A Person After God’s Own Heart
This is the next sermon in our current series, “Different”
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We are in a series called “Different” and we’ve been talking about what it means to be “set apart” for God. A few weeks ago, I asked, “What does Holiness look like in our day to day lives? And how can we fulfill God’s purpose and plan for our lives without compromise?”
The pressure to conform to this world is more intense than it’s ever been in our country’s history. Over the past few weeks we’ve been talking about how Christians seem to be pushed whichever way the cultural wind is blowing. We want to fit in, we want to be liked and accepted. But God clearly calls his children to stand out, to be set apart. So, how can we learn from those in God’s Word how to walk with Him day to day? How can we be a person after God’s own heart? When we hear that phrase, we think of King David. But when we think about David, the question arises, “How could David be considered a man after God’s own heart?” How could God still give him that title when David committed adultery and murder? What characteristics did David have that would qualify him for such a title?
In Acts 13:22 Paul talks about how God felt toward David, “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do’”. The answer is found in the verse itself: David did the will of God. Was David perfect?…no…not even close, even after Bathsheba. Was he passionate for God…yes. What made David stand out was that his heart was focused on the Lord. He had a deep desire to follow God’s will and try to do “everything” God wanted him to do.
So, with the remainder of our time let’s look at some characteristics of David’s life that made him different; characteristics that can help us on our own spiritual journey.
1. David is called a man after God’s own heart because of his intense faith in God.
We see this in the famous story of his battle with Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. We see David’s faith when he says, “‘The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’” (verse 37).
When everyone else ran from the battle David ran toward it. David trusted God with his life, and he had faith that God would give him victory once again. David was calm and confident. He knew early in life that God could be trusted and should be obeyed. It’s clear in the Bible that David’s faith pleased God, and he is rewarded for his faithfulness. When you’re faced with life’s challenges – losing your job, struggling in relationships, not getting what you expected – how do you respond? Do you lose faith and retreat from God, or do you trust him?
2. David was a person after God’s own heart because when he sinned, he owned it.
The bottom line was that he repented of his sin.
In 2 Samuel 11:2-4 we read, “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her…”
David spiritually “face planted”. He sinned and then doubled down on his sin. He committed adultery, lied, and then had Uriah killed. But when he was confronted by Nathan the prophet, he did what most in our culture refuse to do, he admitted it.
In 2 Samuel 12:13, “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’
And then Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’”
The issue I have with our modern Christian culture is that we deny our sin.
Instead of confessing it…we justify it. When we’re confronted by scripture we often respond with defiance.
If Nathan came to many Christians today, he may have heard, “Well we’re in love…and love is love” or “she is my soul mate.” Well, Nathan said “I think she and her husband are separated, or at least they don’t love each other anymore, so in all practicality they’re not really married.”
Or…“When Paul talked about adultery – the culture was different.”
Or…“That was the Old Testament…we’re not under Law, we’re under Grace”.
Whether you’re under law or under grace, whether Bathsheba loved or didn’t love Uriah at the time, whether she fell in love with David before they had sex or not, whether David felt like she was his soul mate or not…IT WAS SIN!
David admitted his sin and asked for forgiveness. He repented!
He may have “out-sinned” some of us in a season of his life, but I think he crushes us when it comes to repentance. And that’s why God calls him a man after His own heart. When we fall short of God’s perfect standard, do we admit our sin, or do we justify it? When was the last time we went before the Lord and truly repented?
3. David was a man after God’s own heart because he loved God’s Word.
Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David wrote more than half of them. As he wrote, David constantly talked about his love for God’s perfect Word.
In Psalm 119:47-48 we read, “For I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.” Because of that desire God granted David understanding and wisdom.
Psalm 119:2-3 says, “Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways”.
How much time are we spending in God’s Word?
4. David was a man after God’s own heart because he was thankful.
David had a lot of emotional ups and downs in his life. Times of peace and joy and times of hardship, fear and discouragement. Through it all he continued to thank God for each challenge.
Psalm 100:4 says, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Thankfulness was one of David’s greatest characteristics. I think it’s something we need to ask ourselves.
Are we thankful through all the seasons of life?
David was a man after God’s own heart because he lived out his faith and followed God’s will with his whole heart. Yes, he fell short at times. But after his sin he repented and received God’s forgiveness. Holiness is not about always being perfect. It’s about always trying to be honest and authentic. It’s about our love for God driving our thoughts and actions.
David teaches us an important lesson. That our sin separates us from God, and it is when we recognize our sin and repent that we are brought back into communion with Him. The Bible says that even our best efforts fall short of His holiness. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
You don’t need your Pastor to tell you that you’re not perfect, that you’re a sinner. God is Holy, and your sin has separated you from Him. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s answer to our sin problem is Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross, he bridged the gap of sin between us and God the Father. Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
We all have a choice. To deny our sin and live in defiance, or to confess our sin like David and find forgiveness and fellowship.
In our next article, we will look at a person who exemplified those characteristics, Nathanael, an Israelite in whom there was no guile.