From the moment I started attending church on a regular basis, I would hear people refer to the man David as “a man after God’s own heart”. To be honest it never made a lot of sense to me but I was too afraid to ask why…. I had heard a lot of theories over the course of time, and even a few interesting explainations.
David liked sheep, so that made him a man after God’s own heart. David played worship music on his harp… that is obviously Godly, so that was the reason. He was a fighter. He was a lover. He looked after the little guy. He started from the bottom. He was forgotten by his dad. Let’s be honest…. there is a host of reasons and explanations on why, but none of those reasons ever really seemed enough to me.
So why then… why was David considered a man after God’s own heart? To answer this question I would like to tell you 3 quick stories.
- David is in the process of moving the ark of God to the city of David. The ark contains the very presence of God and had specific instructions on how it is to be moved. David ignored these instructions and so did the priests that were responsible for moving the ark. Long story short… the ark is on the back of an animal and the animal stumbles, causing the ark to fall. A priest reaches out to protect and stop the ark from falling and the bible says that God struck him dead in that moment. David got mad… Why would you God?! We were trying to do a good thing… David in his frustration decides not to bring the ark back to the city of David and instead leaves it at Obed Edom’s house.
- David is supposed to be out to war with his men, but he decides to stay back from this mission. He is on the rooftop of his palace and looks down to see a gorgeous woman bathing below. He decides to call her to the palace because he liked what he saw… and let’s be honest, he wanted to see it a little closer. She was married… David didn’t care. Her husband was off at war, where David should have been. She ends up getting pregnant… David is getting nervous now. He calls her husband, Uriah, back from war so he could sleep with his wife hopefully causing him to believe David’s child was his own. Her husband had too much integrity and slept outside of the city. David decides he has run out of options and sends word to the general of the armies to put Uriah in a place in the battle guaranteeing his death… He killed him.
- There was a point when David was deciding to go to war. Typically to make this assessment, he would pray to God and put his trust and faith in God… Not this time. Instead of consulting God, he decides to count the men in his kingdom. He wanted to see if he could handle this fight without God. Without faith. Without the very thing that got him to where he was.
When hearing these stories, it is easy to think that this man David was a mess… A sinner… A horrible man. He walked away from God. He lacked faith. He slept with another man’s wife, and he killed a man! However, it is in these stories, that I believe we find the answer to our question. Why was David considered a man after God’s own heart?
After each of these instances the Bible records that David goes to God, repents of his sin, and worships God. David decides that he will not blame God. He will not retaliate against God. He will not turn his back. In each moment, once he realizes his mistake, he goes to God and asks for forgiveness. This is a new testament principle that we can easily glaze over, but we have to understand that this was not a common thing in the old testament. 1000 years later, Jesus would show up as human and teach us that this is the way to God, but David was connected to this part of God’s heart long before this moment. David decided he would ignore RELIGION and instead have a RELATIONSHIP!
It is interesting to me that David picked up on something, that even today we miss. I pray that each of us can be a man after God’s own heart. Go after God in our good times and in our failures. Don’t be afraid to seek forgiveness… To repent…. And once it is all said and done, don’t blame God. Don’t curse God. Don’t turn your back on God. Instead… Love Him. Worship Him. Talk to Him. Put your faith in Him. After all, this is what Jesus came to the earth for. To die for our sins, so that we can have a relationship with God.