Scripture: And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjamite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.” 2 Samuel 16:11
Observation: King David – a man after God’s own heart. Really? King David – adulterer, murderer, and liar. King David – by the grace of God, a repentant sinner who humbled himself before God and man, and therefore still – a man after God’s own heart! Being a man after God’s own heart was never a judgment on his innocence or guilt, but a characterization of his relationship with God.
When confronted with his “guilt”, David was not arrogant, rebellious or defiant. When confronted with the literal fulfillment of the prophetic words spoken by the LORD through Samuel, David takes the right position of deep sorrow, humility and repentance. When confronted by a stone throwing, foul-mouthed “dead dog” named Shimei, David “turns the other cheek”. When confronted with the weight and humiliating consequences of his “guilt”, David denies himself and takes up his cross as he humbly surrenders to God’s discipline, God’s will.
Application: I’m an adulterer and a murderer. I’ve experienced lust and displayed contempt for my “brothers” many times. According to Jesus’, I’m as guilty as David. Yet, oddly when I’m confronted with my “guilt”, my natural or first response is to defend myself, to justify, or even twist the definition of words in an attempt to explain away my actions. When confronted with consequences, I plead with God to go easy on me. I sometimes get confused between God’s forgiveness, and the consequences of my actions. I wrongly think forgiveness means I will be exempt from consequences. Why am I so quick to accept His forgiveness, and yet so resistant to the discipline of the Lord?
David understood what I have yet to fully grasp; a “man after God’s own heart” is one who…
– Makes no excuses and “owns” even the humiliating consequences of his actions.
– Depends on the Lord, not on himself, to be his strength and his shield (Psalm 28:7)
– Is not crushed by the weight of his “guilt”, but strengthens himself in the Lord.
– embraces uncomfortable discipline as the loving act of a loving Father.
Prayer: Lord it is true, David was “a man after God’s own heart”, not just because Your Word says so, but also because his actions displayed it. If he were perfect I’d be greatly discouraged; he is the biblical model of how the guilty ought to live following failure. I count myself among the guilty. May I look to David and learn from his attitudes and actions in light of his failure. May I observe and embrace how to live as a “sinful man after God’s own heart”! Amen.