I have a confession.
When I study Biblical characters, I often note their dark side.
– Perhaps it is because we hear so much of their faith, their success, and their example.
– Maybe it is to take away the mental picture of them walking around with halos on their heads.
– Or I could just be weird.
As I have been spending a lot of time in 1 and 2 Samuel, I could not help but do that with David. His victories are spoken of often. His relationship with God is admirable. We all know his nickname, “a man after God’s own heart.”
But in many ways I don’t want to be like him.
We know David blew it big time when he committed adultery in 2 Samuel 11. He should have been out leading the troops like a king. Who knows what he was doing when he was wandering the roofs in the later part of the day. It sounds a bit like a peeping Tom. These were all guard rails David should have had in his life. The adultery did not just surprise him one day. This kind of sin starts a long time before it one acts on it.
If this was not bad enough, then he undergoes the elaborate cover-up and subsequent murder of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. Chapter 12 tells us of Nathan spinning a scenario to catch David in his own cover up. David repents and Nathan acknowledges that God has forgiven him. David elaborates beautifully upon his repentance in Psalm 51.
I have heard David’s repentance glorified many times. People have even said, that is why he was forgiven and Saul was not. While sincere, I don’t think it is the model for us to follow.
Think about it:
– David only repented after being confronted. In other words, after he got caught!
– David was not quick to repent. The child was born so there was at least 9 months between sin and repentance.
Neither of these are models I would teach my children. “Make sure to say sorry to your brother whenever you get caught. Oh, and make sure you do it in the next nine months!”
David’s repentance is not the hero of the story. God is.
David’s dark side goes on. We see pride, deception, abuse of power, and one horrible example of parenting!
Yet, after all this. He is a “man after God’s own heart!”
What qualified him?
– Was it his faithfulness in waiting for God’s timing to be king?
– Was it his unique and close relationship with the Lord we see in the Psalm?
– Or is it because he put God first when desiring to build him a temple? (2 Sam. 7)
None of these do it. These are works. It is impossible to meet God’s standard of perfection based on what you do.
Hebrews 11 tells us it was his faith. In fact, this chapter is full of people with less than stellar lifestyle. We do pretty well when stacked up against some of these people in the godliness department.
No, what qualified him to be man after God’s own heart was his faith.
The same as it is what qualifies us to be men and women after God’s own heart.
So let’s not be like David in his response to the gift of grace. Let’s not be like him in his sin. But let us emulate him in his faith, his trust, and his dependence upon God.
Otherwise, it is up to us. Left to our own devices we will find ourselves in the same place as David, wandering the roofs at night looking for trouble.