Is your heart following after God?
With the exception of Jesus, probably no one in Scripture loved God more than King David did. What is remarkable about David, is that he knew God so well that when God would instruct him concerning things that most people would take offense or be disappointed by, David took it in stride.
Let me explain. David followed Saul as king. Saul’s stature and physique was remarkable. He was the guy who could walk in a room and turn heads. Not only was he a great physical specimen, but also was brilliant and creative. There was no one in Israel comparable to him. If you were David, not a great act to follow. However, Saul had a fatal flaw. He knew it! Saul was prideful and did not consult God as he should when making decisions. So, by not honoring God above himself, he eventually lost his throne and his life.
David was nothing like Saul. The Bible is detailed in describing David as one who did not have the physical presence like Saul. In fact, when he was anointed King, the Prophet Samuel, as godly and discerning as he was, could not recognize David as “king material.” The significance is…God knew.
Most of the Psalms were probably written before David ever became king. In those Psalms, we see the heart of David; A man who loved God with all of his heart. When David became king, his heart did not change. In fact, his love for God increased. Like Saul, David was a warrior. But unlike Saul, David fought for the true King and not for his own glory. And while God honored him for being victorious and for leading His people to independence from other nations, David slipped several times. We know of his sin with Bathsheba, and the census he took of his people. These caused not only personal misfortune, but national crises as well. Yet, in all of this, he remained faithful, repentant and close to God and experienced God’s forgiveness and friendship.
David’s life-long dream was to honor God in everything he did. The climax of that dream would be to build a glorious temple in order to allow God presence to be in a spectacular place, so the Israelites who were no longer nomadic would have a central and permanent place to worship God. David aspired to build that temple.
But God said NO! WHY? David explains to his son Solomon what God had told him… “My son, I wanted to build a temple to honor the name of YHWH,” David told him. “But YHWH said to me, ‘you have killed many men in the battles you have fought. And since you have shed so much blood in my sight, you will not be the one to build a Temple to honor MY Name. But you will have a son who will be a man of peace. I will give him peace with his enemies in all the surrounding lands. His name will be Solomon and I will give peace and quiet to Israel during his reign. He is the one who will build a Temple to honor MY Name…’”
1 Chronicles 22:7-10
David could have taken offense. He could have been disappointed and demonstrated that to his subjects. He could have pouted like a child, But God, I fought for you! Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for you! Why shouldn’t I build the Temple after all the other things I’ve done for you? But he didn’t react. Was David responsible for all the bloodshed that took place in securing the homeland for his people and their descendents? Did not God order David into war?
What we learn about this is 3-fold, so listen and discern very carefully:
First – God is Sovereign. No matter what God calls us to do – we do it and in doing so, we honor Him.
Second – David loved God no matter what. David was so attuned with His God, he would have done anything to please Him…even drop the life-long dream he had to honor the One he loved.
Many times in life we face disappointment. Sometimes those things happen because of bad choices on our part, or because something might happen that is clearly out of our hand, but regardless, God is shaping us for something different than what we want.
Third - When you follow God so closely and God knows that your heart is like His, He will give you the desires of your heart even though it may not be the way you thought it was going to be (Psalm 37:4). David didn’t build the temple, but his son did. David paved the way for his own son to have peace during his life and reign and to carry out his legacy to the next generation.
What about you my friend? Is your heart following after God? Just because we love God, doesn’t mean there is no cost in that love. David knew that – do you?
- Pastor Cliff