David’s Story: God Sees The Heart Of Us
David, the shepherd boy-turned-king and famous author of the Psalms, is perhaps one of the most complex characters in the Bible. At times, he displays examples of great faith, leadership and spirituality. Yet, these admirable qualities are often starkly contrasted against the deplorable choices and wicked actions for which he was responsible.
How can God have cause to say of him “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, who will do all my will.” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22)? How could God say this about a man whose actions at times seemed deeply in contrast to the will and character of God himself?
Examining the why of this statement tells us so much about how God really sees us and, in turn, how we should see ourselves.
God See Beyond The Valleys
In the vast landscape that is our life, there are moments of grandeur, like lofty mountain peaks. And yet there are valleys too, times when we find ourselves in low and desperate places. These are the times when we find ourselves making poor choices or bad decisions or, like David, being responsible for actions that are completely wrong and offensive to God.
Among the list of David’s failures is found adultery (2 Samuel 11:4) and murder (2 Samuel 11:15). He was less than an exemplary example as a father (2 Samuel 13:15-22), and at times, as a king. It could be difficult to see what God saw or loved about this man, when collating the different snapshots of his life.
It seems contradictory that the very thing that God commended David for – his heart – is the very place in which these evil choices find their root.
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts: murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” – Matthew 15:19, NLT
Yet God sees beyond the valleys. He deciphers the intentions of our heart and looks past the lapses in our spirituality or even those sins we find most heinous. In a certain sense, our mistakes matter less than our motivations. He is more interested in who we can become than in who we are now and this is exactly what He saw in David, the potential and the will to do better and to be better.
This is why He was able to look into David’s heart and see something of Himself there.
That David was considerably flawed is unquestionable. His love for God, however, is not. His ability to be deeply touched by truth and show genuine remorse for his wrongdoings is what God loved about him. That he wanted to do right, even though he often didn’t, is what God took notice of. He displayed a truly penitent response when confronted with the reality of his decisions and his many psalms are evidence of his beautiful, contrite spirit.
Despite Our Flaws, God Still Loves Us
The Bible doesn’t seek to gloss over David’s mistakes. He could have been easily painted in quite a different light; recorded for history as a glowing example of virtue and goodness. Yet he wasn’t and that, in itself, is telling.
God wants us to learn something very important from David’s life, his choices and his mistakes. God wants us to learn that despite all our flaws and weaknesses or even despite the worst things we may have done, God is able to see into our hearts and love us for who we really are.
We see God’s love displayed in the most ultimate way by the provision of His son as the saviour of mankind. God didn’t send His son to die for a world of righteous men and women. In actuality, God knew how deeply flawed the human race was, yet still He sent Jesus to die for humanity. He knew what we could become and what He hoped we would become, and that was enough.
“For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:5-7, NIV
Does this mean that we can do what we like, because God loves us anyway? Not at all. Paul the Apostle answers this question in Romans 6:1-2 where he says “Of course not! How can we who died as far as sin is concerned go on living in it?”
Just because God will forgive us, doesn’t mean we should provide Him endless opportunity! Just because God’s gift of grace has been given, doesn’t mean we should abuse it.
Choices And Consequences
Did David “get away with” the terrible things he did, just because God loved him? Absolutely not. God’s universal law of choice and consequence, established in Eden, still played out in David’s life.
David suffered great loss, political instability, serious dysfunction within his family and heartbreaking betrayal by his peers, as a direct result of his actions. God didn’t shield him from these or remove them from his life, even though He certainly had the power to do so.
Just like David, we are responsible for the consequences of our choices and must learn to live with them. Yet, we can be confident that God can see to the heart of us too. That He is still working in our lives, despite our failures, to bring us to Him. And that He alone assesses our motives.
“All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.” Proverbs 16:2, NKJV
How Should We See Ourselves?
It’s very easy to judge ourselves from the valley floor. We may be living with deep regrets about choices and decisions we’ve made in the past. We may feel judged by others and feel that no-one really knows us or understands our motives. We may even doubt God’s love for us and His ability to forgive us.
The deeply personal message of the Bible is that God does love us. He doesn’t judge us on our moments of failure or weakness – He knows and understands that we’re human. He surveys the landscape of our life, both the highs and lows and is able to weigh that all in the balance, seeing to the heart of who we really are.
“Then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart)” – 1 Kings 8:39, NIV
God doesn’t want us to remain in the valleys. He is ready and willing to help us climb out of them. We have a remarkable gift of grace and forgiveness offered to us, through Jesus, and it is God’s power in our lives that can bring us up from the valley floor and on to the mountain heights. Like David, our hearts will sing the song of ascent:
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
Paul the Apostle likens the gift of grace to treasure in jars of clay. This treasure is God’s glorious light that has shone in our hearts, illuminating what lies within and giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It’s grace that teaches our hearts to trust God and relieves our fears. And it’s grace that will lead us home. Amazing Grace – how sweet the sound! How precious it is!
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 1 Corinthians 4:7
This article was first published 28 May 2018