David – a man after God’s own heart
KaB, Frankenberg August, 28.2022
In 2 Chronicles 16: 9 read wir : For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the name of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Who among us does not want God, the Lord of this world, to stand on our side and show himself strong in us? That he does us good and that his power works through us?
In the Bible we read of a person who, more than any other, can be an example for us, how to be a person after God’s own heart, in whom He proves his strength.
So God searched, the eyes of the Lord went through the whole earth, and found David, a man after his own heart.
And I want to take a look with you this morning at what makes this David so special that God calls him a man after his own heart and what we can learn from that.
Let’s see how David is described:
1. Top appearance: brownish, beautiful eyes, good shape
Michelangelo carved a sculpture of David, here is a picture of it.
Trained to the last muscle. If he came in here, the women would probably roll their eyes and the men would be jealous.
2. But there was more to it than just looks: David was a faithful shepherd. Shed the sheep for his father and fought bears and lions .
3. He was a talented artist, was musical and wrote many of the songs that have survived to this day, the Psalms. No one else can do that for so long.
4. He was a loyal servant in King Saul’s royal court. Even when he madly targeted David, he remained loyal.
5. He was a gifted fighter who defeated a giant and fought many successful battles.
6. He was a popular hero, the people loved him, the king’s daughter fell in love with him and became his wife.
7. And finally he was a mighty king, so mighty that the Bible says there was none of his stature in Israel before or after him
David, a man after God’s own heart. No wonder, right?
If you read the Bible only superficially, then this picture may be correct.
But if we look more closely, we also read:
1. David was an adulterer. He fathered a child with a stranger , although he already had enough women. But he saw this woman Bathsheba and could not leave her.
2. He then tried everything possible to keep it from leaking. But his plan went awry and he ended up having her husband killed so he could marry her. So David was a murderer too.
3. He was at times the leader of one of the most shady groups of his time: ( 1 Samuel 22 :2 ) 400 needy men who were in debt and embittered. Great team, doing well.
4. David had no control over his sons. He didn’t set clear boundaries for them, which led to rape, murder, and eventually an attempted overthrow by his own son.
5. David was a liar. There was a time when he didn’t trust God and defected to the enemy for fear of King Saul wanting to kill him . He lived there and showed the king there what to do.
6. And finally, he was an idol worshiper, or at least he tolerated it in his home. When Saul wanted to kill him again, his wife said to him: Run away and I’ll put a terafim in your bed . Terafim is a foreign word, it is nothing more than an idol statue, a small household god that was worshiped at home. Wait a minute, David had an idol at home?
At least now we ask ourselves: Is this supposed to be a man after God’s own heart?
How can that be?
Michelangelo portrayed David as a perfect human being because he thought this was what a human being after God’s own heart must look like.
Obviously God has a very different perspective than you and I do.
And that perspective doesn’t seem to have anything to do with failure, sin, and mistakes.
We want to take a closer look, because: I wish that God would say about me: This is a man after God’s own heart. And I’m sure you want that too, that God says about you, that’s a man or a woman after my own heart.
4 points struck me about David when I read about his whole story.
You may notice more things as you read and it’s worth checking out David’s story in the Bible, but I want to focus on these 4 main points today.
The first thing I noticed about David is his longing for God.
1. David longed for God
In the Psalms he composed we read:
Blessed is he who delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night! ( Psalm 1)
I delight in your statutes and do not forget your words. I seek you with all my heart ( Psalm 119)
I have asked the Lord one thing ; that’s all I want: as long as I live, I want to stay in the house of the Lord. So in his presence. (Psalm 27:4)
And he also recommends this to the people around him, shortly before his death: So direct your heart and your mind to seek the LORD your God.
This is David’s longing to be very close to God, to seek him.
He does this with great honesty.
- He comes to God in every situation.
- He pours out his heart to God.
- We read the Psalms of Lamentation, where David laments to God all his suffering, all his despair:
- god where are you It seems like the wicked are doing well while the righteous are short-changed. God, why don’t you hear my screams? Where are you?
Then there are Psalms of Vengeance, where all the anger of David comes through:
- My God! How I wish you to kill all who oppose you!
- A psalm that I read there is so intense that I didn’t even dare to read it this morning. That’s not so with pious painting. We always think we can’t tell God that, we can only think it. Yes, as if God doesn’t know our thoughts too.
Jesus once said: When you are weary and heavy laden, come to me.
Don’t run away, resentment, anger, hurts, disappointments, how do we deal with setbacks in our lives?
We often run away from God with it. But God wants us to run to him. He’s not surprised by our thoughts, he already knows. We can hold out for him.
David wrestles with God, wrestles with his own guilt, his character, and prays for change.
God, you see all the crap in me. I can’t handle it. help me Give me a heart as you wish.
His longing is so great that it drives him into God’s arms.
Psalm 139 : 1-2 says: Lord, you search me and you know me. I sit or stand up, you know it; you understand my thoughts from afar.
And later: No matter where I hide, God, you’re already there anyway. So I don’t need that, it doesn’t make any sense anyway.
I don’t know about you, that can also scare you.
God is everywhere, I can’t hide. But David knows the nature of God. He knows that God will not beat him up for this, but that God understands him, loves him, and helps him.
He continues to pray in Psalm 139: God, you made me the way I am. You created me with my thoughts and feelings, my longings and desires, my strengths and weaknesses, my limitations and struggles. You thought so much about me and wanted me.
David realizes that he is safe and protected with God and that God is with him and will not let him go.
I think it’s very important that we understand that, because only then can we come to God with really everything, we don’t have to fool him.
If we have the impression that God only wants us to be bad, then we have to pretend, then we always keep our distance and this longing for God can never fully develop.
But I don’t need to pretend before God.
That frees, relaxes.
If I can’t find the words, maybe to pray: God knows what I mean.
If I expressed myself wrongly, God knows what I was actually trying to say.
If I myself no longer have the perspective and no longer understand myself: God knows me and he can help me to bring light into the confusion.
He can forgive my guilt and help me gain victory over my guilt in my life.
This longing for God is independent of whether I can do something or not, whether I can implement it directly or not, which characterizes David.
It is a fundamental longing to bring God into my life, to spend time in his presence.
This longing is expressed in the fact that David cares about God’s honor, he doesn’t care about his own honor.
2. David is concerned with God’s glory.
This is particularly evident in a situation where David arranges for the Ark of the Covenant, then a sign of God’s presence, to be brought to the capital city where David lived. The following happened on this train:
2. Samuel 6,14 : As the procession started moving again, David danced enthusiastically beside the Ark of the Covenant to praise the Lord. He was clad only in a light linen apron, such as the priests usually wore.
So King David dances lightly dressed and full of joy in front of this Ark of the Covenant.
And then later he comes home to his family and his wife comes to meet him.
Listen carefully to what she says:
“Oh, how dignified the Lord King behaved before his people today !” she scoffed. ‘During your half-naked dance you shamelessly exposed yourself to the slaves of your court officials. Usually only the rabble does such things !” David replied: “I danced in honor of the Lord. He took dominion from your father and his descendants and entrusted it to me. He made me king over his people Israel, and I will continue to dance in his honor. Yes, I would even be willing to humiliate myself even lower than today .”
His wife says: David, how can you.
And David says I don’t care, it’s about God, not what people think.
Great statement, think about how it looks in your life.
At the end of David’s life there is another incident where you can clearly see that he is concerned with God’s glory.
Then he hands over his rule to his son Solomon.
David actually wanted to build a temple for God, so we could compare that to a church today, but God didn’t allow him to do it.
And now he gives his son the task of building this temple and he tells him what he has put aside from himself, from his riches, for this temple.
1 Chronicles 29:2-4 I have already prepared as much building material as I could for the temple of my God: gold, silver, bronze, iron and wood, etc. And because the temple of my God is dear to my heart, I have I also donated treasures from my own possessions: 100 tons of the best gold and 250 tons of pure silver .
David gave a lot.
He also had a lot, but these are really large amounts. How is it with you? How important is it to you to give your life, your money, your time, your talents, whatever for God?
The third reason why God calls David a man after God’s own heart
3. David did what God wanted.
That is very closely related to the fact that David was concerned about God’s glory, but also that he knew that God meant well with him and that he could therefore trust him.
In the verse in Acts 13:22, that’s why David is a man after God’s own heart.
The justification differs depending on the translation.
I have found David the son of Jesse , a man after my own heart, to do all my will.
God knew David’s longing was:
i want to do what you want But I can’t do it, I fail. But I wish that your thoughts will be implemented.
Psalm 119 : I wish for more consistency so that I can keep your ordinances.
And that’s why David always stayed in dialogue with God.
In the hope for everyone it says: In everything he does, he will listen to me.
And that’s what caught my eye as I read his story.
Again and again it is said: And David asked God what he should do.
Psalm 119 again: Happy are those who live according to God’s law. I have kept your word in my heart, lest I sin against you
The Bible also describes the antitype of David, that was the king before him, Saul.
He asked God sometimes, but then he thought he knew how God works.
God once told him what he should do in order to win against his enemies, and the next time Saul thought: great, I’ll do it that way again, then it will work.
Saul was not concerned with this relationship with God, but with the benefit of it.
You can do that with a religious God, but not with the living God.
David kept asking God: God, what do you want, how do you want, what are you planning to do. And so God was able to guide him, sometimes in very surprising ways. David wanted to do what God says
Yes, but wait a minute, you say, and rightly so, what about all the situations where he didn’t do it?
And that’s my 4th and last point, something that doesn’t immediately catch the eye:
4. David was willing to be corrected.
I think we all have a reflex.
This is already described on the first pages of the Bible: When we fail, when we do things that we regret, we run from God.
Adam hides from God because he is ashamed and says to himself: I can’t come to God like this, as a failure, as a sinner.
There’s a bit of comedy in this situation because I’m like, how do you want to hide from God. And yet I notice myself again and again that I do the same thing.
Another way is to talk your way out.
Saul is a pro at this. He has done something, a prophet comes to him and confronts him with the situation and he finds excuses for it. He wants to look good in front of people.
David is the complete opposite.
When he committed adultery with this woman and then had her husband killed afterwards, this prophet comes to him and David admits everything, does real penance. He does not run away from God, but runs to him and asks his forgiveness.
Change my heart, please help me not to get there again.
A man after God’s own heart, not because of his perfection, but because of his reaction.
When they get the Ark of the Covenant, I said something about that earlier, there was an attempt before.
And with this attempt, David simply did it because his longing was so great that this ark of the covenant came to the capital. An accident happened and someone died. David was so shocked that he left the Ark of the Covenant where it was.
And what does David do then?
He looks to God’s Word for answers.
He finds out that according to the law only the priests were allowed to carry the Ark of the Covenant and they too had to follow a very special procedure.
David calls the priests to him and says, “Men, we’ve got this all wrong. The Word of God tells us how to do it.”
So they kept to the stipulations of the Word.
How important is it to us to want to do what God wants?
- How much do we study his word, the bible, to find out for us what he wants?
- How do we deal with failure?
- Do we do like Saul, run away, talk our way out?
- Or do we, like David, go to God with it, genuinely repent, and wrestle with God for change in those parts of our character where we need it?
David, a man after God’s own heart
Because of his longing for God’s glory, for doing what God wanted and being willing to be corrected.
Not because of its perfection.
All this has nothing to do with his failure, as we have seen.
And it has nothing to do with David’s situation either.
We could say, as a king with all that wealth, it was easy.
You know, God says that sentence, that He’s looking at the heart when David was a shepherd. And being a shepherd was a tough job for David.
- He had to take care of sheep day and night, sleep outside, fight animals that wanted to kill his sheep.
- He defeats lions and bears, no one notices, David gets no recognition.
- His brothers are doing well, but he must be with the shepherds and the sheep.
- His family doesn’t believe in him. When a prophet comes to his father because God has shown him that one of the sons should be the new king, he has everyone brought before him. One after the other. But nobody is.
The prophet is almost embarrassed and then he asks, was that all of them?
Father thinks, oh right, I’ve got another one out there with the sheep.
I almost forgot, but what do you want with that?
This reaction shows that not even his own father believes in David.
I don’t know how David was out there with the sheep.
- He can’t see 20 years ahead.
- He doesn’t know his story like we do.
- He doesn’t know if his dreams will ever come true.
- He’s just a shepherd.
Even later there are many situations where people follow him, want him bad, and he is at the bottom. Nevertheless, he has this longing, he is concerned about God’s glory, and he does what God wants and is willing to be corrected.
David is faithful even when no one sees him. And David is faithful when success comes, he is crowned king.
Many people pray when they are feeling bad.
But if they succeed, what do I need God for? We forget God so quickly.
David is a man after God, as shepherd and as king. And you?
Are you in a pastoral situation or do you rather ride the wave of success?
And what are you doing?
God seeks people after His heart, regardless of their situation, to show His strength in them. That’s how we got in.
God is not about perfection.
He looks for people after his heart. That really challenged me.
Because I want to be a man after God’s own heart. But I notice that in many respects I am not.
And maybe you feel the same, just this morning .
But if you feel that longing, then that’s a good first step.
In Psalm 139 David writes that he realizes that God knows and loves him and that he can come to him with anything.
- He knew that God doesn’t judge him, that God doesn’t have a problem with his emotions, and he doesn’t have a problem with his guilt, his failures.
- He has a solution, he died on the cross for our guilt.
- And then David prays at the end:
- Psalm 139 :23-24 : Search me, O God, and know my heart; examine me and see what I mean. And see if I am on a bad path, and lead me on an eternal path.
We’re about to have supper.
This is a symbol of God’s love for this death on the cross.
God is not about perfection. We can be honest with him and offer our hearts to him.
“Examine me and guide me. God, give me this longing for you.”
The question is, do I run into God’s arms?
I invite you to do just that now during the next few songs and pray these verses from David like this.
We’ll stand up for it, but you’re welcome to sit and talk to God if you realize it’s the turn.
And if you want to establish something, confess something, pray with someone:
At the back are people who like to do this with you.