In Acts 13:22 Paul, in his sermon in the synagogue in Antioch, said that God testified about David. Acts 13:22 (NKJV) … 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'’
That is very high praise for a man who was such a terrible a sinner, having committed adultery and murder. (See 2 Samuel 11). How can it be that God Himself testified that David was a man after His own heart?
Who Was David Really?
We read a lot about David and his accomplishments as a warrior, his reign as king of Israel, and his struggles with Saul and with his own family beginning in 1 Samuel 16 and through 2 Samuel. But where we really learn about David’s character is in the Psalms. David’s life, just like ours, was far from perfect. He had his ups and downs just as we do. But what caused God to call him a man after His own heart was that David had absolute faith and God and his heart was always directed at Him. He was committed to God with all his heart, soul and mind just as it was commanded in Deuteronomy 6:5 (HCSB) Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Let’s look at some of David’s characteristics:
1. David had absolute faith in God. A great illustration of this great faith is in 1 Samuel 17 where David, the young shepherd, confronted and killed the Philistine giant Goliath. When preparing to meet Goliath David said in verse 37 “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you.”
2. David loved God’s Word. David is credited with writing over half of the 150 psalms in the Bible. In the Psalms David often mentions how much he loved God’s Word. Psalm 119 is a perfect example.
This from the Wycliffe Bible Commentary
Essentially a didactic poem, this psalm takes the form of a personal testimony. Although the poem contains allusions to persecution and shows certain characteristics of laments, its main purpose is to glorify the Tôrâ (God's law or teaching). The psalmist directs almost every verse to God, using many forms of petition. At the same time, he uses some synonym for the law in all but seven verses. The synonyms are: law, testimonies, precepts, judgments, commandments, statutes, sayings, word, way, and path.
Here is what he says in verses 47-48 about his love for God’s Word. “47 I delight in Your commands, which I love. 48 I will lift up my hands to Your commands, which I love, and will meditate on Your statutes.”
3. David was repentant. When Nathan the prophet confronted David about his adultery with Bathsheba he admitted it. Here was David’s response 2 Samuel 12:13 (HCSB) David responded to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Then Nathan replied to David, “The LORD has taken away your sin; you will not die.
Not only did he admit and confess his sin but in Psalm 51 is his prayer of repentance. Here is what he said in the first two verses of this psalm 1 Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithful love; according to Your abundant compassion, blot out my rebellion. 2 Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.
I encourage you to read the entire psalm. It expresses a depth of individual experience, the sense of sin, and asking for forgiveness. It is an example of not only David’s heart and it should be ours as well when we realize that the sins that we commit not only affect others but that they are an act of rebellion and disobedience to God.
4. David was very grateful. Throughout his life, during times of triumph and despair, good times and bad, David was always thankful. Psalm 100:4 (HCSB) 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
David’s life was one of many ups and downs, highs and lows, but by his GREAT FAITH in God he left us an example of his love of God through the beautiful poetry of the psalms that he wrote. In them we get a glimpse into David’s heart and in the end we see his great trust in and his love for God and His Word. As proof that God considered David a man after His own heart read 2 Samuel 7. In that chapter David tells Nathan that he wants to build a house for God. God then tells Nathan to go back to David and tell him that because of stuff that had gone on in his past he could not build a house for Him but that his son (Solomon) would build it. He also told Nathan to tell David 2 Samuel 7:11, 16 (NKJV) 11 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the LORD tells you that He will make you a house. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." ' " (emphasis mine). That one who sits on the throne of David forever is Jesus Christ who is often called in Scripture “Son of David”
Yes we can truly say that David was a man after God’s own heart and an example to us in our walk of faith. Can you identify with David? Have you done things in your life that you thought you could not be forgiven for but then God forgave you? Have you ever said to God as David did in Psalm 51 Psalm 51:10 (HCSB) God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me?
Please leave your answers below in the comments. You may never know how much your comment could bless someone.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.