A Man After God’s Own Heart
Once upon a time, there was a young man named David, who was close to God. He was a tender of sheep and he would spend hours each day in the fields with his flock.
He would take his small harp with him every day, and while his sheep were grazing, he would compose songs of praise to his God.
One day a bear attacked his flock, and God gave the young man strength to kill the bear. Another time a lion caught one of his lambs, and God once again gave him the strength to kill the lion. He was close to God, and God was close to him.
When he was a little older, his country went to war against the Philistines. His older brothers went to battle, and he was left home to tend his flock and help his father. There came a day when his father sent him to the battlefield to bring food to his brothers, and to make sure that they were still alive. When he reached the camp, all the soldiers were hiding in fear from the enemy and their champion, a giant named Goliath.
David rebuked the army for their fear and distrust in the Lord, and he took his sling and some smooth stones and went to face Goliath.
He went to Goliath in the name of his God, and when he slung the stone at the giant, God directed the stone, and it sunk deep into Goliath’s head. Goliath fell, and David cut the giant’s head off with his own sword.
Sometime later, David became king of Israel, anointed by the hand of his God. He was a great king with much vision for his people, and he was loved by his subjects. However, he let himself get sidetracked and a little distant from God.
Israel was at war, and in those times, the kings went to war with their armies. In this particular season, however, David decided to stay home from the battle. He dismissed his servants and sat on his rooftop in the sunshine, sipping lemonade, and thoroughly enjoying himself. After awhile, he got up and went to the wall of his roof, and looked over. There, on a neighboring rooftop, was a beautiful woman, bathing herself.
Now, here was a man who was what the Bible calls, “a man after God’s own heart”, looking at something that he shouldn’t have been looking at! He was getting himself into some major trouble.
As he looked at her, he became obsessed with knowing who she was, so he sent a servant to bring her to him. He found that her name was Bathsheba, and that her husband was in his army, at war.
David decided that since he was king, he could have whatever he wanted, so he took Bathsheba and fornicated with her. Then he sent her home, back to her house.
Not long after, Bathsheba sent word to the king that she was pregnant. With his child. Hmmm….what was David going to do now? (I think if I had been him, I would be doing some heavy-duty praying!) David made another stupid choice.
He sent a message to the captain of his and requested that Bathsheba’s husband be sent home for a brief leave. Uzziah came home, but refused to leave the king’s doorstep because he felt guilty for being home in comfort when his fellow soldiers were fighting in the war. He would not go home to see his wife, and so David’s plan for saving his own hide went awry.
David sent Uriah back to the battlefront with a message to the captain. The message simply said that Uriah was to be sent to the front-line, which pretty much guaranteed that he would be killed.
Okay, let’s see here…what was it that we said before…that David was a man after GOD’S own heart??? Come on!! He sure doesn’t sound like a godly man at this point in his life.
Anyways, Uriah died on the front-line, and David took Bathsheba as one of his wives. He decided to try to make things right. Bathsheba gave birth to a baby boy, and all seemed to be well. But David forgot one little detail. He forgot to talk to God.
Pretty soon he received a visit from the prophet, Nathan, who proceeded to tell him a terrible story about a rich man that coveted and stole a poor man’s only sheep. David was furious and said that the man who committed such a crime deserved to die! And Nathan said to him, “You are that man.”
David was so ashamed and confessed that he had sinned against the Lord. Nathan told him that God would forgive him, but because of his sin, his son would die. After seven days, Bathsheba’s child died.
Now, the point of this story is not to tell you that you are going to be severely punished for your sins, so hold on a second. I’ll get to the point in just a minute!
After the incident with the prophet, and the death of his child, David got out his harp, and wrote another song. The song that he wrote has been sung and re-sung for thousands of years. If you look in your Bible in the book of Psalms, and read chapter 51, you will find why David was a man after God’s own heart.
“ Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stains of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my shameful deeds – they haunt me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me – now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt.
CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD. RENEW A RIGHT SPIRIT WITHIN ME.
DO NOT BANISH ME FROM YOUR PRESENCE, AND DON’T TAKE YOUR HOLY SPIRIT FROM ME.
RESTORE TO ME AGAIN THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION, AND MAKE ME WILLING TO OBEY YOU. Psalms 51: 1 – 12 “
Isn’t it amazing how God forgives? That psalm of David proved that he was indeed still a man after God’s own heart. He knew that he had sinned, and he was sorry. Not only was he sorry, but he ASKED GOD FOR FORGIVENESS! Not only did he ask God for forgiveness, but he made a conscious effort in his heart to change, to be a better person, and to live and walk closely with the Lord.
Sometimes you and I mess up in our lives, kind of like David did. And although we feel sorry for what we did, sometimes its very hard for us to admit we were wrong and CHANGE HOW WE DO THINGS! Think about this for a minute…how do you suppose David’s country felt about their king sinning in such a way? I imagine that they were pretty disappointed in their leader, and I also imagine that David felt their disappointment. But somehow he managed to get up from the pit that he dug for himself, and in spite of his human nature, he repented. He didn’t just say, “God, I’m sorry.” He actually changed his way of living, and his way of acting. He became, once again, A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART.
You and I can do the same, if we will purpose in ourselves to really WANT to live for God. We can be men and women after God’s own heart.