The Heart of David

June 4, 2017

King David became the greatest king that Israel had, not because he did some great exploits or undertaken great projects for the people, but because of his heart. He was called a man after God’s own heart. Even when he was initially anointed to be king as a young boy, God did not look at his good appearance but rather, he looked at his heart. God told the prophet Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7).  David was not only anointed king but the Lord made an unconditional covenant with him. In this covenant known as the Davidic Covenant, God promised that David’s kingdom would be an everlasting kingdom. This covenant was fulfilled when Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, descended from the Davidic line.

But what was in David that pleased God so much that he even made an unconditional covenant with him? We can have a peek of what was in his heart when we consider his Psalms. In Psalm 131, he said, “My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me” (v.1). He could have been accused of being proud but here is David confessing before the Lord that he is indeed not proud. Humility is a virtue that God prized. The humility of David was manifested in his full submission to God. When he sinned, he did not justify or explain himself. Rather he confessed saying, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:4).

Even after being anointed by Samuel, David did not strut around. He knew that he would be king one day but did not consider it a disgrace to serve as a servant of the reigning king, King Saul. Instead, he served King Saul faithfully and wholeheartedly. Because of his exceptional achievements, King Saul, who was jealous of him, threatened to kill him twice. Rather than fighting back, David chose to stay away from King Saul even if it meant leaving his family behind and always running for his life. The first time he had the opportunity to kill the king, he said, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord” (1 Sam. 24:6).

David did not concern himself with great matters or things too wonderful for him. He knew where he stood and let the Lord be in control of his life. He did not try and grab the kingship from Saul. When one of his men attempted to kill King Saul, he rebuked him saying, “"Don't destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the Lord's anointed and be guiltless? As surely as the Lord lives, the Lord himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. But the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord's anointed” (1 Samuel 26:9-11). He acknowledged that it was not time yet for him to be king. He was willing to wait on the Lord perfect timing. Patience is a virtue that David had often demonstrated and espoused in his Psalms. He said, “Wait on the Lord.”

Because God’s covenant with David was unconditional, God sustained him through and through. Looking back, David, in the eyes of men, was not the best of kings. He failed in many ways so that there was a time when he was even driven out of his kingdom. He failed as a man when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and failed as a father when his own children misbehaved. But through it all, God was pleased to install him as king and his kingdom will never end because of his heart. God himself testified, “'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22).

If David was so blessed because of his heart, we too can receive the same blessing if we have a humble heart. We can practically follow in the footsteps of David when we obey the command to “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (Rom. 12:16). Let us not lift ourselves up beyond measure. We know where we stand and our position in life. It will be good for us to live accordingly. Let us remember that pride comes before destruction. Therefore, let us “Humble [our] selves under God's mighty hand, that he may lift [us] up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). The Lord will honour our hearts when we offer heartfelt sacrifices, and will bless us just as he blessed David. He will honour our prayers when we pray with pure and humble hearts. Hallelujah!