A Heart for God – Amazingly, no matter what the experience, or emotion, or sin, David kept a heart for God, or, he repented quickly to get back a heart for God! To me, that’s why so much is written in the scriptures about David. God is saying to you and me, learn from David. If you will, you will learn how to keep a heart for God, your heart right toward God, toward people, toward your family, toward your friends, and toward yourself. You can be a person after God’s own heart.
By Pastor Delbert Young
A Heart For God
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A Heart for God
Scriptures: Acts 13:22; Judges 21:25; 1 Samuel 8:7; 1 Samuel 10:23-24; 1 Samuel 15:26; 16:1; Romans 8:28; 1 Samuel 16:6-7; 11, 12-13
Of all the Bible characters we are allowed to study… of all the characters from which we glean our lessons of life, none are more instructive than DAVID. Did you realize next to Jesus Christ, the Lord dedicates more Bible to David than any other person? (Something like 66 chapters in the O.T. and fifty-nine references in the N.T.) What’s the Lord trying to tell us?
The story of David begins with David as a young boy. It never has ended. Though David’s death is recorded, his story still goes on. Again, what do you think the Lord is attempting to tell us through David? David’s story moves from great faith to great doubt to great confusion, to great confidence, to great fear, to great sin, to… His life is like a ride at Disney World: up, down, curve, sharp snatching turn, and seldom smooth. Yet, David is the only person in the entire Bible to whom God refers as a man after God’s own heart. What does this mean? One thing it means is David was after the heart of God. David wanted to capture God’s heart. A man’s heart and a woman’s heart should be a heart after the Father’s heart.
Acts 13:22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART; he will do everything I want him to do.’
David experienced every emotion you and I will ever experience. The wonderful thing about the story is we are given the detailed steps that took David into those experiences and the detailed steps as to how he came out of them. David was anything but perfect. In his up moments, no one was better. In his down moments, no one was worse. He lusted as a husband. He was weak as a father. He made horrible decisions. He was hated. He was disciplined… by God. When David kept his heart right and focused on God, giants fell. When he didn’t, David fell. Same with you and me. Yet, amazingly, no matter what the experience, or emotion, or sin, David kept a heart for God, or, he repented quickly to get back a heart for God! To me, that’s why so much is written in the scriptures about David. God is saying to you and me, learn from David. If you will, you will learn how to keep your heart right toward God, toward people, toward your family, toward your friends, and toward yourself. You can be a person after God’s own heart. Let’s take some time and learn from the life of David.
One of the saddest things to observe as a pastor are people, who when experiencing the sharp turns and sudden downs of life, lose their heart for God. A little bump and they skip church. A down dip and they stop giving to the kingdom. A little adversity and they stop serving. It’s nearly as if they are looking for a reason not to serve the Lord rather than a reason to serve the Lord. They don’t understand that God is working through all the ups and downs. What do you do when the downs and unexpected turns of life happen?
My goal through our series is to inspire each of us to climb higher, do better, and stand taller. I want us to see that even through facing giant times, lonely times, sinful times, and depressing times, we can be successful young and old, men and women who are after God’s own heart. I want us to understand a little more about how God works in our lives. The first thing we learn is…
GOD IS WORKING BEHIND YOUR SCENES: Let’s set David’s “scene” somewhat. It was a strange and indifferent time for the people of God. Just prior to the time of David, God used judges to lead his people. Samuel was a great judge, but a poor father. The people did not want Samuel’s lawless sons to lead them, so the people demanded a king like the other nations. What does that mean? Imagine living in 1,000 B.C. with no law enforcement, no national guard, no police, sheriff, state patrol, FBI… nothing. The strong survived and the weak were abused and died. Here is the description of the times.
Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
Can you imagine the lawlessness and corruption of the time? That’s why people wanted a king. Even the people of God abused one another, took advantage of one another, and killed one another. Aren’t you happy it’s not that way today? Or, does each one do as he or she sees fit?
Initially, Samuel said “No” to the demand for a king. The Lord spoke to Samuel.
1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD told him: Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
The reason things were as they were was because people rejected God’s ways and everyone did as he/she saw fit. Sometimes we think we know what we want and what is best for us when it’s not. We want what we see fit. The horrible truth is God will let us have it to teach us a lesson for life. God knows perfectly well what is best for us. The problem is, we don’t know. So we, like David, end up on a roller costar ride through life – up, down, jerk left, sharp curve right…
God gave the people Saul as their king, who was exactly what the people wanted, but not what they needed.
1 Samuel 10:23-24 …he [Saul] stood head and shoulders above anyone else. Then Samuel said to all the people, “This is the man the LORD has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is his equal!” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
When we get what we want, we shout and give testimony… sometimes a little too soon.
Saul looked like a king, but did not have a heart for God. He did not save the ship as hoped. He nearly sank it. Saul became a lawless psychotic maniac, as we will see. Saul continually disobeyed the Lord. Once, with specific instructions from the Lord, Saul again disobeyed. That was it. The Lord rejected Saul as king.
1 Samuel 15:26 But Samuel said to him, “…You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!”
I think it is important that we note that God did not say he rejected Saul. It says God rejected Saul as king. It was about ten years into Saul’s reign when David comes into the scene. Saul’s failure did not catch God off guard. God had been working behind the scenes. Saul’s failure did not surprise God. When Saul failed, God did not say, “Oh my goodness! What do I do now?” When a man or woman of God fails, or when you or I fail, nothing of God fails. When someone dies, does God die? Our changing does not mean God changes. When our lives are unexpectedly altered, nothing of God’s eternal plan is altered. Long before the people wanted a king, God was already working behind the scenes. Long before Saul was chosen, God was working behind the scenes. Long before Saul messed up and was rejected, God was workingbehind the scenes. Long before you messed up, or I messed up, God was working behind the scenes.
1 Samuel 16:1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
God’s already chose someone because God has been working behind the scenes. Isn’t it interesting that the Lord did not tell Samuel which son of Jesse to anoint? Why? Because there is a great lesson to learn here and Samuel had not yet learned it. Let’s see if we have.
Bethlehem was a tiny little village, just a map-dot. Imagine a king coming from LaFayette, Georgia, or Summerville, or Ringgold, or Rock Spring! It could be you or your child. David didn’t have a clue that Samuel and God were discussing him, but God had been working behind the scenes. For years, God had been preparing David for this day in solitude by patiently leading sheep, so David could patiently, in public, lead people. God, behind the scenes, prepared David by having him kill a lion and a bear so that one day David could kill Goliath. God, behind the scenes, prepared David to play his harp, write psalms, and sing so he could, as we will see, soon step into the palace and play and sing for Saul. Saul’s failures did not catch God off guard.
God is working behind your scenes too. Your spouse’s failures, children’s failures, or boss’ failures do not catch God off guard. God is working behind your scenes. Though life took an unexpected change, it did not change God. When unexpected change happens, step back and wait with anticipation to see what God has been doingbehind your scenes.
Early in the morning, Samuel is on his way to Bethlehem leading a heifer to sacrifice. David, same morning, is on his way to the pastures leading sheep. The sun came up that morning like any other morning. No angel trumpet heralded the day Samuel would anoint a great king. It was like any other morning for David. Little did he know his life would never be the same because God was working behind…
God has some extremely exciting events ahead for you. For some, it might happen today, or tomorrow. For some, it may be next week, or next month, or next year. We don’t know when, but we do know God, behind the scene, is working all things together for good for those who love him.
Romans 8:28 And we know that ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We could say all things work together for good for them that have a heart for God. God is working right now behind your scenes.
GOD IS LOOKING AT YOUR HEART: Samuel arrived at Bethlehem, found Jesse, explained his mission, and Jesse brought in his boys. Well, Jesse brought all of them but one. He had eight sons and two daughters. The oldest was Eliab.
1 Samuel 16:6-7 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed stands here before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART.”
Even the great Samuel had not learned that lesson. The Lord is looking at your heart. I am sure you have heard that verse quoted, but did you know it’s in connection with David’s anointing? God’s not all concerned about the square footage of my house, or the label on my clothes, my diplomas, or how much Bible I know. He is looking at my heart.
Samuel, like most of us, at least at first encounter, became enamored with the outward appearance. I was watching the O’Reilly Factor and Dennis Miller was questioned about President Bush. Millier said, “I am enamored with Bush.” I thought “Enamored?” Miller went on to explain that in the face of public opinion, Bush did what he believed in his heart no matter the adversity or popular opinion. Miller was looking at President Bush’s heart.
At what do you look concerning people? At what part of you does God look? It’s important to know this if you want God success in life. Could not knowing this be a major problem with unsuccessful people? Of course it is! God is looking at your heart.
Eliab, though outwardly looking the part, was critical and negative and looked down on others (1Sa 17:28). God said Eliab was not his leader. Why? His heart was not right. This type thing went on for all seven sons. Samuel was confused, but learned the lesson.
1 Samuel 16:11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
Isn’t it interesting that even David’s father didn’t see a king in David? 66 chapters of the Bible speak about this boy. It’s David who established the most well known historical city in the world – Jerusalem. The Son of God is also called the Son of David. David will write half the psalms in the Book of Psalms, but that day even his father did not include him in a major family event. Jesse didn’t see David’s heart for God.
What do you see in your children? I hear parents put down their children, call them stupid, trouble, an accident, fat, ugly, etc. What potential do you see in your children? Can you see a king or a queen and greatness? What does God see? At what is God looking in your child?
David had no idea all this was going on. He was out with the sheep. David was doing what he was supposed to do. That’s how it should be. Do well what we do until the Lord anoints us to do something different.
1 Samuel 16:12-13 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; HE IS THE ONE.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power…
David was not sloppy. He was a nice looking young man who, though a shepherd in the fields, seemed to take pride in his appearance. “Ruddy” means of reddish tent hair. It was not red hair, but a reddish tent probably from being in the sun. One translation (NLT) also speaks about his “pleasant eyes.” Though the Lord does not look at the outward appearance, he doesn’t take offence to someone who has a “fine appearance.”
Samuel anointed David. Did David run to the crown store and try on crowns? No. Did he take off to find Saul and tell Saul that he was now king? No. What did he do?He went back to his sheep. He didn’t brag. We are not told of one time that David ever mentioned it. I am sure that as Mary did, when told of the birth of Jesus, David pondered these things in his heart and waited for God to open the door.
God saw in David what no one else saw in David, not David’s father, or even Samuel. God saw a GOD-SEEKING HEART. Man measures your wallet. God measures your heart. God is looking at your heart. David had a heart for God. How about you? Do you have a heart for God?
Other than Jesus, God records more about David than any other biblical character. David was not perfect. When he kept his heart focused on God, giants fell. When he didn’t, David fell. It’s exactly the same for us. But, he stood taller, climbed higher, did better than any king before or after him. God was working behind the scenes for David. He does for all his children who keep their hearts focused. Though you fail, God is working. God is working behind your scenes right now. God is looking at your heart. At what do you look when observing a person, or observing yourself? God is looking at your heart right now. What does he see? Does he see a heart for God?
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