When we think about David, many of us think first of three things about him: he killed Goliath, God called him “a man after My own heart,” and he committed some of the “worst” sins out of all the godly men of the Bible. Most of the men who were heroes of the faith made mistakes that the Bible tells us about, but David’s were pretty big, at least, if we try to categorize sins (which we shouldn’t do).
I’ve heard people express a little bit of confusion about how it could be that someone who had such a heart for God would murder a friend, commit adultery with his wife, be such a failure as a father (as some people believe he was based on what the Bible says about his sons). That is part of what God showed me last week.
I was listening to Didier’s broadcast (you can find the message here at the 39:40 mark) and he was talking about the life of David. He talked about how one of the remarkable things about David’s life was how he waited on God—how he knew that God would fulfill His plan for David’s life. God would make it happen in His own timing, and over and over and over again, David refused to try to make it happen himself. We see that when David refused to kill Saul when he had the chance (which would have made him immediately king since some of the tribes already wanted to make him king. We know that all of Israel loved David; he was their military hero.)
I was also thinking about how David had the heart of a worshipper. If you read through the Psalms that he wrote, you can see that no matter how challenging the situation got; no matter how downcast, overwhelmed, sad, or troubled David was feeling, he always chose to worship God anyway…to praise God…to call on God…to love God. He knew where his strength came from. He knew that God was the One who would give him peace and rest. God was the one who made everything worthwhile.
As all these things about David’s life were swirling around in my mind, the thought of his sin came up. The Lord brought to mind the verse in the New Testament where Paul said that it is in our weakness that God’s strength is perfected.
When you think about David’s life, you can see that without God—the fact that God is the One who made the stone kill Goliath, and God is the One who gave him victory in battle so many times—you can see that David was actually a pretty weak man in a lot of ways. He had a lot of faults and a lot of failures and character flaws. But like Paul said, it’s in our weakness that God’s strength is perfected.
I believe God showed me that this is what He loved about David—this is what made David a man after God’s heart: David knew that he was a weak man, but he knew that his strength was in God. He knew that everything that he had and was that mattered was in God. He knew that God is what mattered in his life.
That’s why when he was weak and troubled and on the run, he never turned from God.
That’s why, when Absalom was trying to take his kingdom, he said, “If God looks upon me with favor, then I will return to the palace and my kingdom and the throne.“
That’s why when he took the census and the people were being punished, he said, “God, this is me. This was my fault; why are You punishing the people?” The story tells more of that, but I’m focusing on David’s heart.
David’s heart to seek God, and his heart was to rely on God. He knew that he was nothing without God.
This was not something that Saul knew! It’s not something that many of Israel’s kings knew. It’s not something that many of us knew.
God’s shown me new depths of this in my own life just this year—of how very, very, nothing I have without Him! Everything that I think that I have or am or can do is pretense… it’s nothing without Him. If I think it’s me, I’m totally missing the mark.
Then I thought about how everyone in the Bible (except Jesus) sinned.
Daniel sinned, even though the Bible doesn’t tell us about any of them.
Moses sinned. The Bible tells us about a few of them, but we know he sinned more often than those few times because he was a human.
We know Joseph sinned. (I can’t remember if the Bible tells us about them, and some of it’s interpretation, whether or not various things were right or wrong. But he wasn’t Jesus; therefore he sinned.)
When we think about David: God didn’t have to choose to tell us about David’s sins. He could have left those stories out of the Bible. He could have given us just the highlights and glorious instances where he marched forward in faith in battle and took down Goliath and other enemies, and when he went forth gloriously and captured Jerusalem or any of the other triumphs he had. David’s story could have been recorded with only those.
But God recorded his sins in the story.
The reason is because David was a man after God’s own heart.
You know, most of the people in the Bible where God recorded so many of their sins—their hearts weren’t solely after God. The Bible then goes on to talk about the consequences of that sin, and how they turned away from the Lord. Sometimes God sent a prophet to call them back and they refused… and for most of the other people in the Bible who have as many sins told as part of their story, their lives were not good ones. Those sins were part of the story of their downfall.
But for David, they’re not part of the story of his downfall.
They’re part of the story of a man who was deeply flawed, and knew it, and relied on God for everything.
He relied on God to bring down Goliath.
He relied on God to help him protect his sheep.
He relied on God to make him king in the time of God’s choosing.
He relied on God to give him victory in battle.
He relied on God to forgive him when he had sinned atrociously.
He relied on God to restore him after his infant son died.
He relied on God to restore his kingdom after his son had taken it from him.
He relied on God to forgive him through it all… to carry him through it all… to make His will happen through it all.
And that reliance upon God is what made him a man after God’s own heart.
So whoever you are and wherever you are and whatever circumstance you’re in, that’s the secret to also being called a man or a woman after God’s own heart.
Learn to rely on Him in everything. Ask Him to show you how to rely on Him in everything!
Ask Him to show you who He is, because the more we know of who He is, the easier it is to rely on Him!
Just like you might hesitate a little to rely on a little weakling who is new on the job and shows up looking like they haven’t got anything to them, and you’re not sure if they can really stand up to the rigors of the job, and they’re young so you’re not sure if they’re going to be reliable, and… who knows what else you might think based on their appearance. But then over time, they prove that they’re stronger than they look and their strength increases, and they faithfully come in to work time after time after time until you know that they are reliable. You rely on them unquestioningly because you’ve come to know them. It’s the same with God. The more He shows us who He is, the easier it is to rely on Him.
That’s why David was a man after God’s own heart. And if we seek Him and know Him and rely on Him, we too can be people after His heart. That’s what matters more than anything!
If we look at our lives and see nothing but weakness and fault and failure, well…. praise the Lord, where we are weak His is strong! We have that much more reason and opportunity to rely on Him!
I hope this encourages you, and let’s all seek God together!