The Man After God’s Own Heart?

Can we agree that David was an imperfect man? Although God chose him to be the great ancestor of Jesus, he too was, in the words of John Newton, a great sinner in need of a great Savior. Though he committed adultery with Bathsheba, conspired to have her husband killed, took a census he should not have, wasn’t a model father, mourned more bitterly over the death of Absalom than was appropriate for a leader and gave his son Solomon a “hit list” to execute at his death, he claimed that he “walked in his integrity.” This means that David understood himself to be “complete,” “full,” “perfect,” “upright,” and “innocent.” Even God, who saw it all, agreed with David’s self-understanding. We know this because God favored David with the title: “a man after my own heart.”

It eluded me for years how David could make this claim. David wasn’t one to boast in his own accomplishments; he boasted in the goodness of God. And I understood that he walked in the promised righteousness of the (for him) coming Messiah, yet I winced whenever I read a psalm that said, “You have upheld me because of my integrity.” Did David really think he earned God’s favor because he attained a level of spiritual and moral perfection that obliged God? “May it never be!” Hard to imagine.

The statements David and God made could not be contradictory, much less wrong. So, during my scheduled reading through the Bible, I decided to pay careful attention to the things David did and said and what God said about it. I marked every place where I thought David’s heart was revealed with “D’s H.” It wasn’t until my reading took me to 1 Kings that I discovered the nugget of truth I’d been looking for.

The way to explain this will involve an observation about the story or the statements said (by David, God or others).

That’s what this series of blogs will be about. But the big goal is to see our hearts changed to be like David’s. Stay with me won’t you?

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