Though David was far from perfect, he left some great examples for us to follow…
David was a remarkable man. From humble beginnings as a shepherd, he rose to become King of Israel, and though the path to the throne was difficult, he did not give up. Saul tried to kill him, but he didn’t give up. David slept in caves, trekked across the wilderness, lived in enemy territory, pretended to be mad, etc. In the midst of all this, however, he did not lose his faith in the Lord.
And … the Lord was pleased with him.
Note – David did some really weird things in his lifetime, the worst being taking another man’s wife and then having him killed! But – God still forgave him!
Later on, David decided to count his fighting men. I can imagine he thought it was time to see how big his army was compared to his neighbors. God, did not agree with that move, and the punishment was severe. David repented, and once again, God forgave him.
Long after his death, the Lord continually referred to him over and over, even in the New Testament!
Acts 13:22 “But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.” (NLT)
What was it about David that God was pleased with? Why did God recognize him as a man after His own heart?
Let’s have a look at some lessons from David’s life below.
David always turned back to God after sinning
Let’s face it – David was no saint! He was a warrior and must have killed many men in the line of duty. His most memorable sin is, however, the one he committed against Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba. On and on he went, covering up his tracks using one evil deed after another until the prophet Nathan was sent to him with a message from the Lord. This message cut David to the heart, and he was convicted of his sin.
2 Samuel 12:13a “Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (NLT)
Below are some of the words with which he cried out to the Lord as he sought forgiveness.
Psalm 51:4 “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.” (NLT)
David surrendered himself to the Lord, ready for whatever form of punishment he would receive. He cried out to the Lord to show him mercy, and to restore the fellowship they had before. Clearly, the relationship that David had with God was an intimate one. He knew that his sin had broken that bond, and was ready to do whatever was required to renew that relationship.
Psalm 51: 10-12 “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”(NLT)
The Lord saw David’s heart, and how seriously he took his relationship with God. David knew that without the Lord, he was nothing, and his life was meaningless. His fellowship with God meant everything to him. Every time the Lord looked into David’s heart, therefore, He was pleased with what He saw, which is why He forgave him over and over.
David sought the Lord
In David’s time, the prophets of the Lord were not the only option available when seeking advice. There were seers and diviners all over the place. Interestingly, though, David was never tempted to visit any of them.
In the instance below, David had heard that the town of Keilah was under threat from the Philistines, and he wanted to protect the people of the town. Now, such an action would be a no-brainer for most people – simply assemble the troops and attack! But no, David asked the Lord not once, but twice, if it was the Lord’s will that they defend the town of Keilah.
1 Samuel 23:2a ‘David asked the Lord, “Should I go and attack them?”’ (NLT)
1 Samuel 23:4 ‘So David asked the Lord again, and again the Lord replied, “Go down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines.”’ (NLT)
Note that at this time, David and his men were on the run from Saul. At this point, diverting to go and save a town from the Philistines would expose them to Saul and his men. David, however, knew that if they sought the Lord’s counsel, they would have victory, and He would protect them from Saul. And He did. Later on, when David asked the Lord if the leaders of Keilah would betray him, the answer was yes. David and his men fled into the wilderness, safe from Saul and his men.
If I was in David’s position, would I have remembered to seek the Lord? How many times do I make decisions using my own intellect rather than God’s wisdom? More importantly, how many times have I found myself in a mess because I conveniently forgot to ask Him for guidance?
It’s not always easy to remember to seek the Lord when we have decisions to make, but a necessary habit that we must all cultivate if we are to walk in the Lord’s will and experience His blessings in our life. David was besieged, stressed, hungry, demoralized and considered to be an outlaw, yet he still had the presence of mind to seek the Lord. We have no excuse.
David knew that everything he had was from the Lord
David was a rich man by any standards. He had tamed all the surrounding nations and successfully made Israel into one of the more prosperous nations at that time. His palace was a sight to behold, and his family and servants lived in luxury. David had everything.
Yes, he had everything, but he was careful to remember where it had come from. Just before he passed on, David praised the Lord in front of the people, saying these words:
1 Chronicles 29:12 “Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.” (NLT)
David knew where he had come from. Remember, he started off as a shepherd-boy. If God had not chosen him to be king, the wealth and honor that he had would have been a distant dream. Also, David could have chosen to forget God once he became king. He didn’t though, and as a result, God continued to prosper him.
The temptation to forget God when we get to a place of prosperity is real – it’s not a myth. As soon as you figure out that you can make money, you move on to making more of it as you secure what you already have, as God is slowly pushed out of the picture. God, in His mercy, however, uses David’s example to show us that wealth should never separate us from God because when it dwindles and fades away, all that remains is our relationship with the Lord.
Let me pose a challenge to you: – If you were not as well-endowed as you are, would you still trust in God? If you get that job you have been praying so earnestly for, will you still remain committed to the Lord? Are you able to say the words that David said, that wealth and honor come from the Lord alone, not from the work of your hands?
What a man David was! I wish I could have a sit-down with him to find out how he did it – how he remained so close to God in the midst of severe trial, why he was always so quick to repent, why he always sought the Lord, and how easy it was to acknowledge God as the source of his wealth and honor. I am sure he would have much to share!