David is an enigmatic figure in the Bible as despite his many failures, he is referred to as a ‘man after God’s own heart’.
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. (Acts 13:22)
God’s words here and echoed in 1Samuel were in the context of Saul being removed from the kingship and being replaced by one who had the heart of God. There is no contradiction here as all the failures that David had, were well after he came to power and long after these words were spoken. Even if we were to legitimately conclude that the kingship and power did diminish David, fact remains that there is plenty of evidence from his life that he was truly special in God’s sight.
- Incredible faith: David shot into the spotlight when as a mere boy he took on Goliath, the Philistine champion soldier from whom the rest of Israel fled. In David’s own words,
“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1Samuel 17:37).
Being the youngest of Jesse’s 8 sons, David was given the job nobody wanted-that of tending sheep. It is in the desert that a man is made. And it was in the lonely desert, while watching over the sheep, that David nurtured a relationship of faith with God. He did what was asked of him with diligence and then went beyond what is humanly possible. When wild animals attacked the sheep, it would have been acceptable for most shepherds to sacrifice one sheep and preserve the rest of the flock. Not so with David! So great was his faith that he took on the lion and the bear and killed them. A number of the great qualities that characterized David including humility, diligence for those under his care, worship of God, faith and patience were undoubtedly a result of the relationship with God nurtured in the desert.
- Distinct forgiveness: To a man who had been anointed king of Israel by the undisputed prophet Samuel, when given two opportunities to kill the wayward King Saul, who was bent on taking David’s life, it would have been justifiable for almost everyone to go ahead. Yet, though urged on by his associates, he desists from lifting his hand against the Lord’s anointed.
He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the Lord. (1Samuel 24:6)
In a land where barbarians ruled and triumphed, David etched out a unique trail, one where obedience to God and honoring him took precedence over all else.
- Deep sensitivity to God: The willingness to listen to God and submit to God characterized David’s entire life. His conscience repeatedly urged him to return to God and to ask for forgiveness. The above incident with Saul also depicts how conscience stricken he was for even touching the robe of the Lord’s anointed. After the incident with Bathsheba, when confronted by the prophet Nathan, he demonstrates his brokenness and the words in Psalms 51 are poignant. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalms 51:17) David was always surrounded by prophets and seeking the Lord’s will was paramount in his life.
David was truly special, and it is of little surprise that God valued him highly.
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