[ecko_quote source="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 [/ecko_quote]
More has been written about King David than any other character in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, there are sixty-six chapters written about King David, and in the New Testament, there are fifty-nine references to this great man of God. We cannot only read about David’s life in 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles but can also glean insight into what he thought and felt by reading many of the Psalms he wrote. Seventy-three Psalms have been attributed to David. The name David in Hebrew means “beloved”. King David is the only person in the Bible whose epitaph reads “a man after God’s own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts. 13:22).
To understand why David was called a man after God’s own heart, we need to understand the characteristics he had to qualify for such an exalted description. First, David had absolute faith in God. Nowhere in Scripture is this point better illustrated than in 1 Samuel 17, where David as a young shepherd boy fearlessly slew the Philistine, Goliath. Second, David absolutely loved God’s law. Of the 150 psalms in the Bible, David is credited with writing over half of them. Writing at various and often troubling times in his life, David repeatedly mentioned how much he loved God’s perfect Word. Third, David was truly thankful. “I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 26:6-7). David’s life was marked by seasons of great peace and prosperity as well as times of fear and despair. Fourth, David was truly repentant. He wrote all-time favourite Psalm 51 to express his regret and asking the Lord to cleanse him from all unrighteousness. These excellent qualities truly portray and qualify for such exalted description of “man after God’s own heart”.
However, we can see David’s old nature (sinful nature) in the episode of Bathsheba. The scripture says “then it happened one evening when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to behold. Moreover, David sent and inquired about the woman. Furthermore, one said, ‘Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?’
So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, ‘I am pregnant’" (2 Samuel 11:2-5). The mighty fall hard, and David’s fall included sinful schemes, deceptions, stealing, adultery, lying, murder and cover-up of his sinful activities. Within this episode, he committed all sorts of sins and sins kept compounding. He lost his intimacy and fellowship with the Lord. He spent a year in absolute desperation - “dark times of his soul”. Interestingly, even though Bathsheba became David’s wife, in the scriptures, she has always been referred as Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
However, the Lord in His mercy sent the Prophet Nathan to warn him and bring him back into His fellowship. Nathan told him a parable to make him realise his sinful nature and the crimes he had committed. Praise the Lord, David took this opportunity and made a confession that he had sinned against God. In 2 Samuel 12:13: “David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ Moreover, Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.’”
However, admitting our sin and asking for forgiveness is only half the equation. The other half is repentance, and David did what we should all do: repent of our sins. Psalm 51 is David’s prayer of repentance to God: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!" (Psalm 51:1-2).
My beloved, be vigilant of our two natures residing in our hearts. One is willing to follow the Lord while another continuously opposes. In this instance, David was truly repentant. Let us not forget that he was a man, who just like us has sinned on a regular basis. However, despite his sin, he always loved God and sought to repent of those sins. He didn't do those sins again. He is a role model for all of us sinners who need to repent earnestly. David was indeed a man after God’s own heart. I think Prophet Nathan was a blessing to David and we too have God servants who bring the engrafted word of God to expose our sins and lead us to repentance. We thank God for sending God's servants into our lives.