(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.)
FOCUS: A Close Look At David’s Heart
BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: 1 Samuel 16:6-13
Saul proved to be a seriously dysfunctional king, so the Lord God decided to appoint someone with a more promising heart attitude — David, son of Jesse . . .
“When they arrived [in Bethlehem], Samuel saw Eliab [David’s older brother] and said, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’
“. . . Samuel said . . . ‘Are these all the sons you have?’
“‘There is still the youngest,‘ Jesse answered, ‘but he is tending the sheep.’ . . . So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.
“Then the Lord said, ‘Rise and anoint [David]; he is the one.’
“So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.” (New International Version)
PROPHECY CONNECTION #1: 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 42
Even though the Lord God had rejected Saul and had anointed David king over Israel, many years would pass before David could claim the throne. During that time, jealous Saul tried continually to kill his successor. Ironically, David became best friends with Saul’s son, Jonathan . . .
“Then David … went to Jonathan and asked, ‘What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to take my life?’
“‘Never!’ Jonathan replied. ‘You are not going to die! Look, my father doesn’t do anything, great or small, without confiding in me. Why would he hide this from me? It’s not so!’
“But David took an oath and said, ‘Your father knows very well that I have found favor in your eyes, and he has said to himself, “Jonathan must not know this or he will be grieved.” Yet as surely as the Lord lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death.’
“Jonathan said to David, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it for you. . . . By the Lord, the God of Israel, I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? But if my father is inclined to harm you, may the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away safely. May the Lord be with you as He has been with my father. But show me unfailing kindness like that of the Lord as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family — not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.’
“So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, ‘May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.’ And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.’ . . .
“Jonathan said to David, ‘Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying “The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.“‘”
PROPHECY CONNECTION #2: 2 Samuel 1:19-26
When David heard about the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, he wrote a lament for the two men who had been his most feared enemy and his most beloved friend . . .
“‘Your glory, O Israel, lies slain on your heights. How the mighty have fallen. . . . From the blood of the slain, from the flesh of the mighty, the bow of Jonathan did not turn back, the sword of Saul did not return unsatisfied.
“‘Saul and Jonathan, in life they were loved and gracious, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.
“‘How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights. I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women.'”
PROPHECY CONNECTION #3: 2 Samuel 5:1 – 7:29
All the tribes of Israel came to David and anointed him king. He marched to Jerusalem, captured the fortress of Zion, and called it the City of David. As the ark of God’s covenant was brought into Jerusalem, King David “danced before the Lord with all his might,” and he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty.
God’s promise to David:
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel, and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. . . .
“‘When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rods of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever‘” (2 Samuel 7:8-16).
“Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and said: ‘Who am I , Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, O Sovereign Lord, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign Lord?
“‘What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Sovereign Lord. For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant.
“‘How great you are, O Sovereign Lord! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. And who is like your people Israel — the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for Himself, AND TO MAKE A NAME FOR HIMSELF, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, O Lord, have become their God.
“‘And now, Lord God, keep forever the promise you have made concerning your servant and his house. Do as you promised so that your name will be great forever. Then men will say, “The Lord Almighty is God over Israel!” And the house of your servant David will be established before you‘” (2 Samuel 7:18-26).
WHAT’S THE POINT?
David was a “man’s man.” He was a courageous warrior who captured Jerusalem and called it the City of David. He was also God’s man — chosen by the Sovereign Lord of his ancestor Jacob (renamed “Israel” by the Lord God) to be anointed second king over the nation of Israel. God chose David because he was “a man after His own heart,” unlike the first king, Saul, who did not keep the Lord’s command” (1 Samuel 13:13-14).
HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND?
David wasn’t perfect. But his heart desired to be righteous before Almighty God. He repeatedly humbled himself before the Lord and asked for forgiveness. His life story is recorded in 1st and 2nd Samuel as a reminder that God rewards obedience, but He also issues consequences for sinful behavior (2 Samuel 11 – 12).
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Even though David made some totally wrong judgment calls — including having sex with a married woman and then arranging the death of her husband — God chose his bloodline as the conduit for a future descendant who would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23) in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6) and would be called “the Son of God; the King of Israel” (John 1:49).
“The Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4)