David - A Man After Gods' Own Heart
Scripture tells us that David was beloved of God, a man after Gods’ own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14) and (1 Kings 9: 3-4) But during his lifetime his committed the sins of adultery and murder. And he was quick to lead Israel into unnecessary wars with neighboring countries when he could have opted for peace. Since he wasn’t free from serious sin, why did David’s life give God such pleasure? What did he do to earn this special place in God’s heart?
Let’s check out several scenes in David’s life to see if we can find some answers. Back when David was just a young boy tending his fathers’ sheep he had developed a deep longing to know the Lord. David was the youngest of eight brothers and by the time he was a young teenager his three oldest brothers were soldiers in King Saul’s army. The date was around 1,000 B.C. and the Israelites were at war with the Philistines. David’s father Jesse asked him to walk the distance to where the fighting was taking place (about 14 miles) and bring food to his brothers.
When David arrived where the battle was taking place he was surprised to find his brothers and the rest of the Israelite soldiers cowering in fear. One of the enemy soldiers, a giant named Goliath, from the Philistine camp, was intimidating them with taunts. “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” (1 Samuel 17: 10) Goliath was big and tall, about 9’9” and he was covered from head to toe with heavy armor. The staff of his spear was like a weavers beam with a huge iron spearhead. And a shield bearer went before him to protect him with a heavy shield. He was a mighty man of war and he shouted out his angry jeers at the Israelites day and night.
Young David completely trusted in his God and he was amazed by the cowardice of the Israelite soldiers when Goliath came out to challenge them. Since God had promised to be with the armies of Israel, how could they be afraid of Goliath? With God nothing is impossible! David was asking the soldiers why they didn’t volunteer to fight Goliath since God would be with them. His oldest brother Eliab grew angry with David for his foolish talk and told him to go back to his sheep. When little David came before King Saul he bravely volunteered to fight the giant Goliath. He assured the king, “He (God) will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1Samuel 17:37b) “seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Samuel 17:36b)
Young David went out to fight Goliath without protective armor or a sword or a spear. He picked up five small stones from the brook to use in his sling shot. When Goliath saw this young boy coming out to fight him he roared; “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” (1Samuel 17:43) And Goliath cursed David in the name of his gods. David shouted back: “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (1Samuel 17:45) “Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” (1Samuel 17:47)
David didn’t fear opposition even when it was strong and overpowering. He didn’t overvalue size and strength. He believed that God was with him and could take care of any obstacle. The giant Goliath came roaring towards the boy with his drawn sword. David put his hand into his little pouch and took out a stone and put it in his slingshot. He held the slingshot over his head, spun it around, and then let go. The little rock shot out striking Goliath right between his eyes, which was the only place on his body that hadn’t been protected by his thick armor. Goliath fell down and died on the spot. That day all of Israel was reminded again that their God was in their midst. He will save them from their enemies if they will follow David’s example and completely trust Him.
Along with his life-size faith in God, David also had a life-size love for God. He loved God with all his heart and he loved God’s Word. And we wonder why he was so special to God? David wrote many of the Psalms that are used in our worship today! David blessed God and taught all of Israel to bless God. (1 Chronicles 29:10-20) And even though during his life David committed serious sin, he repented immediately with fasting and tears. His relationship with God can be clearly seen by reading the Psalms that he wrote. He leaned on God, delighted in God, and he ran after God.
After David had been crowned king he brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. The Ark had been stolen in battle by the Philistines in 1050 B.C. and now David was thrilled to have it back. The Ark was brought up to Jerusalem with great religious celebration. David was so excited that he went before the procession of priests that were carrying the Ark “dancing before the Lord with all his might and wearing a linen ephod” (2 Samuel 6:14) All this was done with shouting and the sounds of trumpets. David’s joy for God couldn’t be missed. And God took great pleasure in his joy.
David’s wife Michel looked out of her window and watched her husband whirling and leaping with uncontrollable enthusiasm. Scripture tells us that Michel was disgusted and “she despised him in her heart.” (2 Samuel 6:16b) A king should be wearing fine royal robes but her husband was wearing a linen ephod which was what a common man would wear. What a fool he was for not behaving in a proud kingly fashion in front of his subjects! When David returned home Michel met him at the door and made fun of his undignified appearance and his unbridled enthusiasm for God.
We are still criticized today when we show excitement for the things of God and love and follow Him unconditionally. There is a price to pay when we go all out for the Lord. But that is what David did. (1Kings 14:7-8) David’s extreme devotion for God is why he has the been called “Beloved of God” and “a man after God’s own heart”! God isn’t pleased with a lukewarm faith or with a tepid love. He asks us to love Him with our whole heart and our whole mind and our whole soul. (Matthew 22:37) The first of the Ten Commandments commands us not to put anything in our lives in front of God. (Exodus 20:3) God desires to take first place.
Since David loved God extravagantly and trusted Him completely, God promised him that his kingdom would last forever. (1 Samuel 7:12-13) (Jesus Christ is in the lineage of David) Let’s follow David’s example and learn to trust God all the way and believe His Word. Let’s put God first in our lives and love Him with all our hearts and souls and minds like David did. Let’s give God pleasure the way David did. Let’s not be lukewarm. Let’s give it all we’ve got!