Summary: David was a polygamist, adulterer and murdered. He was deceptive. He never meted out justice and was irresponsible with the crimes committed under his own roof. How does a man with that track-record get God's blessing with, "A man after my own heart"?
After God’s Heart
On this Father's Day, I am led to a man of men, a prince of princes and a statesman of politicians. He was a poet, musician and military leader who conquered nations and put fear in his enemies. The most profound accomplishment that would be a fantastic epitaph was this simple phrase: “a man after God’s heart”. I speak of none other than David – a boy, a sheep-herder whose boyish features would not have been unlike many of today’s young hockey stars who can’t grow a playoff beard.
If you’re musing, “I’m not a father nor a man” I say, no matter. What is featured in this lesson is for all of us. It is not gender-specific or unique. So, I invite you to ask yourself, “What does this have to do with me?”
Everyone like and need to be affirmed (emotional support and encouragement). Psychologist Alfred Adler (a father of psychiatry) said, “Genuine human connection is as essential to our existence as air and water.”
We are desperate for affirmation.
It is difficult to acquire because in our society affirmation is rooted in performance:
...Students/friends, wear certain brands (wear those a certain way), hair styles, language (necessary for emotional support/encouragement)
...Parents to children, friend to someone – “Proud of you” (performance); reversely, “disappointed in you”
...Job evaluation – performance evaluations (points/scores); interviews – “What would you do if…”
...Church – measure someone’s spiritual commitment or ‘devotion’ on the ways they support the Corps or don’t support the Corps.
...We expect “outsiders” to perform (behave) certain ways as a sign of progress in the faith; there are benchmarks to measure if they’re making “spiritual progress”
...Success for artists or professional athletes is determined by production – recording sales and place in the charts or goals scored or touch-down records and so on.
Affirmation based on performance is a high ideal often not achieved because who of us is exceptional in performance all the time? Most of us are fortunate if we perform well enough some of the time.
This is not how God affirms us. David is our case-study and proves that GOD DOES NOT AFFIRM US BECAUSE OF EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE!
David’s track-record is not something to be proud of. You wouldn’t write home about it or use it in your resume.
...8 wives (nowhere near God’s instruction of Ge 2:24 “one wife”)
...When he should have been gone to war with his troops he stayed home and lived regretfully the rest of his life with adultery in his record.
...Then he tried to cover his tracks when Bathsheba became pregnant and so had her husband killed on the front-lines of battle; then he married Bathsheba.
...When Amon, David’s son and subsequent heir, raped his half-sister Tamar, David did nothing
...When Absalom, angry with Amon’s actions, killed Amon, David did nothing about that either.
A life laced with polygamy, adultery, murder, deception, irresponsibility and injustice was the same life that received the commendation, “a man after my own heart.” Clearly, GOD DOES NOT AFFIRM US BECAUSE OF EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE!
That magnificent christening was first announced in 1 Samuel 13. King Saul was going to war against the Philistines. The practice prior to engaging the enemy involved a sacrifice by the priest, to seek God’s guidance and blessing. Fear was sweeping through the camp, so much so that soldiers were scattering and hiding in caves. Saul felt he was losing control of the troops and since the priest hadn’t shown up for his appointment to offer the sacrifice, Saul took it upon himself to do it. When Samuel the priest showed up, just as the sacrifice was completed, things fell apart. Saul’s act was blasphemous, an irreverent act. We pick up the story in verse 14 where Samuel the priest charges King Saul, “But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” Luke speaks of this in Acts 13:22, citing the same passage.
David wasn’t favoured because of his performance; there were too many things out of place for that to succeed. THE ONLY THING DAVID DID WAS PURSUE GOD. That’s not a performance outcome. It is an act of the will.
GOD DOES NOT AFFIRM US BECAUSE OF EXCEPTIONAL PERFORMANCE! HE AFFIRMS US BECAUSE WE PURSUE HIM!
So what does it look like to say we pursue God? We will consider how David pursued God and as a result eventually gained God’s favour because of his pursuit, not his success!
1. David was passionate for God
Not passionate ABOUT – but FOR. There are many people passion ABOUT the church, their favourite sports team or a weigh-loss program. But they won't go so far as invest their lives and resources in the church, buy season's tickets or actually keep a plan to lose weight. One has to be passion FOR those things to go that far.