David Wanted God

“But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:14)

God spoke these words to Saul after Saul presumed to offer a sacrifice. God made exceptions at times, but the expressed rules was that sacrifices were to be offered by the sons of Aaron. Saul’s custom had normally been to wait for Samuel. Samuel did not arrive at the appointed time and Saul was afraid that a battle might break out before they had made supplication to God. God was displeased and Saul’s behavior continue to reflect the rebellion that was in his heart. God wanted Israel to have a king that wanted God. David was that king, right? But was he really?

David committed adultery and had Bathsheba’s husband killed to conceal her pregnancy when Uriah wouldn’t be goaded into going into his wife while his fellow soldiers were away on the battlefield. David was often ineffective in dealing with the sins of his sons and more than once his ineffectiveness put the entire nation of Israel at risk.

By faith, David faced Goliath who defied God and the armies of Israel. No one else in Israel was willing to do this. David showed a capacity for forgiveness in his dealings with Saul that may be hard for us to imagine practicing ourselves. It seems that David all but eradicated idolatry from Israel during his time as king. The phrase “other gods” does not even appear in 2 Samuel which is impressive when we consider how much of a problem idolatry was in the north and in the south after David was dead.

We are not merely the sum of our best actions or our worst actions. For those who love God with all their heart, God will always hold out the hope of forgiveness, reconciliation, and bearing fruit for God in the future. Some of David’s actions limited his influence with others and probably even caused some of his own hesitation in dealing with sons. How do you carry out a death sentence on your own son when your death sentence was pardoned by God and when your sins caused so much suffering for others?

Yet, David was a man after God’s heart and God continued to give David opportunities to try again, to bear the fruit of accepting trials patiently, and to live with the hope of eternal fellowship in a “house” where the weaknesses of David’s flesh would finally be defeated once and for all (Psalm 23:6). God gave Saul those opportunities as well, but Saul never used them the way that David did. David wanted God, even when his own weaknesses caused him to fail God. He wanted God too deeply to ever consider giving up.

If God dealt with David this way, then He will deal with us this way as well. Don’t give up no matter how far you fall. Reach out to God’s hand, seek Him through His word, seek Him through prayer, turn to His people for help, and be a helper to them. God will lift you up. God will take you back. God will give you strength.

May we also say that if God dealt with David this way, then this is how we ought to deal with others? We ought to never give up on others who are struggling. They may go beyond our reach at times by their own choice, but when and if they come back, we should be ready to receive them with joy. This is especially true of our brethren. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every second chance will be used well, but that is beyond our control.

God wants you. Do you want Him?