I recently finished a 10 week Bible study on the life of King David. If you want to read a novel packed with adventure and drama just read 1st and 2nd Samuel and you will meet the character of David, known as the man after God’s own heart. Through this Bible study I realized more about David than I have before. Perhaps, the biggest thing I realized is David had a lot of family baggage and dysfunction could be one of the main themes of the story.
The young shepherd boy who fought the giant with just a sling shot grew up in my 10 week study and became a man who I loved one day and hated the next. The boy chosen by God showed bravery, compassion, courage and then grew up to become a strong leader and King of Israel. Then the man who trusted God in everything became an adulterer, murderer, absent father, and a weak leader. I kept asking myself, “A man after God’s own heart, really?”
If David was a leader today, I can only imagine the headlines. He would have been just another victim of the media’s thirst to point out another spiritual hypocrite in our midst. I must admit, I wrote him off several times in this study. I got on my moral high horse and wanted to give this man a piece of my mind. If he was running for any kind of office, he certainly wouldn’t get my vote! Then I took the book of Psalms and compared it with 1st and 2nd Samuel and realized how often I judge actions over the heart.
If you juxtapose Psalms with 1st and 2nd Samuel you will see David in a different light. The books of Samuel were written by authors who saw only one side of the life of David. However, Psalms are songs written from David’s heart. Through the Psalms I started to realize how God viewed David. How many times have I too only judged other people by just one side of the story? This is perhaps the one time when I can truly say, “Maybe actions don’t speak louder than words?” David’s songs revealed his humility and frailty and his trust in God despite his struggles and weaknesses.
God didn’t excuse David over his sins and in fact King David had to endure the pain and suffering over God’s discipline. However, David loved God with all his heart. He might have been the biggest example of dysfunction but God used this man’s life not because of his actions but because of his heart. I am so glad that I am not defined by a one-sided story or headline. I am glad to know that God doesn’t write me off because of my actions. I hope that God will always hear the songs of my heart and my love for him despite my failures. Now I understand why David was the man after God’s own heart. The most amazing part of this story, the life of David, was that God chose to send His Son through the dysfunctional family line of David. Now that’s a headline!