Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Third in a series of "Heart-to-Heart Talks on Relationships," this one about relating to God


A Heart Like David


1 Samuel 13:14, Psalm 51

I knew that my mother was dying of cancer, but I still was not prepared for the day I arrived home from school and found a message telling me that my father was at the hospital with Mom and I was to wait for my uncle to come by to take me to the hospital.

I knew what that meant.

I sat on the front steps,

folded my arms atop my knees,

and laid my head down on my arms.

I did not cry, not yet--

But as I sat waiting for my uncle,

I thought through the past year of my mother’s illness. . . .

the diagnosis and subsequent operations,

her slow, gradual loss of strength,

the times when, after she lost the ability to lift a comb or a spoon, I would comb her hair or feed her pea soup with a straw,

the realization that, even though she had continued to breathe and, until a couple weeks earlier, to talk, I had really lost my mother months ago.

I didn’t expect to cry. . . .

I thought I’d already done all the crying a 14-year-old boy could do. . . .

You see, for months, I had cried out to God,

begging Him to spare my mother,

pleading with Him not to let her die,

reminding Him that she was my spiritual mentor.

But on September 29, 1972, I walked into the hospital room my mom had occupied for nearly three months, and--when I saw her empty form on the bed--I felt an eruption of emotion rise in my soul that made all my cries and all my tears of the past few months seem shallow and passionless. And I sobbed in my father’s arms for what seemed like forever.

That day--September 29, 1972--was the worst day of my life. It was also- believe it or not-- the best day of my life.

You see, until that day, my parents--my mom especially--were the center of my universe:

I ran to them when I was scared,

I leaned on them when I was weak,

I sought them out when I needed advice,

I trusted them for my safety and security.

But all that ended on September 29, 1972,

and that was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea. At the time, I was inconsolable:

I would lock myself into my room and play my mom’s old records--the saddest songs I could find.

I would lay my head on my pillow at night and pray--pray--that I would dream happy dreams of her.

I would shut myself off from my father and brothers, and refuse to talk about what I was feeling.

But over the first few months and years after my mother’s death, I began to do something else--

I began turning to God to fill the void my mother’s death had left.

I began running to Him when I got scared.

I began leaning on Him when I felt weak.

I sought Him out when I needed advice, and little by little

I began to trust God for my safety and security.

It didn’t happen overnight, but in the months and years after my mother’s death,

I began to hunger and thirst for God,

I began to desire a relationship with Him,

I began to develop a heart like David, whom the Bible calls “a man after God’s own heart.”

And I want to stress to you this morning the importance of that process in your lives. . . .

In these next few months and years, your relationship with your parents is going to be changing. I hope it will always be close, and positive, but as I said Friday evening, other relationships are going to compete and, perhaps, replace that relationship as the most important to you and your continued development.

As we’ve already discovered, friends are going to assume increasing importance in your life, as are romantic relationships; but the most important relationship for you to develop and cultivate in the coming months and years is going to be your relationship with God. And the change of heart that I most covet for you is for you to develop a heart like David, the man the Bible calls “a man after God’s own heart.”

So please turn in your Bibles with me to 1 Samuel 13; we’ll look there first, as we discover what qualities and characteristics will give you a heart like David’s heart. As we look at the 14th verse of that chapter, let me quickly mention the background of this verse. King Saul, the first king of Israel, has just been informed by God’s prophet, Samuel, that he--Saul--has blown it big time as king, and that God has already found someone else, someone not in Saul’s family, to be king when Saul dies. So Samuel tells Saul, in 1 Samuel 13:14:

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