This is the fifth part in the Bible study series: How to Be God’s Friend. King David was “a man after God’s Own heart”, a man of great faith and obedience and conversely a man who made terrible mistakes. Through it all, he was a man God could work with because of his “heart.” Wednesday night we’ll look at some of the high points and low points of David’s life and see why he is a friend of God. The lessons from his life can help each of us in our daily relationship with God.
[Gary Petty] Good evening everyone and it’s nice to see all of you here this evening. This is the next to last study. We have another study two weeks from now on the subject of the friend of God. What does it mean to be the friend of God? Now we’ve been just taking some people from the Bible who had a very special relationship with God, and talking about that relationship, and what we can learn from that relationship that these people have with God, both men and women. Well, we’ll start the study with prayer, so if you’ll please rise and bow your heads.
Great Father and King we come before you thanking you, praising you. Father for just being able to be here, the freedom we have. Father, the freedom to practice religion that this country is still greater than many other places in the world. We thank you for that and we ask you to please give us that privilege, Father, so we can worship you and live our lives the way that are pleasing to you without persecution and problem.
We thank you for the technology we have that there are people able, all over the world, to share this time with us and learn from the Bible, from your scripture. So we ask that you pour out your spirit, Father, stir up your spirit with those here today, those who are hooked up on the webcast, those who may watch this later on the Internet that they will be inspired by you. They’ll understand the relationship that you want with us that you want us also to be able to be your friend, you’re our Father. There are a lot of different description of the relationship we have with you and with Christ but one is to be a friend. So we thank you, we praise you, we ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Tonight we’re going to talk about David, David as a friend of God. There are couple of remarkable statements made about David in the Bible, and one is in the book of Acts, Acts 13:22 Acts 13:22And when he had removed him, he raised up to them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.
American King James Version×. And Paul is talking here about the history of Israel. He’s talking about Saul who is king. Verse 22 says that when he had removed him, removed Saul, he raised up for them David as king to whom also he gave testimony and said, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart who will do my will.”
That is one of the most remarkable statements made by God about any human being in the Bible. He says, “This is a man after my own heart.” This is a man that approaches life, that are doing things in a way that I appreciate. He says, “He’ll do my will.” Here’s the man that relates to me. Here’s the man that I relate to.
Now, what’s remarkable about that is God also recorded enormous sins and bad decisions made by David, and has them recorded in the Bible. He didn’t say David was perfect. He said, “But this is man I can work with and here’s a man that’s connected to me.”
All of us have our sins, and our problems, and things we’ve struggled with our lives. Can you imagine now God looking at each of us and saying, “Now there is a person after my own heart. There’s a person that I relate to and who relates to me.” So when we look at David, we see this remarkable man. And when we finally go through his history and his life in the scripture, we find example after example, and that’s what’s interesting about David.
And if you ever want to do a really fascinating study, do a study of Paul or Saul and do a study of David. You will find that many times they had the same opportunities but two totally different outcomes. And it wasn’t because Saul wasn’t talented. Now it wasn’t because Saul wasn’t picked by God. He was picked by God because he could do the job but why he failed is very interesting. Why David failed and yet continued to be successful with his relationship with God. I mean he’s the greatest king in the history of Israel. It’s also very interesting by comparing the two.
What I want to do today is I just want to take some snapshots of David’s life where we can learn a lesson. At each one of these snapshots, we can learn all kinds of lessons. With the stories I’m going to go through today, we can literally do a Bible study on each of these snapshots of his life. But each snapshot teaches us something about this relationship that David had with God, and God had with David, and why God can say now, “There’s a man I relate to. There’s a man who relates to me.” And what’s it said, again, it’s not always because what he was doing was right. It’s how he even responded when he did do wrong.
And these stories you know, so I’m going to mention them, then we’d just look at a few versus. But the first point we find with David’s situation with Goliath. Now, you all know the story of Goliath. You know that Saul and the army was faced off against the Philistines, and Goliath who can dunk a basketball and never leave the ground. Here’s a huge man, nobody is going to go defeat this man, not with any conventional weapon. Nobody’s going to go beat him.
And the entire army sits there day after day after day in this panic. It’s just paralyzed with fear. Saul doesn’t want to do, and Saul is one of the biggest men, and he’s a man of war. He’s a trained warrior. He doesn’t want to do. He knows if he goes out to face that man by himself, he’s going to die. And so they’re just paralyzed with fear. And David comes along.
And of course, Saul says to David, “You can’t go do this. You’re just a youth. You’re just a very young man here. This man has been killing men since before he was your age. Okay. You have no chance here. You have no chance at all.” And what David said is very interesting and you know the story, so I’m just going to look at a few verses here. Let’s go to 1 Samuel 17. Let me get out of Judges. It will make a whole lot more sense.
And what David tells Saul is very interesting because we see here something about David’s view point of life. Verse 32, David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight the Philistine.” For Saul says to David, “You’re not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him for you are but a youth and he a man of war from his youth.”
But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it and delivered the lamb from its mouth and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard and struck it and kill it.” Now, “Your servant has killed both lion and bear and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them seeing as he has defied the armies of the living God.”
Verse 37, moreover, David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion, from the paw of the bear, he will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” David looked at Goliath and he didn’t see a giant that was defying Israel or Saul, and this really was a very personal with David. It was like, “Well, how dare he insult me and my family and my country.” It was like, “Oh, he’s going to take on God. Let me go do it.” And here’s the first point we see about David even from his youth.
David’s actions were motivated by trust in God’s greatness and goodness, David’s actions. And you’ll see even when he failed, sometimes when God finally got him to face his motivation because motivations are important. David always fell back on a trust even when he was wrong. He trusted God’s greatness and he trusted God’s goodness. That’s why he related to God and God could relate to him.
It’s very interesting when he went up against Goliath. Look in verse 45. Here’s what he told him. “This day the Lord will deliver you to my hand and I will strike you and take your head for you. And this day I will give the carcass of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, and all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel.”
Verse 47, “And all these assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hands.” David did not tell him, “I have come here to kill you.” I have come here because I’m a mighty warrior.
Why did he show up in front of this giant, looked up at him and say, “You’re going to lose.” You see boxers or sports figures and they’ll start taunting each other, and I’m going to beat you. David didn’t say that. David said, “You taunted God.” David did not promote himself. That’s one of the great things about David. Why did he not promote himself? Because he trusted in the greatness and goodness of God. He trusted in that. So that’s the first point we learn. Now we have to ask ourselves that question, do we trust in the greatness and goodness of God? Do we actually trust in that? Do we actually believe in the greatness and goodness of God?
Everyday in your life, do you look for God’s greatness and God’s goodness? Or do we live with fear and anxiety? Where did this courage come from? It didn’t come because he was a greater warrior than Goliath and he knew that. He knew that. He never promoted himself. There was one time when he did and God punished him, but most of the time you don’t see him doing that. His trust, his focus was of God’s greatness and God’s goodness. God’s going to do what’s right. God’s going to do and his greatness will allow him to do that.
A second point is found in 1 Samuel 24. David is now anointed king, okay, after the situation with Goliath. Once again we’re just taking snapshots. There’s all kinds of information about each one of these little stories of the Bible. Each one is an hour of Bible study.
But as we begin to take these, and I’m not going through all the snapshots of his life. Just a few. Get us to be able to see why David related so much to God but God related to him. God related to him. You’re a man after my own heart. David, you and I have a relationship here. You imperfect child. Parents know what it’s like to have a relationship with an imperfect child right? You imperfect child but he’s my child. That’s how God was with David. You’re an imperfect child but you’re mine.
David has an interesting dilemma. David has been ordained king of Israel. Samuel comes along and says, “God has ordained you.” And he was ordained. People know he’s been ordained. Now, think about the human reasoning behind this. Saul has been rejected by God. He had been rejected by God. David had been ordained by God. He had been ordained by God.
But David knew something that’s very amazing. He knew that God, or he could not seize an opportunity that was not in God’s time. He could not seize an opportunity that was not in God’s time. He did not have the right to take up war against Saul. He did not have the right to create a civil war even though Saul was trying to kill him. He had to wait for God’s time.
God gave him an opportunity and had said, “Wait.” Think about how many times in the Bible we have somebody God gives an opportunity to and say now, “Wait.” How they wait for that opportunity is real important. David was told, “You’re our king. You’re our ordained king.” But he was not given the right to go take it away.
And so we have that story in chapter 23, well chapter 24. Chapter 23 of 1 Samuel sets it up, where Saul is chasing David, and David’s hiding in the hills. And Saul’s army has camped out there and he decides that he needs to, well if you look at what it actually means, he has to go to the bathroom. Now you don’t want to do that in front of all the guys or in all the men, you’re the king. So he goes up into the cave and he just happens to go into the cave where David and some of his men are hiding. I don’t think that’s by accident. I think God is testing David to see the opportunity that I give you, would you try to make it in your time or would you do it in my time?
And David, you know the story, he sneaks up and cuts off with his sword, a piece of his garment. And when Saul leaves, of course, what’s all of his men telling him? “Kill him. Kill him. This is your chance. You’ll be king. When you walk out there holding Saul’s head, the entire army is going to say ‘Hail David, king of Israel.’” Which is exactly what would have happened. He had his opportunity. Because he could have said, “Yeah, God gave me this opportunity.” No. God gave him an opportunity to be king in God’s time.
Here’s an important, important lesson here. And that is sometimes we know what God’s will is or we know what something should be. Okay. We know what something should be. We know maybe what’s God will even is but it’s not happening the way we think it should happen. You know it’s like the people that, well, I’ll tell you the extreme example that’s not a Christian is the former president of Iran, who decided it was time for the 12th Imam to come. Is it the 12th Imam? Mr. Darris knows all this. Mr. Magee is…12th Imam is…? Yeah, 12th Imam.
He’s going to come and he’s going to make Islam the religion of the world but before that happens according to certain Islamic prophecies, there has to be a world war. That’s why he wanted nuclear weapons. Okay. I got to make this happen. It’s not happening in the time that I want it to happen which is probably what Judas did. Judas probably thought “This isn’t happening the way it’s supposed to happen.” I mean he’s supposed to be the Messiah. He’s supposed to take over everything. This isn’t happening the way it’s supposed to happen. This isn’t what the prophecy say the Messiah does.
You know he walks around with the 12 of us across the countryside. Half the time we don’t have a place to sleep and eat. Messiah’s must rule. And so he tried to force it. David had that opportunity. And David comes running out of the cave and tells Saul, “I’m sorry. What I did was wrong because that was disrespectful.” And this was the man that God had already said, someday will be king. He did not seize an opportunity until it was God’s time.
Now knowing when it’s God’s time is very hard and difficult sometimes but we know that if the methods we must use are not God’s methods, then it’s not God’s time. God’s time will require God’s methods. Well, we do all kinds of things as human beings. We’ll reason through all kinds of ways to do something. Well, I know it’s what God wanted. I sat with a person this was many, many years ago, 25 years ago, and listened to this and didn’t even know how to answer it.
God loves me. Because God loves me, He wants me to be happy. Because God wants me to be happy, He wants me to leave my husband. But you have no biblical reason to leave your husband. Yes, I do. God wants me to be happy. We can reason anything if we give ourselves the chance to follow that reasoning.
So here we have this other situation where we see, where David refused to seize an opportunity that wasn’t God’s time because he had to use methods that God would not have approved of. That’s a man after God’s own heart. If he was driven by his own desires for the very thing God was going to give him, power, he would have done differently.
A third snapshot, and this is one of my favorite stories about David because it’s also about the other person involved. We have a man named Nabal which means fool. Now David has to run away from Saul still because Saul now is trying to kill him again. So he decides the best thing to do is go around the borders of Israel with his band of bandits. He was considered a terrorist group. He and his men were considered a terrorist group, a band of bandits. And what they were actually doing is they’re going along the borders of Israel defending the small Israelite farmers and villages from raiders, from Arab raiders and raiders from different tribes that would come across the border, hit and run. Steal what they could and go back across the border. So he’s doing that.
Well along the way, he would save these people. And people would feed him and help take care of him, give food for his soldiers. Well Nabal, they come to attack his herds and David protects them. Drives off the raiders, saves his herds and Nabal is a very rich man. Saves his herds, saves his men, saves his servants, and they come and tell Nabal. And Nabal says, “He’s nothing but a bandit.” Because David said to his servant and says, “I would like some food. Would you give me some food for my men?” And he says, “He’s nothing but a bandit. I’m not going to give him food.”
Now, David’s got a small army, and Nabal is a stubborn man. And he says, “I’m not going to give him food. He’s a bandit.” And his servants said, “Yeah, but he really did protect us and your property.” “So? I didn’t ask him to do that. Tell him to go away.”
So the servant goes to Abigail, and Abigail is the one I find so interesting in this story. He goes to Abigail, who is Nabal’s wife. I would guess Abigail was probably younger and probably it was an arranged marriage. And the reason I say that is she’s not only described as beautiful and intelligent and wise, she’s everything Nabal’s not and I don’t think she picked him.
And when you look at arranged marriages back then, a lot of times it was a very young girl, sometimes that are mid-teens married to an older man. So it’s probably an arranged marriage. I can’t say that for sure but she’s used to being in charge of things. The servant goes to her and says, “You know what? Your husband is about to get all of us killed because that kind of insult is so horrible, David is not going to take that insult. And he’s going to ride in here with all those trained hardened soldiers. And we’re going to run out there with our little swords, and they’re going to kill every one of us. We don’t have a chance.”
And how Abigail handles this and David responds, tells us something about David that’s remarkable. David had been insulted. Remember, he had already been ordained king. He’s just waiting for Saul to be taken out by God. He’s being persecuted. He’s been driven all over the place, and he’s doing the only good thing he could do, protecting Israel with the only way he can, and here’s this rich man spitting in his face. So he does what, his testosterone is up, he’s going to handle this the way he had handled things. I’ll go kill everybody in the village. Okay. We’ll solve this.
And so we pick up the story here at verse 23. Now David has 400 men with him. I call this story 400 angry men and one good woman. Okay, because that’s what this is about. You have to understand, I’ve seen small herds of horses running and you see the dust. You got hundreds of men, riding horses, they’re not trotting along. David said, “Strap on your weapons, we’re going to a battle.” And these warriors strapped on their weapons, put on their armor, jumped on their horses, and they’re not out for just an afternoon trot. This is a thundering herd coming along down across the countryside.
Okay, so you have to understand what’s happening here. And there in front of them is this really long caravan of donkeys and camels and they stopped. Now there’s this moment in time where you have hundreds of angry men and this little long caravan and there’s a woman. And she comes out and falls down in front of David. Now I’m amazed that everybody stopped. Everybody just stops at this point. Now they all stopped. And she comes down and she falls down in front of David.
Verse 23 or 20…let’s start at verse 23. Now when Abigail saw David, she hasted to dismount from the donkey, fell on her face before David and bowed down to the ground. So she fell at his feet and said, “On me my Lord, on me let this iniquity be. And please let your maidservant speak in your ears and hear the words of your maidservant. Please let not my Lord regard this scoundrel Nabal.” I find this interesting. She doesn’t say, “Please you know be careful of my husband. He’s a nice man.”
“Yeah, this is the type of man he is.” Okay. “I understand why you’re angry.” “For Nabal is his name which means fool and folly is with him, but I, your maidservant did not see the young man of my Lord whom you sent. Now, therefore my lord, as the Lord lives,” this is as God lives, “and as your soul lives as the Lord has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your hand, now that let your enemies are those who seek harm for my lord be as Nabal.”
And you got to remember what she said here. If you do this, what makes you any different than my husband? Now, she didn’t know if David was going to kill her. We know the end of the story. You have to understand at this point in time, she doesn’t know. She’s never met David, but once she goes to him and says, “This is wrong. You’re going to seek vengeance that gets the foolish man? What will make you any different than him?” Now, humanly speaking is like, well that “No, no, no. They’ve all started it. He’s the wrong one. We didn’t start it, and he is the one that’s wrong.”
But David here was being driven not by justice but by revenge. Those are two different things. He wasn’t being driven to do the law of God because Nabal had broken the law of God. There’s the law of hospitality in the Old Testament. He’s going to kill him because he’s mad at him. He’s being driven by the wrong motivation. At this point, he could have spurred his horse, and 400 men can run over her, and that’s how she could have died. In fact probably most cases in the ancient world that’s exactly what would have happened.
She goes on and she says to him, verse 27, “Now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young man who follow my lord. Please forgive the trespass of your maidservant, for the Lord will certainly make for my lord an enduring house because my lord fights the battles of the Lord, and evil has not founded you throughout your days.
Yet a man is risen to pursue you and seeks your life but the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the Lord your God, and the lives of your enemies, he shall sling out as for the pocket of the sling. And it shall come to pass for the Lord has done for my lord according to all the good that he spoken concerning you, and has appointed you ruler of the house of Israel that this will be no grief to you.”
Now, think what she’s saying here. You’re going to be king after Saul, we know that. God already said it. We’re all just waiting for Saul to be replaced. We know this. But he says, “Think about what this will mean to you as king. Do you want to be known as the man who killed a fool because he insulted you? Is that what you want to be known as?” “Neither that have shed blood without cause or that my lord has avenged himself but when the Lord has dealt well with my lord, then remember your maidservant.”
She said, “Now, remember me when this happens. Remember when God fulfills his promises. Remember me that I came along.” Which I think it shows her brilliance, her wisdom. Remember please that I’m the one who kept you from this bad reputation. Could you imagine a king whose reputation is, don’t mess with me. There’s no justice with a king like that.
What would have David’s reputation been if he had gone and killed everybody? He would have killed the women and children. But he doesn’t kill all the men because they would all had to go out and defend their master, and he was going to kill all of them, and she knew that. And she said, “How could you do this? What would make you any different than my husband?”
And when you read through, David said, “Thank you. Thank you. You saved me from doing something horrible.” And that teaches us something else about David. When David had lost control of his emotions, when shown he was wrong, he got control of his emotions.
David is a very emotional man, very emotional man. We have an entire book of song lyrics written by him and poems written by him. We have this warrior poet. We have him singing songs. We have him dancing in public. We see that his emotions can swing sometimes from one point to another very quickly. So we have a very emotional man. But what we find is a man that when his emotions were out of control, if you could show him he was wrong, he would change his emotions. An emotional control, his remarkable ability, this is enhanced by God’s spirit. Now, we do know he did have God’s spirit also.
Emotional control. He was not totally controlled by his emotions even though he’s very emotional. That’s a great point. A man who when he had lost control of his emotions was able, when someone showed him he was wrong, he was able to get control of his emotions. He left Nabal alone. He simply rode away.
Of course, when she went home, you know the rest of the story. He got drunk. Came out of the drunk and stupor. She said, “Sweetheart, I just saved your life.” Guy had a heart attack and died. And remember what she had said? When all these good things happen to you, remember me. So he said, “Go get that woman and I want to marry her.” He didn’t marry her because he loved her. He married her because she was going to be taking care of him for the rest of her life. You know he didn’t know her long enough to love her. She came up, fell down in front of him and corrected him and told him not to do this.
But the important thing is is that we see a man, God said, “Here’s the man after my own heart.” He was a highly emotional man, but he can rein that in and he can control it. He can learn to when people will show him where he was wrong. And that happened on many occasions. He had the power to kill anybody who told him he was wrong.
And you see this over and over in his life where people would insult him and he would tell the person next to him would say, “Let me go kill him.” And he’d say, “No, leave this one alone. Leave this one alone.” Now you insult God, you had a whole another problem with it. You insult God, you had a whole other problem. One of those things that are just remarkable about him.
The fourth thing I want to talk about is David’s humility towards God that caused him to see life a certain way. It was a humility before God. We know what happened with Bathsheba, and that story, everybody knows that story. In fact, I’ve heard people say, “I don’t know. I don’t see how God could ever let David into the kingdom. He was so horrible. He committed adultery and he had a man murdered.”
Well, all of us have sinned before God. All of us, none of us deserve to be in God’s kingdom. He forgives us and then He changes us through His spirit, and that’s the same process David went through. David got so far from God that he did these horrible things as king after God had made him king, after God had given him all these blessings and all these power. And now he blows it. Absolutely uses his power. It’s not just that he had sinned. He used his power to sin.
You imagine any other man sending out to Bathsheba and saying, “Come to palace.” Well, nobody else had a palace right? Any other man would have said, “Come visit me tonight.” And she just said, “What kind of pervert are you?” It was the king that invited her. He used his power to send Uriah back. Uriah carried his own death sentence with him when he went back from the king, a man who was incredibly loyal to him.
And David was punished for the rest of his life because of this. He was punished for the rest of his life. It’d be easy to say, “I don’t understand why God didn’t leave Saul as king, when Saul did wasn’t nearly this bad.” But yes, it was.
When God sent Samuel to confront Saul, Saul said, “It’s not my fault.” He was the victim and it wasn’t his fault. Saul did not have the ability or the humility to be brutally honest with himself. David’s humility caused him to…this humility was before God to be brutally honest with himself.
I think self-honesty is probably the most difficult thing or one of the most difficult things we have as human beings. The ability to totally honest about ourselves, to look at ourselves and be totally honest. Intellectual honesty, right? We can be honest with money here, we don’t steal. But are we honest with ourselves? I think we lie to ourselves all the time, about ourselves, about our own motivations, about our own behavior. We just lie to ourselves all the time.
That’s what makes David so amazing because months go by, months go by and David’s conscience is becoming calloused. He’s not repenting. And you know what happens in 2 Samuel 12. We know what happens here because Nathan now, the prophet, goes to David.
Once again, I admire Nathan’s courage here. When Nathan was told to do this, he probably looked to God and said, “You know I may not come out of this room alive. You’re going to go have me tell the king what?” And Nathan did it. Nathan walks in, he says, “David I have an issue that I want to talk to you about.” He says, “I want your ruling on something.” Rich man, rich man, the richest man in Israel has herds of flocks, of sheep and goats and just very rich. And he has this neighbor that’s very poor, he lives in a little hut over here.
And this rich man has a family and they have nothing. In fact, they only have one lamb and that lamb is a pet. They’re not raising it for food or anything. It’s a pet. And the rich man has someone come by to visit. And he says, “You know what? I only have 10,000 sheep and goats.” Send some of his thugs over, and they steal the little lamb from this family, the only one they have. The kids are crying, and he takes it and kills it and gives it to his guest.
Now, you know what? If you look to the Old Testament, the penalty for stealing was you had to pay back four times or seven times, and depending on the motivation. David sees this motivation that’s so horrible that he goes beyond the simple prescription of the law because he has the power to judge. He’s the king.
And he says, “You know what? This person is so evil. I want him killed. That man, I want him killed. I’m not going to have this kind of evil taking place in my kingdom.” And so verse 5, he says, “This man shall surely die. And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” He said, “Yeah, I’m going to have him pay that four times in accordance to the law. And then I’m going to have this guy stoned to death.”
And Nathan said to David, verse 7, “You are the man.” Thus says the Lord God of Israel, “I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wife into your keeping and gave to you the house of Israel, Judah. Now that had been too little, I would have given more to you. David, we had a relationship here.”
Of course, now this while David and God haven’t had a relationship for an extended period of time. Time is going on here since that event, and we know it’s getting closer to the time when the baby will be born. Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord to do this evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword. You have taken his wife to be your wife, and you have killed her with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house.
It goes on, He says, “There’s going to be all these curses.” David now stood exactly where Saul stood when Samuel came to him and said, “You didn’t do what God said.” And Saul looked at Samuel and said, “It wasn’t my fault. It was the people.” Now, David could have said a lot of things like, “Come on, Nathan. You know how hard it is to be the king. You know she’s a beautiful woman. It’s her fault. She shouldn’t have been bathing out on top of the house where I can see her. She’s a temptress, Nathan.”
He could have said, “You know what it’s like. I only have five wives. Five women drive me crazy. I just needed someone to comfort me. Nathan, I fell in love of her. God is the God of love. I love her.” How many times have you heard that as an excuse for all kinds of things? I love her. He could have used any of these excuses. He could have said, “Come on, Nathan, people die in battle all the time. You want to see the casualty list from last week’s battle? Come on.”
David said to Nathan, verse 13, “I have sinned against the Lord.” That’s what he said. He probably collapsed on the ground. He was like, “I’ve been waiting somehow deep inside of me, I’ve been waiting for this day to come. I have sinned against the Lord. What I did was so horrible to that man and his wife. But what I did to God is even worse because that was His son and that’s His daughter, and I did it. And there’s nothing except that.” That’s what make Psalm 51 so amazing, because he wrote Psalm 51 because of this.
And you find no excuses in Psalm 51. What you do see is him begging God, “Do not take your spirit away from me. Create on me a clean heart.” And if you go through a look at the words for iniquity, the word there he uses for sin, in Hebrew he uses different words throughout that Psalm, and there’s a reason why. He tells God, “I’m a crook, I’m a pervert. I am all these things that I have no defense. And if You don’t forgive me,” and then he says, “If You don’t give me a clean heart, if you don’t change me, that’s what I am. That’s all I am.”
Then he actually tells God, “If You forgive me, I’ll tell you what I’ll do.” Now, this is what I find even more amazing. All of us have been to the place where we’ve been on our knees saying, “Okay, I’m junk. If you please forgive me, I have no defense anymore.” When you finally get to that place, “I have no defense anymore,” this is, “I am really messed up.” That’s where David was.
But what’s really amazing and you see how this relationship with God, he was so afraid of losing that relationship with God. He told him, “If you forgive me,” go back and read the second half, well read all of Psalm 51, “If you forgive me, I will sing about this forever.” Psalm 51 is what? Now, I want you think about this. Your worst sins that you don’t want anybody to know and you tell God, “If you forgive me, that shows how great you are. I’ll you what I’d do, I’ll write a song and it will be number one on the pop charts for the next 3,000 years.”
We’re still singing Psalm 51 today, aren’t we? David would be proud that we’re still singing Psalm 51. I would be embarrassed. Thousands of years later, people are still singing about my sins? David would be proud because he still tells you what God’s like. It tells you what I was like and it tells you what God is like.
I always admire David, but I’ll tell you, I have never measured up to David. I have never measured up to David. And he said, “Okay, I want to measure up to Jesus Christ. Okay. I can’t measure up to Jesus Christ. Find somebody I can measure up to. I can measure up to David. Yeah, I can go slay a village.”
I can’t measure up to David. How do you think that way? His relation with God is so important. I will sing it. I will sing about this. I will tell everybody the depth of the ugliness of the most horrible sins I have committed, and I will sing about how great You are because You forgive me.
So next time you think God will forgive you for something, go read Psalm 51. Go see David’s viewpoint. And God forgave him. And you know what God said? “I forgive you. But son, what you did here, you hurt My people. You will suffer for the rest of your life.” And David suffered. His children killed each other. They tried to kill him. One of his sons slept with his wives. It was horrible.
And you see David never once go to God and say, “Well, this isn’t fair.” He never once did that. Instead, he wrote more songs about how fair God is. And he sang them to everybody. He sang songs about how great God is. You see, David’s humility towards God caused him to be brutally honest with himself. And that was part of that relationship with God. And he maintained the relationship with God. It was restored. It was restored even after that.
Another snapshot of his life is in 1 Chronicles, 1 Chronicles is another example of something David did wrong. So we have all of these instances of these great things he did right, but there’s these instances of where he did wrong because each one of these reveal us something about his relationship with God.
David decides he wants the number of the people. This is 1 Chronicles 21, very interesting statement here, “Now Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.” That’s very interesting because Satan is not mentioned much in the Old Testament. At least these walks to the Old Testament, they end up in the prophets.
So here we have Satan. Satan got to David. Satan motivated him. Now, how he motivated? It was Israel. It was interesting because he motivated him the number Israel. That doesn’t mean, well, let’s take a census and see how many farmers we have. Let’s take a census to find out how many factories we have. That’s not what this is for. There’s only one reason for taking a census.
At this point, David had brought Israel and Judah together into one nation. And there’s this short period of time, the end of Saul’s reign and David’s reign and Solomon’s reign where Israel is just about the most powerful nation in the entire Middle East. There’s this moment in time where they have all this power because they sit on the trade routes between the Hittites, the Babylonians, all those people, and Egypt.
Everything goes north and south, and guess where the trade routes go through? They were the greatest middlemen in history. And they had an army, that by those standards, even by today’s standards is large. They had all this power. That’s the only reason you number your people as the king.
In fact, that’s interesting that Joab, verse 2, David said to Joab and the leaders of the people, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.” Now, Joab is not a good guy in the Bible. Joab, he’s kept alive by David for one reason – he’s the greatest general he has. But Joab stabs him in the back. He kills Absalom when he tells him not to. Joab actually tries to do, he tries to carry out a genocide against some of the heirs.
We look at what’s going on between the Israelis and the Arabs today. Remember, this was going on David’s time. They were fighting each other then. I mean, some of them was ugly. He’s just furious when he finds out Joab was literally trying to wipe out an entire tribe of people. He’s trying to kill everyone of them, and they fled to Egypt, the ones that were left. Of course, eventually guess what they did? They came back and started another war because the Egyptians restocked them, and they sent them back.
So in fact, when David dies, the first thing he tells, he gives some instructions to Solomon, he says, “Now, the first thing you’re going to have to do, go kill Joab.” This guy will try to take over your kingdom. Now remember it says when Joab heard that David was dead, he fled. Why would he flee? He knew, “David controlled me.” He’s not sure his son can. “So he’s going to tell him to kill me.” He knew exactly what was going to go on.
So Joab is not the good guy in the story. But Joab tells him, “Don’t do this. God will be upset. God does not want us to rely on our numbers and our horses and our power. He wants us to rely on Him.” In fact, he says, at the end of verse 3, “Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?” Nevertheless, the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore, Joab departed and went throughout all of Israel and came to Jerusalem.
Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and Judah had 470,000 men who drew the sword. He did not count Levi and Benjamin among them for the king’s word was an abomination to Joab. He let the Levis out, he let out the Benjamins. He’s trying to protect them.
That’s a huge army. That’s bigger than the United States Army. Now, they didn’t have 350 or 310 million people either. Basically everybody that would probably be between mid-teenage years to their 40s are in the army. Now, everybody is in the army, which is the way it is in Israel today over there. You know from 18 to 40, you’re in the army. Now, I’m not sure it’s in the late 30s or early 40s, but you’re in the army, men and women. But here, it’s just the men.
Verse 7, “And God was displeased with this thing and He struck Israel.” And David said to God, “I have sinned. Take away the iniquity of your servant for I’ve done very foolishly.” Okay, David sees the sin and he goes to ask forgiveness. And Gad says, “No, no, no, no, David. You had great responsibility and you don’t get off that easy.” So He gives him three choices. “Here’s your punishment. I offer you three things, first hand, choose one of them, and I will do it to you.”
So Gad, he was the prophet, came to David. He said, “Choose,” verse 12, “either three years of famine or three months of defeat and to be defeated by your foes with the sword of your enemies overtaking you, or else three days of the sword of the Lord, a plague upon the land. Now David you’re going to survive this, but what you did was against God.”
David loved his country. David loved his people. What do you see? What are the great motivations of David? It’s his love towards his people. And God said, “You counted them to use them as power. So I tell you what. Your punishment is them. Now we say, “How unfair, God.” Remember, they were converted people. It wasn’t their day of salvation. They’re going to resurrect into the future.
David’s day of salvation was at the time, and God says to him, “What you love is what you abused. So what you love is what you’re going to lose.” And David says, “I can’t choose. You choose. I can’t choose it. I can’t make this decision. So I will give my hand into You and Your mercy.” And God begins to kill people with a plague. They begin to die by the thousands.
And so David decides he has to go do a sacrifice. And here’s what’s so interesting. Let’s go down to verse 21. Because Ornan was a man who owned a threshing floor. It was a place where he could do a sacrifice, and David is going here to do a sacrifice. David came to Ornan and Ornan looked and saw David. He went out of the threshing floor and bowed down to David with his face to the ground. Then David said to Ornan, “Grant me this, the place of this threshing floor that I may build an altar on it to the Lord. You shall grant it to me at the full price that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.”
He said, “God wants me to sacrifice, so I need to do a sacrifice, and He wants me to do it here, and your threshing floor is the perfect place. I can build an altar, I can do the sacrifice.” “He’s going to destroy this threshing for me.” “It’s okay. I will pay you everything that it’s worth. And you can keep the land. I’m just going to do a sacrifice.”
And Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself and let my Lord the king do what is good in His eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing for implements for wood, and the wheat of the grain offering, I give it to you.” He says, “No, no, no, no. You’re the king. You want to worship God, we have to stop this plague. You take everything. You destroy the property here, you use my animals, you take the grain, I give you the wood, do it.”
Now, what would most people say? God is blessing me by giving me what I need to do to sacrifice. But David understood something that is easy for us to forget. This is a man after God’s own heart. He saw every action he did with God as part of a relationship. This wasn’t just the law. “How much do I love thy law? It is ever with me.”
Then you read, he saw the law is the mind of God. Go read Psalm 119. This is the way God thinks. He loved God. This was all about a relationship. He’s the friend of God. And he said, “No, I won’t do that.” Now, see that’s the opposite of the normal human reaction. God’s blessed me. He is with me. This is great.
Verse 24, then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings that which has cost me nothing.” You see, that’s not a sacrifice, is it? It’s your sacrifice. David understood the meaning of sacrifice before God. He understood that God forgave him, but there was a price for it. He refused what would be seen as a blessing from God and said, “This is a blessing from God. I’m responsible. I am whom must sacrifice. It should cost me something.”
I think of Jesus looking at the widows, giving them a small amount of money, and looking at rich people who are giving a lot. He said, “That is acceptable to God.” Why? This person giving a thousand times more. Yes, but that’s a sacrifice. That is an understanding of the greatness of God, and in such thankfulness, David was willing to sacrifice whatever the cost to be back in a relationship with God and save the people he loved.
That’s a remarkable attitude, isn’t it? That’s not the way normally we think. We would have said, “God’s blessing me.” David said, “That’s not a blessing from God. I have to sacrifice.” And I think in our society, we don’t think of sacrificing much. We give our tithes and our offerings, and we begrudge it, or we don’t give them, or we give them what we think we’re able. Do we sacrifice for God? How about our time, our effort? What do we sacrifice for God, when we realized what He sacrificed for us. You can now give that sacrifice. But David understood, God deserves a sacrifice. He deserves sacrifice.
A while back, I had somebody come to me and say, “You know what? I don’t know if I’m going to give anymore offerings at the feast. I just feel like the church is just…” This person wasn’t in United, they go to different churches. “And all these churches, every feast days I go to, I go to different churches, all they do is demand an offering.” And I said, “Then don’t give anything.” He was surprised. I said, “Please don’t give anything.”
If your relationship with God is such, that it irks you, it makes you angry, it makes you bitter to sacrifice for Him, don’t give. That already hurt your relationship with Him more, which was the answer I thought I’d give him at all. You see, it’s better not to give than to give with that kind of attitude. You see, David couldn’t even imagine that. What God has done for me, the little sacrifices I do for Him, I want to give them. I want to give those kind of sacrifices to God.
When you read the Psalms, they reveal the depth of emotions that David felt towards God. This was everything. It was about, “How do I relate to God? I don’t want to displease God. I want God to be in my life, and I can’t do this without Him. I’m nothing without Him.” His obedience to God’s law shows his remarkable reason to commitment. He’s a very logical man too. A reasoned commitment to God. The response of repentance shows his desire to do God’s will, and admits of his own weaknesses. And his courage reveals his trust in God.
We have just looked at a few stories here tonight, but studied the whole life of David. When you do, you’re going to find a man in relationship with God, and you’ll find a man after God’s own heart. Remember, we do have another study here in two weeks. It will be the last of this series. Thanks for coming out tonight.