David of Bethlehem-a man after God’s own heart

I was originally going to write a sermon on King David involving the series I wrote on the Holy Spirit and the Old Testament but found it got away from. I have decided instead to do a series on a recent survey of the 50 most well known Biblical and post Biblical men and women of God. I have prayed long and hard about it and am excited about this series. One of these sermons will also be written while I am on a train travelling through India! There are countless wonderful Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs to start with but I chose David of Bethlehem (1040-970 BCE). I sort of covered Abraham and Moses before, this will not just be a compressed biography but also an analysis of lessons we can take from their lives and circumstances. But above all else how God directly worked in their lives even if it did not seem direct at times. The sermon will look at David’s life in three portions, the first being his rising action; the Spirit of God falling on him to be the next King of the united kingdom of Israel, his conquering of the Phillistines and then Jebus, and finally one of the lowest points for him, the adultery with Bathsheeba and murder of her husband Uriah the Hittite.

David has a lot to claim. Still recognised as the progenitor of the only royal line of Israel even today, a warrior, general, poet, and musician that was thought to be allegorical until archaeological evidence found evidence of his existence and confirmation of his kingship. But it did not start like that. Truthfully NO ONE EVEN KNEW HE EXISTED BUT GOD! Samuel had been told to go to this remote place called Bethlehem, a small, dusty village no where on anyone’s radar. He was told to sacrifice with the house of Jesse that one of the sons would replace the disobedient and disowned King Saul. See the Holy Spirit is not something that makes an appearance after Christ in the New Testament but something that has been referenced since the book of Genesis and whether it was a burning bush, a pillar of fire, a dove, an angel of the Lord or a whispering voice the Spirit had been ready to pour its blessing on David that day; “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 people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this 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 powerfully upon David.” (1 Samuel 16:6-13)
I love it when the Lord says do not look for what you would expect. He wanted a king unlike what anyone would have expected. God said David was a man after My own heart and that is what He was looking at. David’s physical nature, age, and abilities in the grand spectrum of eternity made little difference-and no one could argue with what was expected because it already had been ordained since before time began, Samuel’s annoiting and the Spirit’s descent were merely a physical and divine affirmation of what God had already decreed. Now you might be thinking what could this POSSIBLY have to do with me? Often times we are called to difficult tasks. It could be something like a difficult missions trip, a demanding post, or even a difficult decision that would make us unpopular and we are hesitant to take that calling up, but the catch is this; we were assigned that task long before the nature of our lives were put into place and so for the sake of our own ease, sanity, and faith, we should just take it up and trust the Lord because not only will it be ok but glorious! And we see that next in David’s confrontation with the one known as Goliath.
Saul had been at war with the Phillistines for some time but it seemed their champion could not be beat, now Jesse’s sons had been involved with Saul’s war (1 Samuel 17) but the Spirit of the Lord after the annoiting continued to grow in David as he grew in the Lord. We see this in his conversation with Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
The confidence with which David speaks is one who has had his spirit changed, altered, and overtaken by that of God’s. Certainly David has no other training or has not changed in any real way outwardly since Samuel but God has began to change the Temple inside of him. What can we take from this? David was at great risk going before Saul every time, and certainly at risk going before Goliath but when the Holy Spirit comes into us, it changes us from the inside out. Sometimes we live, sometimes we die, but always we are successful and victorious in God. I think of a modern example, a missionary known as Hudson Taylor; Taylor was the founder of the China Inland Mission (now known as OMF) and had seen emperors rise and fall, regimes take their place, and survived the Boxer Rebellion of the 1800’s. All the time with authority, truth, and confidence to overcome physically, mentally, and spiritually the tyranny that had a throat grip on China.  This is a continuation of the previous sermon/blog.
The final portion of David’s life in this sermon I wish to address is that of one of the lowest points in David’s life. When the golden boy became slightly tarnished, his adultery with Bathsheeba and murder of her husband Uriah the Hittite. Adultery and murder are some of the most serious sins one commit, yet they are viewed as equally sinful to others. Sin is sin to paraphrase the Bible but for anyone to do those two things are quite serious, one was to cover up the other. And there are consequnces to these things, in modern day immorality can bring broken relationship, stress, anxiety, and even death. For David it brought three punishments which the prophet Nathan informed him of, “I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. 12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’’ (2 Samuel 12:11) After this one would assume that like Saul the Spirit and blessing Yahweh would depart. But we do not see that, David is convicted, mourns, laments, and repents at the temple. He has been shamed, lost his son, and put his kingdom ins jeopardy-yet God says that his line will continue and the son born of an adulterous relationship will be the greatest king of all time. His descendents will even produce the Messiah. God covers David’s shame and shows him more blessings than any man should deserve.

So what does this mean for us? It again reinforces our God is a merciful God, that we should have fear of the Lord but that we should have hope. When we sin, we can deal with it, confess it, repent, and move on. We need not be prisoners of the past. Regrets and guilt not only can be let go but because of God’s forgiveness must be let go. Who are we not to forgive ourselves if God has? God gave the wisdom to David via His Spirit to conquer Jebus (now Jerusalem) which had been untouchable for centuries; a seemingly minor military movement was directly guided by God and yet we feel God cannot possibly love us for what we have done? David was a warrior, king, poet, musician, general, and the unifying force of Judah and Israel but he was also an adulterer, murderer, liar, and manipulator. If God calls him a man after His own heart, we should be a little bit more forgiving of ourself, Christ has paid the price. Repent, accept the gift of forgivenss, take a lesson from David and be great for God whether the task is minor and in the background or leading a movement. Praise be to God!

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