I just finished reading a book called “A Man after God’s own Heart”. It was written by a man named Jim George. It’s a partner book to the book “A Woman after God’s own Heart” by Elizabeth George. Both DaRhonda and I believe that these would be great to use in a Bible Study.
The books speak to the idea of what it means to be a people of God, people pleasing to God.
“A Man after God’s own Heart” is an expression used by Samuel when talking to the first King of Israel, Saul. He is using the expression to distinguish between Saul who has pursued his own path and used God, with David who would be a King as God desired.
1 Samuel 13:13-14 (NIV)
13 “You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”
Acts 13:22 (NIV)
22 “…he will do everything I want him to do.”
David was far from flawless. So how can he be “a Man after God’s own heart”?
I’ve made an observation in life. Everyone looks like a Saint when things are going well. The measure of a man is when things go wrong.
I other words. We are all going to mess up. What do you do when that happens?
So if we know that David isn’t flawless we can best judge what makes him “a man after God’s own Heart” by watching him when he has recognized his flaws.
2 Samuel 11: David and Bathsheba
David sees a married woman Bathsheba Bathing
Has sex with her and she becomes pregnant
To escape human wrath David has her Husband sent to the front lines to die.
2 Samuel 12
1″There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”
13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. 14 But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die.”
15 …the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”
19 David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped.
David’s reaction to being shown his sin? Repentance, submission, acceptance, WORSHIP
1 Chronicles 21:1 “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.”
2 Samuel 24:2-25 2 So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.”
3 But Joab replied to the king, “May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?”
4 The king’s word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel.
5 After crossing the Jordan, they camped near Aroer, south of the town in the gorge, and then went through Gad and on to Jazer. 6 They went to Gilead and the region of Tahtim Hodshi, and on to Dan Jaan and around toward Sidon. 7 Then they went toward the fortress of Tyre and all the towns of the Hivites and Canaanites. Finally, they went on to Beersheba in the Negev of Judah.
8 After they had gone through the entire land, they came back to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.
9 Joab reported the number of the fighting men to the king: In Israel there were eight hundred thousand able-bodied men who could handle a sword, and in Judah five hundred thousand.
10 David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.”
11 Before David got up the next morning, the word of the LORD had come to Gad the prophet, David’s seer: 12 “Go and tell David, ‘This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.’ ”
13 So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come upon you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.”
14 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”
15 So the LORD sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. 16 When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the LORD was grieved because of the calamity and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, “Enough! Withdraw your hand.” The angel of the LORD was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.
17 When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the LORD, “I am the one who has sinned and done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall upon me and my family.”
18 On that day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” 19 So David went up, as the LORD had commanded through Gad. 20 When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground.
21 Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”
“To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped.”
22 Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. 23 O king, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the LORD your God accept you.”
24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them. 25 David built an altar to the LORD there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. [d] Then the LORD answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
David’s reaction to being shown his sin? Repentance, submission, acceptance, WORSHIP
David was a human being and David was God’s champion.
God does not measure the holiness of man like you and I do; David’s life and God’s reaction makes this clear.
David is clearly flawed by human standards, but David was perfect in that he served God and God’s purpose.
There is a term used by the Church that is tough for people to grasp. “Sanctified”. Let me make it simpler. Sanctified means set apart.
David is sanctified (set apart) by God as His chosen one. David is a the Champion of God. Yet… David he flawed by human standards.
David is a man after God’s own Heart, because David has always pursued the Heart of God. He was a man of prayer, song, repentance, submission, acceptance, WORSHIP.
He was flawed by human standards but he belonged to God. People love David, Peter, Paul, Thomas, and other like them because they belong to God and they are relatable real human experiences.
The Bible is a story of continued creation of relationship by God and the struggle of man to walk in right relationship with Him. If we look back at the heroes of God’s story they are not the ones who maintained this relationship flawlessly, they are the people who maintained it constantly and enthusiastically.
The Church of the Nazarene was born of this American Holiness movement. As part of this movement the Church grew and formed a stance on holiness that closely matched that of Phoebe Palmer, Phineas Bresee, and their counterparts. But as the church matured into the middle of the twentieth century their stance on holiness began to be better represented by the Nazarene Theologians Wynkoop and Dunning. (Quanstrom, 141)
A Nazarene Theologian from Trevecca University, Mildred Wynkoop, authored a book called “A Theology of Love”. (Quanstrom, 141) Wynkoop’s way of explaining sin helps us to better see how we can achieve that “after God’s own heart” relationship with God.
She explains that Sin is really about a breaking of relationship with God.
The big difference here is that as people we often get caught in the trap of thinking that we are made up of a holy soul trapped in a evil body. This is a very easy trap to fall into and even if we look back at the time of the early Church people called the Gnostics taught this as the way it was. But really this is the teaching of man; of Greek philosophy.
Instead, the Bible teaches the Hebrew concept that a person was a “unity”; a single creation. This meant that a person a single being. Whether good or evil that person was thus responsible for their own action. (Quanstrom, 145)
Humanity had first sinned by denying that God was above man and the result of this was a break in the relationship to between God and man. In his book, “Jesus Wants to Save Christians”, Pastor Rob Bell Points us to the book of Genesis where we see that with each new break from the will of God man is moved further and further “east of Eden”; away from God and away from God’s plan.(Bell)
The repair of this is to return to God. In the act of justification (“being saved”) a person has stepped back to God. (Quanstrom, 143) They are reforming a relationship with God. They are given the gift complete cleansing with the blood of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit promised by God.
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit…”
28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
1 “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.
To Wynkoop Holiness is a state of relationship with God that is in tune. Sin is breaking that relationship. (Quanstrom, 144)
Adam and Eve sinned by breaking relationship with God.
David walked in relationship with God and was called a man after God’s own heart. So when we see David’s sin with Bathsheba or the taking of the census, the sin is ignoring God. He was breaking relationship with God.
When one’s walk with God has matured to the point of entire sanctification, what Wesley called “Christian perfection”, they are now living in an “unobstructed personal communion and deep personal relationship with God”. (Quanstrom, 145)
Man’s brokenness in sin is not just some evil thrust upon him by the devil. We see through King Saul in the books of Samuel that man’s brokenness is a string of choices made to move away from God. Man’s salvation is a choice to move toward God and accept the offered gift.
When presenting the good news of Jesus Christ sacrifice for us it is vitally important that we present His message and not ours.
Jesus himself said that “the Way” is about relationship.
He chose, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”( Matthew 22:37)(Olson, 32)
But I would say in reading his writing he took the rest of statement to heart as part of the first. “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:39)
So what is the lesson of David?
Sin breaks God’s heart. Pursuit of God heals all.
2 Samuel 12:13
David, “I have sinned against the LORD.”
Nathan, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.
We cannot condone a life of debauchery and broken relationship with God.
No, quite the contrary. We must live the Way… Walk in Jesus steps.
Walk as David did.
The more one walks with God the less one desires to disappoint God.
The more one knows God the more they know that this is what they were made for.
Jesus tells us that when the spirit comes upon us, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
That is to me the time of sanctification and it has happened in my life on several occasions. But I do know the day and the time when I was entirely sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
When as John Wesley would say I wanted to “Pursuing nothing but in relation to Him.” (Olson, 34)
Olson, Mark. John Welsey’s ‘A Plain Account of Christian Perfection’. Fenwick:Aletha in Heart, 2005
Quanstrum, Mark. A Century of Holiness Theology the doctrine of entire sanctification in the Church of the Nazarene 1905 to 2004. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2004.
Bell, Rob. Jesus Wants to Save Christians. Audio book. Grand Rapids:Zondervan Publishing House, 2008
The NIV Study Bible. 10th Edition. Ed. Kenneth Barker. Grand Rapids:Zondervan Publishing House, 1995.