It pains me to hear people speak ill of King David. They cannot measure up to his stature. Who are they to ridicule such a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22) when they do not have David’s heart? “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm” (1 Chronicles 16:22, Psalm 105:15) appears in one of David’s psalms and he is one of these chosen few. “The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2) are his final words. Those who speak ill of David need a stern warning from God. David will reign on the earth during the millennium one day, while some of his naysayers will rot in hell.
David frequently gave as much as he received. He was generous with his friends while a fugitive hiding in caves. David was also generous with his subjects as their king. After he brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, David gave everyone – men and women – “a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh [meat], and a flagon of wine” (2 Samuel 6:19). He let all Israel feast and rejoice. Later, David gave Mephibosheth, the lame son of Jonathan, the return of his land, a place at the table, and a home in the king’s palace as long as he lived (2 Samuel 9). As a result, many faithful friends supplied David after he fled from his son Absalom (2 Samuel 16:1-4).
David had great compassion for his enemies. He refused to kill King Saul, even though he had more than one opportunity (1 Samuel 24:6, 9-11). David later destroyed the man who claimed to have killed the king (2 Samuel 1:14-16). Why? He said no one should “stretch forth his hand against the Lord’s anointed” (1 Samuel 26:9), although the Lord had departed from Saul. Otherwise, David would bear the man’s guilt. He eventually did over Uriah the Hittite.
David did not steal from or kill Nabal, even though he refused to replenish the four hundred men’s supplies (1 Samuel 25). He let Absalom overtake Jerusalem and mourned when he died (2 Samuel 15-18). David also let Shimei curse him as a “man of Belial” (2 Samuel 16:7) because the king believed, “It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction and … requite me good for his cursing” (16:12). With all four men, David let God take vengeance.
Yes, David committed adultery with Bathsheba and, yes, he murdered her husband Uriah, a man of integrity (2 Samuel 11). However, when confronted by the prophet Nathan with his sins and their divine punishment, David immediately repented (2 Samuel 12). His heart was soft and tender. He kept a short account with God. Psalm 51 was the result. Saint Augustine loved this psalm so much that he wrote it on his cell wall and prayed it with tears every day. Which one of us can repent in sincerity and truth like David? Many people, both in the Bible and post AD 90, have not repented when confronted with sin.
Yes, David killed many people in battle (1 Samuel 18:7). So what? He himself said, “He teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight” (2 Samuel 22:35, Psalm 18:34, Psalm 144:1). If a thought or phrase occurs in the Bible three times, we should take notice! David is the biblical and spiritual archetype of the warrior king. His fulfillment (anti-type) is Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who “in righteousness … judges and makes war” (Revelation 19:11). Moses and Miriam knew from the Red sea crossing that “the Lord is a man of war” (Exodus 15:3). If people miss this vital aspect of God’s character, they’ve missed a lot!
King David wrote half the psalms in the Book of Psalms. He loved to worship in the presence of God. When the Ark of the Covenant returned to Jerusalem, David celebrated. He worshipped before the Lord with all his might while everyone shouted and blew trumpets. Yet David’s first wife Michal, the daughter of King Saul, watched him from a window “leaping and dancing … and she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16).
The ark had returned, but Michal didn’t worship. She later accused David of uncovering himself before his female servants like a base person (6:20). David replied that he had done this before the Lord and that he would be had in honor by his servants (6:21-22). As a result, Michal was barren; she “had no child” (6:23).
This past Sunday, the choir at a Southern Baptist church sang “Revelation Song” before the pastor stepped to the podium. Some people in the congregation stood up and worshipped, with arms and hands lifted high, but they were rare. Almost every Sunday, such worship in the congregation is rare. This lifeless church – this peaceful graveyard – does not have the Holy Spirit or let him “run the show,” and it is most evident in worship. I pray Jesus humiliates them.
I was one of the few on Sunday who stood up and raised my arms while the choir was singing. “Revelation Song” is one of my favorites and the choir sang it well, with gusto. Near the end, I noticed a teenage girl sitting nearby look sideways at me. Somehow I knew she thought I was odd. Yet she never worshipped. The music and lyrics had no spiritual effect on her. I suddenly remembered the lines to a Twila Paris song: “With our hands lifted high to the sky, while the world wonders why, we’ll just tell them we’re loving our King.” Why is the world in church?
Christians wonder why churches today have no vital impact on our communities and culture. Here’s the obvious reason: they don’t have “a heart like David.” They don’t fight, pray, or worship in the Spirit; they have too little charity and compassion, and they don’t have soft hearts willing to repent. Churches today also have too many Michaels and too few Davids – scoffers where there should be worshippers. Unless they change, God will make these churches spiritually barren and they will produce no children (new converts). Let us pray that God grants men and women today “a heart like David.”