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Sunday, January 24, 2016

David: A Man After God's Own Heart

David: A Man After God's Own Heart
In response to Nathan’s rebuke regarding the affair with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of Uriah, David cried out, “against you [God], you only, have I sinned and done what was evil in your sight” (Psalm 51:4). Even though the Books of Samuel paint a less-than-perfect picture of David, God “testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’” (Acts 13:21). Most importantly, he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from anything that he [God] commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite” (1 Kings 15:5). David, surely, was far from perfect, however he is considered to be the model king, a man after God’s own heart. Given that the only perfect man to walk the earth was the King of kings, Christ Jesus, what then is the characteristic of the imperfect David that makes God view him as after his own heart?
The Lord affirms to his people, “you will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). God desires for the hearts of his children to be turned to him. David’s actions were plainly despicable, however his heart yearned for cleansing from God, especially in times of trouble. God does not desire checkbox followers, those who simply go through the motions: “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17). It is this brokenness that leads to true repentance, Davidic repentance, and one where complete submission to God’s justice is the only response of one’s heart. For we know, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled [though not forgotten], and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
David recognized from early on that it is God alone who will deliver him through all his trials, whether the trail is from his own fleshy desires or worldly adversaries: “Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from your sight.’ But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help” (Psalm 31:21-22). Whereas we see from the very beginning with Adam and Eve, when one sins against the Lord, the tendency is to run and hide (Genesis 3:8), David instead faces the rebuking head on, noting: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psalm 51:15). David never pleads to God “why?” Instead, “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord’” (2 Samuel 12:13a). Because of this acknowledgement of God as the ultimate authority and one who the sin was truly committed against, “Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die’” (2 Samuel 12:13b). Even though Saul was removed from kingship “because you [Saul] have not kept what the Lord commanded” (1 Samuel 13:14), we see through David, also having broken God’s commandments of the Law, that recognizing God as the one and only ultimate authority in one’s life is the commandment God is truly concerned about.
Jesus himself confirmed this by reciting Deuteronomy 6:5 in declaring that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”(Matthew 22:37). A heart for the Lord is what God desires, for “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God recognizes not simply our actions, but whether or not our heart is turned toward him, and him alone. Therefore, David poignantly sums up why God views him as a man after his own heart when he writes: “I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord” (Psalm 31:6).


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