Have You Considered My Servant, David?
After removing Saul, he made David their king. God 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.’
David was a man who was loyal to God. No matter what he did (good or bad), he always returned to God. David always saw God in front of him. David experienced Jesus at his right side as his companion. In the New Testament, Jesus used the Greek word akoloutheo (to walk shoulder to shoulder, step for step) to describe how we should walk with Him. David experienced that companionship, and was loyal to God. Even when being confronted with his sin concerning Bathsheba, David experienced righteous indignation concerning the theft of a man’s only lamb by another. Despite all of David’s failures, David always returned to the Lord. This is why he was a man after God’s own heart.
Let’s take a closer look at David’s indiscretions.
Soaked in Sin
David was by no means perfect. None of us are. But God saw fit to show us a record of what had occurred so that we could learn from it. Here’s a short list of the failures of David:
- David was a murderer
- David murdered Uriah – a Godly man, one of the mighty men of David, husband of Bathsheba – after he refused to go and be with his wife while the men were at war. David tried to get Uriah to be with his wife to cover her pregnancy after being raped by David.
- David was a rapist
- David stayed home when he should have been with his army when it went to war. He watched Bathsheba bathing on her rooftop (she couldn’t get away from the prying eyes of the neighbors?). David so desired her that he had her brought to him, where he had his way with her. No woman at that time would have refused the king, regardless of whether she wanted to have sex with him or not – he could have her killed. Pure and simple, it was rape, even if she consented out of obedience to the king.
- David was an adulterer
- Bathsheba was married to Uriah. David knew his mighty men, and Uriah the Hittite was one of them. Since David was married, having sex with a woman he wasn’t married to was committing adultery.
- David was a hot-head
- When David learned that Nabal (the name literally means “fool”), had a harvest, he sent an envoy to request some food for his men, reminding Nabal that they did not take anything when David’s men were among Nabal’s men. When Nabal refused, David had his men gird up and get ready to destroy every single male with Nabal. It was only after Nabal’s wife (Abigail) intervened that he relented.
- David was a liar
- David, when he lived among the Philistines, would report back to Achish (son of Maok king of Gath) that he was raiding the Negev of Judah, the Negev of Jerahmeel, or the Negev of the Kenites. However, he was actually raiding the Geshurites, the Girzites and the Amalekites. He made sure no one was alive to tell of his activity to ensure his ruse was upheld before Achish.
- David was a deceiver
- When David fled to the land of Achish, the people there were concerned about David because he had slain thousands. David greatly feared Achish, and pretended to be insane. He drooled and made marks on the door of the gate. This was hardly the way a King should ever act (unless God drives them insane)!
- David ordered a census of Israel, even after being warned by Joab not to do so. God was displeased with this. This prompted God to give David a choice of punishment:
- Three years of famine
- Three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you
- Three days of the sword of the Lord—days of plague in the land, with the angel of the Lord ravaging every part of Israel.
- David threw himself on God’s mercy. God chose the plague option, and SEVENTY THOUSAND Israelites died in the plague that ensued before God relented.
- It should be noted that the Bible reports that David did right in the sight of the Lord all the days of his life with the exception of Uriah the Hittite.
In every instance, even when his heart had grown hard and/or he justified himself, David ALWAYS repented when he was confronted with his sin. David would weep and fast before God in repentance:
David lived in troubling times. How many of us can say that the leader of our nation sent all of the Special Forces looking after us to kill us? David was the recipient of that – for YEARS. David dealt with famines, war, political intrigue – even being forced to leave the country when his son Absalom conspired against him to usurp the throne.
Troubling times should send us to our knees to seek God for help, and to confess and repent of our sins. But Israel, as well as us, would only do that for a short period of time. We go to God for help; then when help arrives, we forget that it is God who helped us, turn our backs on Him, and go about living our lives just as we did before.
I cannot even imaging how frustrating that must be to God – even though God is patient and perfect. Even He gets angry at continued disobedience. I guess it would be like the brother- or sister-in-law who knocks on your door asking you for money, only to spend it on alcohol and drugs and partying rather than get their life straightened out. Every time they knock, you know how it is going to end. And it does. I imagine it would be like that…
Choosing the lesser of two evils for office seems to be a commonplace situation in United States’ politics. Christians have this ideal in their mind that the only person worthy of being over them is some who is perfect like Jesus Christ. And while that is certainly an ideal candidate, it is rather short-sided, given the fallen nature of man. EVERYONE has skeletons in their closet. It was once said that we might act a bit better if we had a television monitor affixed behind one of our shoulders that played back everything we were thinking (and now is the right time to shudder if you aren’t already doing so…).
This is what God told Samuel to forewarn the people when they cried out to God for a human king:
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
Does any of this look familiar today (income taxes, the draft, property taxes, business regulations, Title IX, Affordable Care Act, the list goes on and on…)? Remember – we get the rulers that we deserve.
While Christians have this ideal candidate in their head, we need to be practical as well as idealistic. Let me ask you a question: would you want David, a man after God’s own heart, to lead you? If so, why? If not, why not? Imagine what the headlines in the United States media (let alone world media…) would look like if David were to be nominated today to be President of the United States of America:
- “Murdering rapist to set the tone”
- “Racist Zionist will destroy us all”
- “Polygamy is all the rage again!”
- “Philandering Faker Muses about Marriage”
- “Dictators R Us”
- “Warmonger will start WWIII”
- “Least politically correct person on Earth to vie for President”
- “Will David force everyone to believe in and worship his god?”
- “Will the United States rebuild the Temple in Israel again?”
- “David, the insane wanderer: can we ever believe anything he says?”
- “David unable to tell the truth – story at 11:00”
- “Murdering Rapist – Is David above the law?”
- “Some animals are more equal than other animals”
God can use anyone to do what He wants. He will wrestle with them if they need it. They don’t need to be perfect. God can get ahold of anyone. So what should we look for in a candidate?
- They do what they say
- They are consistent
- They will follow wise advice
- They choose wise advisors
- They stand on principle
- They uphold the law
- They follow the law
- They act justly
- They take responsibility for their failures
- They can rebound from failure
- They learn from their mistakes
Please keep all of this in mind should you have the awesome opportunity to be a part of selecting those who are in leadership over you. Many are not afforded this great privilege. Take the time to know and evaluate the people who are presented for candidacy. No one is perfect. Don’t rely solely on the opinions of others – be a Berean! Do the research! Your very life may depend on it.
A Qualifying Question
So, let’s ask ourselves a question: Is my list of qualifications for an ideal leadership candidate unrealistic?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You have given us the wonderful opportunity for hindsight through the lives of Your people. Help me this day to have a realistic idea of what Your candidate should look like. Help me to not set goals that are so high as to be impossible. Father, help me to overcome my disgust at my leaders for what they have done, and trust in You to bring about Your plans through them. Father, I trust You in all things, for You are sovereign over all creation. Help me to choose the leaders that You will appoint over me. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Correction – Bathsheba was originally married to Uriah, not David, when she was raped by David. It was only after the murder of Uriah by David that she became David’s wife. This error has been changed in the text from the original version of this blog.