David is considered a man after God’s own heart. As I’ve been studying through the life of David recently, I’ve realized that my heart and David’s heart are often very unalike. When I admit that, it makes me really, really sad, because I know God loved David’s heart. What must He think of mine sometimes?
Here are some areas in which I so desperately want to be more like David.
First, David didn’t harbor bitterness toward those who hurt him.
Throughout the account of Saul seeking David’s life, David continually keeps Saul alive and protects him from others who might hurt him. David realizes he’s done nothing wrong, and yet he refuses to harbor bitterness toward Saul for continually trying to murder him. How is this possible? It seems David’s deep-rooted love of God made it possible. Over and over, David says that he cannot go against “God’s anointed.” While David would actually be God’s anointed and chosen to rule over the children of Israel after Saul’s repeated dismissal of God’s commands, while Saul was in power David refused to do anything against a man God had chosen. He respected God too much.
Perhaps when I feel bitterness toward those who hurt me it’s because I don’t have a deep enough love for God. God has told me to keep bitterness out of my life. God has told me to maintain a peaceful and forgiving spirit. When I choose to feel vengeful and full of wrath and malice toward those who mistreat me, I am choosing to disrespect God’s will in my life.
Second, David was quick to repent.
We often think of the story of Bathsheba and the 51st psalm he penned in response, but really this mindset had been a part of David’s character for years. When the ark of the covenant is being moved into the City of David but is done so incorrectly and thus Uzzah dies, David is angry with the Lord. But immediately, David changes the way he thinks about the situation. He apparently dedicates himself to coming to knowledge on how God wanted the ark to be transported, and in the next chapter, we see that the Levites have been called in and they did all things according to the way God had commanded.
David didn’t stay angry with God. David didn’t let his own self-righteousness dictate how he lived the rest of his life. David didn’t assume he was correct, he searched the scriptures. And when he realized he was wrong, he changed. How difficult is that to do sometimes, though? It’s easier to just assume my way is best, or that I understand what God wants for my life. It’s much more difficult to humble myself before the scriptures and change what needs to be changed. But quickly changing when I am wrong is having a heart like David’s and thus having a heart God loves.
Third, David regularly inquired of the Lord.
Before going into battle, David inquired of the Lord. David wanted to be sure what he thought he should do was actually the best thing to do. This mindset of humility is amazing to me, because it’s so very difficult to attain.
I like to think I make good choices. I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on the direction I want my life to go in. But then I think of scriptures like “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). I need to be more like David – inquiring that God’s will be done in my life as I strive to make the best decisions I can — continually asking God to defeat me in the ways that aren’t of Him. It’s tough, but that’s what it takes to have a heart like David’s.
If I want to have a heart that is like God’s, I must have a heart that imitates these characteristics of David. I must truly love my enemies. I must be quick to repent and regularly search the Scriptures for the answers to my life. I must, in every instance, seek God’s will above my own. When I will do that, my heart will look like His.