Wednesday, March 27, 2013
King David - A Man After God's Own Heart
King David was an amazing man. It's no wonder thousands of years after his life, the world cannot forget him. I've been reading and studying the Old Testament lately, and I've come to realize that none of the OT Patriarchs are quite like him. Scripture tells us in two places that God Himself calls David "a man after His own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).
I've always been curious what it means to be "after God's heart." But after reading about King David, I came to see him for the kind of man he truly was. I think I would have liked him! And the amazing thing about David was something we all take for granted now. He loved the Lord, and I'm not talking about a flippant "Oh, I love God", no, David was SOLD OUT for Yahweh. No one before him loved God in quite the same way. Not Abraham, not Moses, not Noah. Not Adam, Joseph, Isaac, or Jacob. The Patriarchs did have a love for God, and they obviously had faith in Him and obeyed His Word. But no one loved God like David did. No one.
David's love for God was scandalous. Intimate. Personal. Childlike.
Before King David, priests were solemn, stoic, and too involved with religious ceremony to give God the time of day. It sounds ironic, not giving God the time of day, but its true. Worship of God involved burnt sacrifice. Upholding His Law. Celebrating the Feasts. Ah, but David... This man broke the mold. There was nothing solemn about him. Stoic? Forget about it! His heart was always on his sleeve. While we all know he wrote the lion's share of the Psalms, there is one fact we cannot ignore:
King David invented praise. He invented dancing and singing before the Lord. He invented a carefree worship of the God of the universe. No one who'd come before him would have even considered this kind of worship. It wasn't "proper." But because he was king of Israel, no one dared to tell him he was "doing it wrong." Yahweh was obviously with him, therefore no one questioned it. They went with it! And David even commanded music and songs before the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle.
So let's explore what made David so different than all the other great men of the Bible, the very man Yahweh Himself says was "after His heart." Let's learn how to praise God from one of the greatest men of praise who's ever lived.
1.) He LOVED to praise God. I think the entire book of Psalms is proof of that. He praised God through his joy, through his tears, through his triumphs, and even his sin. King David wasn't perfect. But he was quick to repent, knowing his wrongdoing hurt the heart of God. And that, in turn, hurt him.
2.) He danced for God. (2 Samuel 6:14) Often I stand still and just sway to my praise music, even during worship at church. But then I remember, you know what, King David danced and he didn't care who saw him! I'm gonna dance!
3.) He sang to God. (1 Chronicles 13:8, Psalm 108:1, Psalm 138:1) God is more worthy than simple spoken accolades. David wanted to SING to Him. Perhaps this started when David was a mere shepherd boy, singing to his sheep to pass the time. What better way to pass the time than to sing of God, the most Worthy One of all?
4.) He obeyed God. (2 Samuel 5:19-20) David inquired of God's will. He didn't want to fight the Philistines unless God was with him. God told him to attack and David obeyed. There are several other examples of David's obedience, but there was no hesitation on David's part. God said it, and it was done.
5.) He loved God's Word. (Psalm 119:97) David confesses in this Psalm that he meditates on God's Word all day. I suspect when he wasn't doing "king things", he was reading and studying Scripture. He had to make sure his people were following God's Law. After all, he was king! John MacArthur has said in one of his seminary lectures (yes, I watch those videos), that knowledge of the Word fuels love for Christ (ie., God). Therefore, one who loves the Word is in it all the time and the more they learn, the more they come to understand and love the depth of God.
6.) He was humble. (1 Samuel 18:18, 1 Chronicles 17:16) First, we see in 1 Samuel that David was shocked to be the son-in-law of King Saul. In 1 Chronicles, he was bowled over by the fact God had chosen his family line for the future Messiah. "Who am I?" he asks. Don't we all ask that very same question? We are in good company. If KING DAVID asked the same, then it begs the question -- are all the great men of the world the humble men who don't know they are great?
7.) He loved God. (Psalm 18:1) I only have one Scripture reference, but there are MANY more. This one is quite obvious. David LOVED God. He didn't just "love" God, he was on FIRE for Him, a Yahweh Freak. Perhaps the very first! (lol) He even *invented* musical instruments to play before the Ark. That's amazing! (2 Chronicles 7:6, 2 Chronicles 29:26-27, Amos 6:5)
8.) He had faith in God. (1 Samuel 17:37) God had already proven Himself to David by delivering him from a lion and a bear, therefore he knew God would deliver him from Goliath as well.
9.) He trusted God. (1 Samuel 17:45, Psalm 26:1) Faith and trust go hand-in-hand, but in the 1 Samuel text, David tells Goliath that he comes in the name of LORD of Hosts... He had faith God would deliver him, but here, we see he trusted God to follow through on David's boast to the Philistine.
10.) He recognized God's Holiness. (1 Chronicles 16:10, Psalm 22:3, Psalm 29:2) Even though King David was carefree in his praise of God, he absolutely recognized Yahweh's holiness as well. Not every act of praise will be carefree dance or joyous singing. There are times for quiet introspection and meditation as well. Tender moments with the Lord. David was well aware that God fought for Israel and he never forgot that God's Law meant He was a holy God.
11.) He wasn't ashamed of God. (2 Samuel 6:20-22) I absolutely adore this passage in Scripture from 2 Samuel. David's wife Michal, the daughter of the former King Saul, was disgusted by David's dancing display before the Ark. David tells her flippantly, "I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes." Basically, you might be affronted, but I'll never stop praising my God. You might be aghast, but I'm going to worship Him, and I plan on doing it even more than this! Praise God! \O/
12.) The Lord was with Him. (1 Samuel 18:14, 2 Samuel 5:10) You know what, I think I want this on my tombstone one day. "The Lord was with her." Wouldn't that be something? Going through those long-winded geneologies in the Chronicles, every now and again you come across some guy "and the Lord was with him." How marvelous is that? We don't know his story, but God was with him. You know those people that God just seems to bless over and over again? Every prayer is answered, and quickly, too? Even their trials are considered joy. God is with them. Likely because these people have a heart like David.
13.) He was thankful. (Psalm 138:1-2) How often do we forget to thank God? It should be said more often than at grace before a meal. I bet we'd be shocked at how much provision God gives us. Yeshua told us we are worth more than many sparrows, and yet God takes care of them. Even in your dire situation, how much more does He take care of you? Thank Him for all you have. Even if it isn't much.
14.) He honored God above all else. (2 Samuel 7:22) Looking over David's life, there is no question that he lived by the First Great Commandment.
15.) He prayed to God. (2 Samuel 7:18-22, 1 Chronicles 29:10-19) This goes without saying. God and David talked all the time. About everything. The proof is in those painful and joyous Psalms. Sometimes, God talked to David through prophets, sometimes directly. But David wasn't shy about pouring his heart out before the Lord and his people, like he did at his son Solomon's coronation in 1 Chronicles.
16.) He hoped in Messiah. (1 Chronicles 17:11-15) What began as David's unease at living in a lovely permanent home while the Ark of the Covenant rested in a mere tented Tabernacle turned into a magnificent promise that Yahweh didn't need, nor did He ask for, a house. The Lord God would build DAVID a house, that would one day be fulfilled in Yeshua Messiah. And of course, we know from Psalm 127:1 "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain."
17.) God was his Best Friend. (Psalm 25:14) Considering how much King David prayed, how much he pored over Scripture, how much he danced and sang before the Lord, and how many Psalms he wrote, it's a safe bet to say that Yahweh wasn't only David's Best Friend, but also the Love of his life.
18.) He was childlike. (Psalm 98, entire Book of Psalms) There's a certain childlike quality to the Psalms. They outline absolute trust, total love, complete devotion, amazing adoration, and worship with abandon. Not to mention the whole singing and dancing thing. Kids just don't care who's watching!
From these examples, hopefully we can glean just what it means to have a heart that is after God's Own Heart. It is a SEEKING heart. A LOVING heart. A WORSHIPING heart. A CHILDLIKE heart. A FAITHFUL heart. A HUMBLE heart. A PRAISING heart. A heart that's ALL OUT for God, on FIRE, UNASHAMED, and full of TRUST in His Word. (Which, ultimately, we know is Yeshua).
King David was an amazing man, there is no mistaking it. He was unique for his time in the way he loved God. I believe the Lord set him before us as an example, not only for the Jews, but also for Christians, to follow his lead and be completely sold out for the King of kings. King David lived the abundant life of intimate prayer and adoring worship.
We should strive to live the same.