Summary: The Bible tells us that David was a man after God's heart. What was so special about David and how can we be more like him? In 1 Samuel 24, we discover that David had a focused heart, faithful heart, and forgiving heart.
David: A Man after God’s Heart (3)
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 3/6/2016
The Bible is full of ordinary, imperfect people. Noah drank 'til he passed out. Abraham lied about his marriage and slept with the maid. Sarah laughed at God’s promises. Jacob was a con-man. Leah was ugly. Moses was a murderer. Miriam was a gossip. Story after story is marked by scandal, stumble, and scheming. In fact, many of their antics and attitudes would make you think of the Saturday night crowd at the county jail, rather than the Sunday morning church crowd. What few halos there are among them could probably use a bit of straightening and polish. David was no exception. David was far from perfect and the Bible makes no attempts to gloss over his flaws. And yet, despite them, God himself declares: “I have found that David, son of Jesse, is a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22 GWT).
Isn’t that intriguing? And, perhaps, a bit encouraging. Regardless of his flaws and foibles, God looked at the heart of David and saw a heart in pursuit of His own. Don’t you want to have a heart like that? Wouldn’t you like to be remembered as a man or woman after God’s own heart? Of course you would. The question is—what can we learn from David about being a man or woman after God’s heart?
As we learned a couple of weeks ago when Samuel anointed young David as the soon-to-be King of Israel, David had a hardworking, humble, hallelujah-filled heart. Then, last week, as David faced Goliath we saw a committed, confident, and courageous heart. So this morning, we’ll pick up David’s story in the aftermath of his triumph.
David had just accomplished an incredible thing, a remarkable victory. A young man, not yet twenty years old, who had never worn the uniform of the Israeli army, never once suited up for battle, never once carried a sword, had run out onto the battlefield, faced a giant of a man, and killed him with one throw of his sling. As a result, David gained instant popularity. He became a national hero. The people began to sing his praises. Saul made good on his promise to richly reward the man who killed Goliath. David became a permanent part of the king’s court and an overnight celebrity. Very few people could take all that in stride, but David did. He knew how to live with success without having it affect him. It’s a rare person who can do that.
When I say people began singing David’s praise, I mean literally. The Bible says, “Women from all of Israel’s cities… sang and danced, accompanied by tambourines, joyful music, and triangles. The women who were celebrating sang, ‘Saul has defeated thousands but David tens of thousands!’” (1 Samuel 18:6-7 GWT). I’m not familiar with the melody, but the lyrics certainly struck a chord with King Saul. Saul may have been the big man on campus, but he was small in character. So small, in fact, he couldn’t bear to watch someone who was very much his junior in age and experience rise above him, both in bravery and in popularity. The Bible says that Saul became very angry and kept a jealous eye on David. Meanwhile, Saul’s sanity seems to be slipping away as well. Fits of rage and restlessness become the norm.
Before long, David becomes the object of Saul’s rage and resentment. One day, as David played the harp in an attempt to soothe Saul’s fractured mind, Saul suddenly grabbed a nearby spear and hurled it at David. David dove out of the way, leaving the spear stuck in the wall. David couldn’t understand why the King hated so fiercely, but eventually, David was forced to flee. He became a fugitive in the wilderness of Judea. But he wasn’t alone. David’s popularity and prowess as a warrior drew quite a following. Like Robin Hood and his merry men, David and his followers lived in the wilderness always on the run from King Saul. In fact, the Bible says, “Saul sought him every day” (1 Samuel 23:14).
For months, David remained on the run and in hiding. Eventually, the Bible says, that David and his men took refuge among the rocks and caves of Engedi. Engedi was a perfect hideout for David. It was an oasis in the desert wilderness, where there were freshwater springs, waterfalls, lush vegetation, and countless caves in the rocky limestone cliffs, high above the Dead Sea. It provided protection and water and a natural lookout spot where he could see for miles around to guard against any enemy’s approach. These caves were ideal places to camouflage their presence. But somehow Saul got word about David’s location, so he chose 3,000 elite troops from Israel and went to Engedi in search of David and his men.