A question like no other has always lingered in the back of my mind since I was a child: “Do you want to be ‘a man after God’s own heart?’” It is a question that I believe many would do well to respond to and meditate on. (This question comes from the application and history of the life of King David.) First, though, defining the question is very important because in my younger years I misunderstood the statement to mean: one who represents God’s heart. In other words, I thought along the lines as if you were to compare a person to his father/mother; like the adage goes: “he takes after his father, or, he takes after such and so….”
While I had misunderstood (through my over analytics and abstract thinking), the statement really describes a man casting off all restraint to get closer to God, and God uses the statement to describe his fervent desire. God has a specific affinity for David, one that doesn’t often make sense until you take the entirety of David’s life into account. David is literally a man that wants to please God above all else! Does he have failure? Absolutely. Does he make excuses for his failure? Absolutely not. Is he a man of music and artistry, prose and worship? Yes. Is he a man of violence, grit, and masculinity bridled by godly integrity? Absolutely!
The question then becomes this: If God had an affinity for David because of his unbridled concern, repentance, worship, and consuming desire to draw near; shouldn’t we desire the same—even if we fail miserably at times? I certainly want to be described this way by God but being like David has it’s limitations too.
The better King, warrior, worshiper, judge and lover is Jesus! Where David fails, Jesus succeeds; where David succeeds (according to God’s ways) Jesus approves. (You can do this with many characters of the Old Testament as they are semblances of something far above themselves; given authority and compassion that does not come from themselves.)
So why do I compare David and Jesus? Because Jesus has a humility about himself to answer to the title “Son of David” in the gospels! Not only is it humility, it’s an identification with something (in part) that he approves. Like I said, comparing and contrasting David/Jesus is a worthy study. The evidence stares us in the face when we consider justice, success, kingship, mercy, vengeance, and an undying desire to do the will of God in service to him. David is both word-wielder, prose writer, statesman, and military tactician. And God calls him A MAN AFTER HIS OWN HEART.
We misunderstand who and what Jesus truly is when we divorce these implications from the rest of the Bible. The New Testament is not the sequel to the Old Testament, it is part II to the same story, the same God, and a King that will reign both spiritually and physically. While you are not David, you have an opportunity to embrace the affinity that God has for you through his Son. If you are an heir with Christ (Romans 8:17), knowing David is important; knowing the Bible is important. It is in Christ that the story of the Bible is your story too. It will make you live different, walk taller, embrace conviction with a fervor like no other, and humble you to your shoestrings to do God’s will though great opposition stands against you.
Like David and Jesus, we should be people that do not back down from doing good. I’m fully aware that my writing will incriminate me in the day that persecution comes. (I too am a tactician and called by God to study the angles of the enemy and rely on God for strength.) But, I often tell my kids, “never back down from doing what is good, never cease to be fruitful.” I would rally you to do the same, come what may. While I may sound crazy, I often prepare spiritually for the day I am killed/die; a day when all is torn from me and I am alone with God to answer for how I lived.
Think deep, drink deep of God’s Word. If you don’t, you have very little to offer the world. If you do, even if all hell stands against you, you will be victorious in your stand with Christ. Stand.