The Reading: 1 Samuel 16:5-13
“… the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart;” (13: 14) RSV
David had a heart that pleased God. He may have been a rogue in several ways e.g. an adulterer, a murdered and a poor father! but he had a big heart, loved the Lord, was courageous, and attempted great things for God. It does seem that God (and Jesus) is more impressed by faith and love than by holiness. Now don’t get me wrong. God is not mocked and cannot stand sin. He hates divorce and he hates injustice. But most of all he hates unbelief and small-mindedness.
David was chosen because he was ‘childlike’. He was not tall like his predecessor, Saul. But he was “ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome” (1 Samuel 16:12). A few verses earlier it says that the Lord looks on the heart, not the outward appearance. It’s the heart that God is interested in. David’s heart shone through his eyes. Do we love, do we feel compassion, do we get angry over injustice? God wants to give us a new heart (see Explore More).
David’s kingship was, however, one of war. Fights have to be fought. There will always be wars and rumours of wars (Matthew 24:6). And Christian kings may have to initiate or take part in them. They will however never bring in the Kingdom of Heaven, but they are part of God’s plan for restricting and restraining evil (Romans 13:4).
But because David was a military king he was not the right man to build the Temple. There are different rulers for different times, different horses for different courses. David established the kingdom of Israel 3000 years ago, and did so through force of arms. But it was his son, Solomon, who was to build the centre of religion, the Temple.
What sort of leadership are you called to? Let us accept the way God has made us and accept the purpose for which he has made us; we cannot do everything, but we should do something.
Father, thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. May I accept myself (except for my sinful heart) and live to the full the life you have given me. Amen.
1 What heart does God give us?
2 Who trained David to fight?