David, a Man after God’s Own Heart

“He [the LORD] raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” —Acts 13:22

DAVID, WHOSE NAME means ‘beloved’, is prominent in the Hebrew Scriptures as a victorious warrior. As a man of exceptional courage and endurance he overpowered and killed the heavily-armed giant, Goliath, with a stone thrown from his sling shot. Yet, he possessed tender compassion and mercy, as shown in his love for Jonathan. “I am distressed for thee,” David said, mourning Jonathan at his death, “My brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” (II Sam. 1:26) David also had humility, and was a man who loved truth and righteousness.

Because of his abundant love and trust for God he was especially chosen to serve as a type of our Lord Jesus—the greater David. It was the angel of the Lord who revealed to Mary that she would give birth to a son, and that his name would be called Jesus. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”—Luke 1:31-33

As Israel’s king, David had come a long way from his early life, when he was a shepherd boy. He had gained a good reputation through his military campaigns, and was a very popular leader among his people. However, he was bothered by the inconsistency of his dwelling in the king’s palace, while God, whom he worshiped reverently, resided in the temporary quarters of the Tabernacle tent. He said: “See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the Ark of God dwelleth within curtains.”—II Sam. 7:2

The presence among Israel of their God was symbolically represented by the Ark of the Covenant, which rested in the Most Holy compartment of the Tabernacle. Realizing this, David sought to utilize his favorable circumstances by building a permanent Temple in which to place the Ark of the Covenant. The matter was discussed with the Prophet Nathan, and God’s will was made known. Although David’s wish to build the Temple was denied, God did promise that through his offspring the Savior of the world would be born, and that the everlasting kingdom of truth and righteousness would be established. As for the building of the Temple, it must wait, however, until his son Solomon became king.

The prayer which follows is David’s acknowledgment of the unmerited gift of divine grace as expressed by his words: “Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?” (vs. 18) Then he draws attention to the great and wonderful things God has done for his people, the Israelites. “Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?” (vss. 22,23) He continues by saying, “For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee for ever: and thou, Lord, art become their God.”—vs. 24

David appreciated God’s wish to bless and establish his house forever. He said, “Now, O Lord God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.” (vss. 25,26) This is further confirmed when he says, “Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.”—vs. 29

David’s life is an important part of the divine plan for establishing the kingdom of God. He is an essential link in the royal lineage of Jesus (Matt. 1:6), as well as the type of the greater David, the savior of the world. Also, students of the Bible recognize that certain aspects of his life portray the Christian’s walk during the Gospel Age. His warfare and victories over his enemies are symbolic of the warfare engaged in by the Lord’s people who are in covenant relationship with him.

Even as David waited for the building of the Temple, so, too, those of the consecrated class must wait while the selection of the spiritual ‘stones’ continues, and until all will be brought together for the building of the greater Temple, as represented in the everlasting kingdom of Christ. David’s experiences portray the Christian’s struggle during the present age, whereas the glorious aspects of the kingdom are represented by Solomon.

There are other features of David’s life that also picture the Christian’s walk during the present Gospel Age. The weakness of his flesh shows how degrading our fleshly weakness can be to us. David’s lust toward Bathsheba, and the treacherous conspiracy of murder involving her husband, Uriah, a loyal subject and soldier of the king, are well known. The Scriptural record provides an unusually frank account of the sinful failings and violent conduct of Israel’s king, who had received abundantly of divine favor and grace.

This popular king of Israel fell into disfavor with God when the dirty deed had been accomplished. Then, when a suitable time had been allowed for Bathsheba to mourn for her dead husband, “David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased [Margin, ‘was evil in the eyes of ] the Lord.” (II Samuel 11:27) Furthermore, there is no evidence in II Samuel, chapter 11, of the Scriptural account that suggests any degree of remorse or repentance on David’s part for what had taken place, and therefore there would be a price to pay for his unscrupulous actions.

God had entered into covenant relationship with David and his posterity, but Israel’s king had proven himself unfit for this choosing, or to assume the responsibilities as leader of his people. He had not only violated Bathsheba, but caused the death of one of his most valiant soldiers. Uriah is included in the list of 37 who made up the select group of Israel’s warriors. (II Sam. 23:39) David had been unsuccessful in luring Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, into unfaithfulness to his vows of abstinence, and when his cover-up failed, he implicated Joab in a conspiracy.

When the Prophet Nathan appeared before David, he spoke a parable that aroused the indignation of the king. He told of a poor man who had but one little ewe lamb, and how a wealthy man defrauded him of it. David, sensing the injustice, answered Nathan: “As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”—II Sam. 12:5,6

The Prophet Nathan was a wise and courageous man who realized the impact the parable would have on David. Then he spoke again to the king, saying, “Thou art the man.” (vs. 7.) David, who had been specially selected by God, responded immediately to the prophet’s accusation. He recognized his own improper conduct as measured by the standards of truth and righteousness. He saw himself as one who had been grossly unjust—as a murderer, as well as an adulterer—and understanding fully that on each count he was worthy of the death penalty under God’s Law.

Having acknowledged this in his own heart, he then approached Nathan and said: “I have sinned against the Lord.” (vs. 13) Nathan responded with the message that God would not demand his life because he had finally shown remorse for his actions, and had confessed to the crimes. However, as punishment for his misdeeds, the child which Bathsheba carried would not be permitted to live. As a result of God’s punishment, the child conceived out of wedlock died, leaving Bathsheba not only to suffer the loss of Uriah, but her child, as well.

As further evidence of David’s repentance, our attention is drawn to the 51st Psalm, a psalm that is attributed to David’s writing. In it he beseeches the Lord: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.”—Ps. 51:1.4

A careful study of this psalm not only reveals the nature of David’s changed heart condition, but is also an excellent guideline for Christian people to follow, those who have entered into covenant relationship with God during the present age. It is an essential feature of God’s providence that each one—although aware that they are unable to be actually free from sin—must keep his heart condition pure, and that God’s forgiving grace must be sought for all offenses.

In this connection, consider the Apostle John, who said: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (I John 2:1) How grateful are we for the provision God has made for the forgiveness of our sins. As John says, further, “He is the propitiation for our sins.”—vs. 2

Dawn Bible Students Association
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