstances of day-to-day life, David’s heart belonged to the Lord and his actions exemplified devotion to Jehovah.
David’s willingness to engage Goliath was an act of incredible courage; but even more, it was an act of faith. Walking onto the battlefield with calm assurance to engage the hulk required absolute faith. God’s previous protection from the lion and bear prepared him for this encounter, just as the conflict with Goliath was preparation for future challenges.
The confrontation in the Elah Valley was not a one-time expression of David’s faith. As anointed king of Israel, he was confident that God would protect him until his reign became a reality. Dependent upon the God of Israel, David’s life was a demonstration of genuine faith.
What applications can we take away from the life of David?
• Though he had many accomplishments, David never forgot to express thankfulness for God’s care. Thanksgiving affirms trust in God.
• David recognized who he was before the awesome God of creation. Humility keeps our ego in check.
• Because we tend to focus on his indiscretions, it’s easy to miss that David was quick to acknowledge sin and seek God’s forgiveness. Contrition is a prerequisite when seeking God’s mercy.
• Even in dangerous and extreme circumstances, David’s devotion to God never waned. Devotion to God is demonstrated in the way we respond to everyday life.
• Though his brothers doubted, David’s courage was proof of his faith in God! Faith is on full display when we are willing to act in spite of overwhelming odds—no matter who is watching.
Unlike many Christians, God doesn’t expect perfection in those He chooses to serve Him. If He did, none of us would qualify. When you cultivate a heart for God, however, you have the qualities of a life that God can use for His glory!
Copyright © 2016 Charles E. McCracken, commentary only. Repost/Reprint with permission. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1) David Playing the Harp, Sculpture by David Polus, Kibbutz Ramat-David, Israel. Photographic image courtesy, Avishai Teicher [Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons] Enhancement: MKM Portfolios