After God’s Own Heart
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
I’ve noticed that when people in ministry fall, misspeak, abuse their power, take advantage of members, etc. we are quick to say, “this is what happens when you enter ministry prematurely” or “this is what happens when you have a platform God didn’t call you to.” I do not agree with that and I’ll explain why.
David. A man after God’s own heart. The overlooked son of Jesse, the younger brother left in the field who was chosen by God to replace Saul as king. He was prepared in the pasture, anointed as king before his family, fought Goliath as a boy and then crowned King of Israel at the appointed time 13 years later. Everything that transpired was all God’s doing and it was all in God’s timing.
However, we know that as King, David calls for Bathsheba to be brought to him after he views her bathing on her rooftop. He lusts after her and acts on that spirit of lust by sleeping with a married woman rather than remaining submitted to the Spirit of God and refraining from having dealings with her. David did not respect Bathsheba nor the union she had with her husband and he surely did not abide to God’s commands in that moment.
“Do not covet your neighbor’s wife or desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Deuteronomy 5:21 HCSB
After he lays with her and discovers Bathsheba is pregnant, in attempts to cover up his sin, David calls her husband, Uriah, from battle and tries to get him to lay with his wife, but Urish refuses to sleep with her while his fellow soldiers are out fighting. Hmmm. I’m pretty sure David was supposed to be on the field as well but anywho...: )
“Uriah said to David, “The ark and Israel and Judah dwell in booths, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field. Shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.””
2 Samuel 11:11
Since David’s plan A to cover up his fornication failed, he moved on with plan B. He had Uriah assigned to the frontline in battle so he’d be killed and David could then marry Bathsheba. So not only has David fornicated, he has now committed murder. He may not have shot the arrow or used the sword that slaughtered Uriah, but David devised the plan to have Uriah killed. He committed murder in his heart.
“In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.””
2 Samuel 11:14-15 ESV
How savage of David to send his murder plans by the hands of the man he planned to have killed.
But wait...there’s more!
When David fornicated, I didn’t see anywhere in the text that says that it was consensual. I believe he abused his power as King in order to have sex with Bathsheba. During that time, women submitted to men, and women especially submitted to the King.
**Quick recap. As the story transpires, David has abused his power, manipulated Bathsheba, coveted another man’s wife, fornicated causing Bathsheba to commit adultery and he has committed murder. Whew! I would even go as far as to add robbery to the list because David robbed Bathsheba of her husband.**
“When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.”
2 Samuel 11:26-27
God was displeased with David for his actions, however, to this day, David is said to be a man after God’s own heart. Interesting isn’t?
“And when He had removed him, 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 all My will.’”
Following David’s sins, the Lord sends Nathan to rebuke him. Something that stands out to me in 2 Samuel 12 when Nathan confronts David is how Nathan starts out sharing a story that has an underlying message which mirrors the sin David committed against Uriah and Bathsheba. Listen to David’s response to hearing such actions.
“Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.””
2 Samuel 12:5-6
This text reminds me a lot of mankind today. We will commit sins, do devious and treacherous things in secret. Then when a brother or sister commits the same act and it’s publicized, we are quick to judge, condemn, throw stones and show no mercy. We are quick to inflict punishment. Jesus confronts this mentality with the story of the adulterous woman in John 8 when He says, “he who is without sin, cast the first stone.” (This is a blog post for another day.)
David had no idea that his commentary applied to him, “he deserves to die...he had no pity.” How often so we speak on a matter not realizing that we are bringing judgement on ourselves?
How many times have we condemned others for something they’ve been exposed for when we’ve committed the same sin in private?
There’s a difference between correcting and condemning. The difference is grace, the motive and the fruit that is produced. Condemnation produces shame. Correction produces change. Condemnation is dragged out even after repentance has taken place. Correction teaches and moves forward.
“Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel and before the sun.’””
2 Samuel 12:7-12
God’s response to David’s disobedience reminds me a lot of how He responded to Saul when he disobeyed His decree.
“Samuel continued, “Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel and then sent you on a mission and said: ‘Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.’ So why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight? ””
1 Samuel 15:17-19 HCSB
As we broke down in our previous blog series, “Faith, Favor, Falling” Saul did not adhere to God’s commands so God punished Saul by removing his anointing as king (1 Samuel 15) and then anoints David to take his place (1 Samuel 16).
“David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
2 Samuel 12:13
When reading this, I wondered why Saul lost his anointing as king but David got to remain. Both had abused their position and acted on their flesh rather than following God’s Word. Why weren’t their punishments the same?
Then I was reminded of these two verses,
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.””
1 Samuel 16:7
““I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.””
We see the outer appearance. We see the facades that people put on. We know the side of the story we are told. We hear the verbal apologies that people give but God examines the heart and the mind. He knows who has truly repented in their heart and who is truly after His own heart. So although Saul and David both spoke out about their transgressions, God knew who sincerely repented. He then imposed the necessary consequences for their deeds. This is one reason why we are called to rebuke, correct and admonish those who sin but it’s not our place to invoke judgment and punishment. Only God knows the whole story and the heart in order to give just consequences. He is also the only sinless One and Righteous Judge.
“Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.””
2 Samuel 12:14
After facing the consequences of his sin which brought about the death of his child, David got up, cleaned himself and went to worship the Lord.
“Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.”
2 Samuel 12:20
Even in the midst of the pain of his punishment, David understood his sin and revered God’s sovereignty and chose to worship still. That is so powerful to me. That shows his heart.
Many of us aren’t humble enough to repent, let alone admit our sin and here is David worshipping even in the midst of his consequences. He didn’t blame God for the pain he faced, he worshiped God instead.
Let me get back focused to the point of this post. Lol
God anointed and called David to be King and David truly had a heart after God but he, like all of us, fell. He abused the power he was anointed with. He misused his position and authority. He fell to his flesh instead of following God’s commands.
You see, someone’s sin isn’t necessarily an indicator that they’ve entered into ministry or a platform prematurely. It’s an indicator that in that moment, they chose to submit to their flesh rather than their Father.
Following the sins David committed, God forgave him but He also gave just consequences for his actions, however none of them were cancelation. If God, who has the power to cancel did not choose to cancel David who sinned against Him, we should not seek to cancel others (as if we have the power and authority to do so).
Side note: the only times I’ve read of God “canceling” someone or in other words, removing them from a position, it was because they had a heart of stone and/or were unrepentant. He saw that their heart did not seek to please Him.
People can genuinely love God and have a heart after Him but stumble along the way. I know I surely do. And I’m grateful that God looks past the faults of my flesh and sees my heart‘s posture towards Him. I’m grateful for His conviction, rebuke, and grace that enable me to get up and try again.
There’s so much to be learned in the story of David. There’s so much that I didn’t even touch out of brevity but we can all see ourselves in the text one way or another. We learn that we all fall and none are beyond reproach but we are also reminded that we are never too far gone for forgiveness, grace and a second chance if we truly repent.
We learn that those around us may fall and their sin may even be an offense against us personally. However, there’s grace for them to repent and grow in Christ too. God will deal with them for their actions but there’s grace for them to get up and try again as well.
**I would like to add, that David wouldn’t have been tempted on the rooftop if he had been on his assignment on the battlefield. As King, he was supposed to be fighting alongside the men of Israel. When we leave our post and aren’t in alignment with God, it’s easier for our flesh to take over. Stay in position. Stay on your assignment.**
“It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.”
II Samuel 11:1