This week at youth group we continued our series on “Living a Life of Legacy” by talking about King David and how his legacy was being a man after God’s own heart.
To understand why this is important you have to go to the king before David, King Saul… but actually before King Saul… to a time when the Israelites had no king. Before King Saul the Israelites were governed by prophets and judges who listened to the leading of the Lord. This is how God had created them as a people to be so that no one person would rule over them. They were to be different than the other people of the land in that they were governed by a king. But in 1 Samuel 8 the Israelites ask for a king:
“”So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways, now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.’ but when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him; ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected but they have rejected me as their king…'” (1 Samuel 8:4-7)
Even though an earthly king was not God’s intention He gave what the people asked for. And so in 1 Samuel 9 we see the prophet Samuel anoint Saul as king. Saul was exactly what the people had asked for when they asked for a king. A man who would lead them, who looked like all of the other kings. The problem was that God gave the people exactly what they asked for, not exactly what they needed. Although Saul LOOKED as though he was the perfect king, he did not have the HEART of a king. Saul could only see through his physical eyes not his spiritual eyes. And so in 1 Samuel 13 we see Saul, out of fear, disobeyes the prophet Samuel and offers a sacrifice himself and thus the Lord removes his anointing from Saul.
Now enters David. I know, I know. Things don’t look very good at this point. The people asked for something that they didn’t need, God gave them what they asked for but then took his anointing from that very person because of disobedience. What a mess! Well this is take two on the king front, but this time God says that they are going to do things His way. 1 Samuel 16 we see what God has to say about it,
“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” (1 Samuel 16:6-7)
God didn’t want someone that just looked like a king. He wanted someone with the heart of a King. And if you keep reading in 1 Samuel 16 he finds in David, the youngest of 8 sons and God chooses him. David was young, some commentaries say he could be as young as 10 while others say he was 16, either way that’s pretty young to be anointed as king. He was, “ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.” David was good looking but he didn’t look like a king. When he walked into the room no one would automatically follow him despite his age… but God saw something in His heart that was worth choosing.
So what was that? What did God see in David’s heart that his legacy was being a man after God’s own heart?
I think there are a lot of different things that you can glean from David about Living your life in pursuit of God’s heart but there are three specific things that I found in David’s life during 8 years between His anointing and the point that he actually took the throne. (I’ve found multiple sources with multiple years but 8 seemed like the best number and let’s be honest, even 8 years is a long time.) And in the midst of those long years David was loved by Saul, became Saul’s son in law, became bff’s with Saul’s son Jonathan, ran for his life, hid in caves and had the opportunity to kill Saul multiple times. And during that whole time David was Israel’s anointed king.
Here are the three things that I learned about David being a man after God’s own heart
1) In the wait, he never gave up. David never loses sight of God’s word and never loses hope. I’m sure there were multiple times in the dirty caves where he wondered. Heck, read through Psalms and you will find ample examples of times when David wondered where God was but David never lost sight of who God was and what He had said. The truth is that being someone after God’s heart means that even when you have to wait you don’t give up but instead you persevere through till fulfillment, whatever that fulfillment may look like.
2) In the wait, he never compromised. I find this point interesting because later, after he is already king, he does compromise. He sleeps with a woman, kills her husband and then marries her. Woops! But I digress, when he is waiting between the anointing and the fulfillment of that anointing David doesn’t compromise. There are multiple times where David could have killed Saul. Which would have fixed everything because then no one would be pursuing him and the throne would be ready for him to take. But David respected that the Lord had placed Saul on the throne and he was not going to be the one to take him off. David was patient to wait for God to fulfill what He had said.
3) In the wait, David’s heart never became bitter. Often waiting leads us to be bitter. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick.” But David’s heart never becomes sick because he continues to offer praises to God in the wait. His heart was about praising God and following His commandments. If your heart is about those things then there is no room for bitterness.
Like I said earlier there is so much you can get from David, his wait and his life but these three stuck out to me because often when there is a period between the “anointing” and the “fulfillment” we give up, compromise or grow bitter. But David never did.
Looking at the history of the United States I would like to look at Thomas Edison. Many of us know who this is as the inventor of the light bulb. In reality he was not the original inventor but instead he perfected ideas that were already out there. Regardless, it took Thomas Edison over 10,000 attempts to invent the light bulb that we know today. He didn’t give up. How do we know? Well, you can see right now, right? I don’t know whether he compromised but I do know that in the end his heart did not grow bitter. When asked, before he had succeeded in making the light bulb, why he had to say about failing Thomas Edison was quoted as saying, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb.” Sometimes the time between when a legacy is birthed (the anointing) and the point of the legacy being lived takes a time of finding out the 10,000 different ways that your legacy IS NOT before you find the one way that your legacy IS.
Sometimes the legacies that God speaks into our hearts take time. Sometimes when they are spoken to us they don’t make sense. At the age of 15 when David was tending his father’s sheep it didn’t make sense that he would be anointed as king. And yet, over time, as he was a man after God’s heart that legacy came forth. Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 different ways before he created the light bulb as we know it today. With out that where would we be today? But both those legacies took time and trust in a result to make it.