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Test me, Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love
and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.
(Psalm 26:2-3)
It’s a question that’s often asked, and its answer is often misunderstood: how in His ever-loving mind could God speak of someone like David as a man after His own heart?
And, God’s role as Creator of the universe and Father of mankind notwithstanding, one could argue that it’s a logical question for us to explore. After all, from all accounts gathered from Scripture, when David’s lapses in moral judgment had a knack for snowballing into avalanches of sin. In other words, when David blundered, he blundered headfirst into a full belly-flop.
Before we attempt an answer to the question listed above, however, we must first note that the Hebrew rendering of the word translated after in the phrase also means to go after or to pursue. To say, then, that God was declaring David to have a heart identical to His would to miss the essence of the phrase’s meaning here.
With that clarification in mind, I would like to suggest to you two ideas. The first is that David pursued – actively pursued – an intimate knowledge of and relationship with Father God. The second is that David was no more immune to man’s fallen nature than I am, or than you are. These two facts, coupled with God’s overarching favor of David, should inspire any believer with the joy that we all have the ability to be known as men and women after God’s own heart.
In yesterday’s post, we looked briefly at some of the high-quality points of David’s character that presumably bolstered his position of favor with God. Today, I would like to focus on a few of those qualities and examine how – even in the worst, most sinful of times – those elements of Godly character were still visible through the window of shepherd-king’s heart.
Through the Old Testament accounts of Samuel and Kings, the life of David is laid bare, successes, failures and all, for us to see. By the way, if you ever wonder whether God whitewashes or turns a blind eye to sin, David provides an excellent case study that gives a definitive no for an answer; Scripture discloses in painful detail the facts that David was far from perfect and was held fully accountable for the sins he committed (e.g. 2 Samuel 12).
But what made David a cut above the rest was that his heart was intent on knowing and communing with God. He had, for example, absolute faith the Father and was unafraid to show it. Consider his actions in 1 Samuel 17, when the teen-aged shepherd boy took on and slew the Philistine bully, Goliath. Just prior to the stand-off, a faith-wielding David armed with five smooth stones and a slingshot, tells a hesitant Saul that 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 (1 Samuel 17:37). With complete trust and awareness of God’s protection, he exercised a faith in His provision that, arguably, would be difficult for the strongest of believers to muster. It’s that kind of faith that pleases God. And guess what? God richly rewards David for his demonstration of it.
David also had a lifelong and unabashed love for the Law of God. Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David gets credit for the composition of more than half of them. He wrote these at various, often troubling, times in life; yet over and over, time and again, he declares his undying love for, devotion to and delight in God’s Word (e.g. Psalm 119:47-48). It is equally important to recognize from the depth of David’s writing that he is not casually acquainted with God’s statutes but that he actually meditates on them daily. This is one method through which God granted David understanding and wisdom. This same gift – along with glimpses into the very heart of God is available to any believer with the initiative not only to read God’s Word but to spend time in thought about it (Psalm 119:2-3). And this is why involvement in inductive Bible study is essential for the person who seeks after God’s own heart.
There was also the sincerity with which David made thanksgiving to God a priority in both the good and bad times in his life. That priority most assuredly was a difficult one to maintain at times. His life, after all, knew not only seasons of peace and prosperity but also seasons of larger-than-life fear and deep despair. Whether in field or palace, however, David never forgot that God was responsible for every blessing in his life, and he thanked his Lord for those blessings profusely (e.g. Psalm 100:4).
But in spite of nurturing a character strongly and fully committed to knowing and communing with Holy God…
David sinned. It’s just that simple; he sinned. Perhaps the sin that comes to a majority of minds when they think of David is his affair with Bathsheba (see 2 Samuel 11:2-5). The thing about mighty servants of God is that when they fall, they fall hard. David’s fall – instigated by what seemed one coincidental look in the wrong direction – ended up involving not only adultery, but also lying and murder. As is eventually true in every case of sin, God rendered His judgment and consequences. In David’s case, these came barely one chapter after the offenses are committed. But there’s a twist in this plot that reveals David’s character even in this dark period of his life. David displays his humility when – without so much as an excuse, an if, an and or a but He knows and admits that he has sinned against God (2 Samuel 12:13).
In a culture and generation where accountability for one’s actions grows more and more obscure, we need to notice that there is an equation for fully dealing with sin. To admit one’s sin and ask God for forgiveness is only half of that equation. The other half, as David knew, is repentance. And he followed through to the letter because David knew that true repentance involves a commitment to turn away from one’s sin (see Psalm 51). The hole of contrition left in one’s heart by a sincerely repentant spirit makes room for God’s light of forgiveness to flow through it and shine forth a ray of hope onto others.
Conclude Day 13 by reflecting on the following questions, then document your PRAYER conversation for today in light of your answers.
How might David’s pursuit of God serve as a pattern for your own life?

Refer to the phrase that when “mighty servants of God is that when they fall, they fall
hard.” Are there areas of your life that are calling for repentance? If so, are you willing
to deal with those areas as David dealt with his?

How might a servant guard his or her life against such falls?

Please see Day 1 of the series for suggested content regarding the PRAYER conversation associated with this series.
Praise and Thanksgiving:
Copyright 2017 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved