He Really Was a Man after God
He Really Was a Man after God’s Own Heart
2 Samuel 1
People who take every little issue personally end up being pretty miserable. On the other hand, those that learn to slough off issues and battles that are not their own seem to have a more victorious existence. That is a major difference in the character of David and Saul. I know we have looked at several accounts that painted a dark picture of David, and we have seen the failure and shortcoming of David time and time again. But let’s not lose sight of what God said about David.
1 Samuel 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee. Acts 13:22 I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. So no matter how much we nitpick at the life of David, the fact remains that he was a man that was after the heart of God.
On the contrary, Saul was not a man after God’s heart, he was consumed with his own heart.
1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
This led to the Lord stripping Saul of his kingdom.
1 Samuel 15:28 And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
Saul took every issue personally.
- Saul’s disobedience was a result of impatience, greed, and a lack of discipline. God didn’t act fast enough so he took matters into his own hands.
- When the people praised David, Saul wanted to kill him.
- He was willing to kill his own son Jonathan simply because Jonathan mad Saul look bad.
- He killed the 85 priests because he perceived that they were on David’s side. If you are for David then you are against me.
- Saul’s downfall was this: This is my kingdom, and my kingdom is about me. If something does not go my way in my kingdom then heads are going to roll.
Now, let’s consider a snapshot of David’s life in the light of King Saul. He was continually hunted down by Saul, even though he was innocent. He never did anything that was against Saul.
He was deprived of any sense of a normal life because he was always on the move.
David would have rather been a friend and ally to Saul, but Saul saw him as an enemy and a threat to his reign.
David never hated Saul even though Saul had tried to kill him numerous times.
Now David gets the news that Saul is dead. The average person would say, “Finally, Thank God.” Just a couple of right moves and I will be sitting on the throne. David was not a lesser or average man…He was after God’s own heart. David never allowed his battle with Saul to become a personal issue, and we will see his attitude in his response to the death of Saul.
1. David has returned to Ziklag after beating up on the Amalekites and getting all the women and children back to safety. A young Amalekite comes to David with the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan. He comes in with torn clothes and dirt on his head, and a crown and bracelet. This guy is trying to play both sides.
David and the 600 men hear the news and David responds with an act of mourning. This was probably not the expected reaction. No toast, no singing, no rejoicing, no high fives.
David was not selfish in his mourning and his conduct. Verses 11-12. He immediately realized that the enemies of God would use this as a springboard to promote their cause, and their false religion. We see the beginning of this in 1 Sam 31:9. Look at David’s heart in verse 19-20 of our text. David even asked that blessings be withheld from the land where Saul was slain. David is not considering himself in this issue. I believe that he knew that he was not Saul’s problem, but that Saul’s real problem was with God’s authority in his own life. God allowed Israel to have a king, but God reserves the right to make a change as He sees fit, and we are to accept as His will and move on.
2. Here is the question tonight. Would you rather be like David or Saul? Would you rather be a believer after God’s own heart, or would you rather be lumped in with the countless Saul-like believers? Seems like a no brainer. But the reality is that too many of God’s people are Saul-like. Too sensitive, too insecure, too protective of me and mine. Be aware that our Saul like tendencies effect more than just ourselves, they affect those that we associate with.
3. Let me try to illustrate in this way. Would you agree that if we remain faithful to preaching the Word of God that it will do the following? Reprove, rebuke, exhort and teach doctrine.
Reprove—Watch out for this or that.
Rebuke—That is wrong behavior.
Exhort—Urges us to serve God, to live right, to win souls. But sometimes it takes on the form of compassion and love. There is a balm in Gilead….there are treasures to be found in the dark places.
Doctrine—The Word of God teaches us. Salvation, repentance, the local church.
Now here is where we determine if you are more like David or Saul. In the process of your life you realize from the preached Word of God that you are not living right in some area of your life, in other words, you are not right with God. Let’s be honest. We are ok with doctrinal preaching as long as it lines up with the Word. We are ok with exhortation. But nothing about us in our natural state says, “Tell me everything that I am doing wrong.” You hear a reproof or rebuke from the Word, and you say in your heart, I do not want to change. The responses vary from—That’s not what I believe. To—That’s your interpretation.
It should become something that you want to make right, but often times it becomes an issue between you and the preacher. We do not even have to get real personal tonight to see this. Let’s consider issues of church direction. If the pastor sees that the church is drifting in a direction that will be dangerous to the assembly, he should do what is needed to right the ship. Well pastor, I think if we would just modernize this area, and liven things up over here, we could really draw a crowd and become a thriving church. Let me give you something to write down: Those that desire to abandon the old paths do not consider where they will end up, they only consider what they want to get away from. Let me give you a real life example of this in a confession from the seeker sensitive movement. They found that their ministry was doing a great job with brand new believers, and growing believers, but a lousy job with mature believers. And to make things worse, the mature believers were the ones who were most apt to help reach the seekers the church sought to reach. Come to find out, it isn't new believers who do the best job evangelizing seekers - it's Christ-Centered mature believers who do the best job evangelizing seekers. What's worse, they found that the mature and maturing believer was extremely dissatisfied with the local church because they had never learned to do ministry - rather they were noticing that the church didn't have anything to offer them. Rather than commissioning the mature believers into the world, Willow was trying to keep them in the church, and was losing the battle. For the last 10 or 15 years, Bill Hybels has said that the local church is the hope of the world. Now they're beginning to realize that it isn't. Jesus is the hope of the world, and Christians are supposed to reflect His light to the rest of the world. The church's responsibility is to figure out how best to train, equip, and mobilize believers to grow out of the local church so that (as maturing children) they are less and less dependent on the church meeting their needs, and more apt to be used in meeting the needs of others.
So just to save you some time and frustration, don’t ask me to bring new Bible versions in. Don’t ask me to bring in more contemporary music---where do we draw the line? Don’t be critical of Junior church and other children’s ministries. Don’t look down on the bus route or other methods of outreach. Because in reality the issue isn’t between you and pastor or the church, it’s between you and God’s authority.
Let me close with a last look at the attitude of David.