David - A Man After God's Own Heart
The most heralded king of the Kingdom of Israel, David’s life is a study of break and renewal. As a boy, he was a strong and brave shepherd who ended up defeating a giant at war. As a teenager who knew the throne of Israel was to be his, he never once lifted a hand even as then-king Saul tried to kill him. In his sin as an adult, he confessed and wept, yet wrote most of the book of Psalms.
David, the shepherd-boy king, looms large in the pages of Scripture. This courageous military leader, great king, and slayer of Goliath was by no means a perfect role model. Although he's ranked among the most notable heroes of faith, he was a liar, adulterer, and murderer. The Bible does not attempt to paint a rosy picture of David. Rather, his failures are vividly displayed for all to see.
So what was it about David's character that made him such a favourite of God? Was it his zest for life and passionate love for God? Or was it his unshakeable faith and trust in the endless mercy and steadfast goodness of the Lord?
King David was a man of contrasts. At times he was single-mindedly devoted to God, yet at other times he failed miserably, committing some of the most serious sins recorded in the Old Testament.
David lived a frustrating life, first in the shadow of his brothers, then constantly on the run from vengeful King Saul. Even after he became king of Israel, David was engaged in almost constant warfare to defend the kingdom. King David was a great military conqueror, but he could not conquer himself. He allowed one night of lust with Bathsheba, and it had disastrous consequences in his life.
Although King David fathered Solomon, one of Israel's greatest kings, he was also the father of Absalom, whose rebellion brought bloodshed and grief. His life was a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. He left us an example of the passionate love of God and dozens of Psalms, some of the most touching, beautiful poetry ever written.
David killed Goliath, champion of the Philistines when he was only a youth and Goliath a giant and veteran warrior. David was victorious because he trusted not in himself, but in God for the victory.
In battle, David killed many of Israel's enemies. But he refused to kill King Saul, despite several opportunities. Saul, God's first anointed king, pursued David out of mad jealousy for years, but David would not raise a hand against him.
David and Saul's son Jonathan became friends, like brothers, setting a model of friendship that everyone can learn from. And as a model of faithfulness, King David is included in the "Faith Hall of Fame" in Hebrews 11.
David was an ancestor of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who was often called "Son of David." Perhaps David's greatest accomplishment was to be called a man after God's own heart by God himself.
David was courageous and strong in battle, trusting in God for protection. He remained loyal to King Saul, despite Saul's crazed pursuit. Throughout his entire life, David loved God deeply and passionately.
King David committed adultery with Bathsheba. He then tried to cover up her pregnancy, and when he failed with that, he had her husband Uriah the Hittite killed. The was perhaps the greatest transgression of David's life.
When he took a census of the people, he wilfully violated God's command not to do that. King David was often lax, or absent as a father, not disciplining his children when they needed it.
David's example teaches us that honest self-examination is necessary to recognise our own sin, and then we must repent of it. We may try to fool ourselves or others, but we cannot hide our sins from God.
Even though God always offers forgiveness, we cannot escape the consequences of our sin. David's life proves this. But God highly values our faith in him. Despite life's ups and downs, the Lord is ever-present to give us comfort and help.