I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.(Psalm 18:3)
If you’re a regular reader here, you know that last week I began been looking closely at the life of David in an effort to answer a question that I believe many new Christian believers have, as I once did: How could God call David “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22) after David had committed such dreadful sin in seducing Bathsheba and arranging for the murder of her husband? On Monday we saw David’s repentance; today we will discuss his reverence.
After the heart beats for God in repentance, it begins to beat in reverence. David’s son Solomon wrote, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), and David demonstrated this divine understanding throughout his reign as king of Israel. Let’s look at two particular times when David’s heart of reverence beat strongest.
First, before David was given the throne in Israel, Saul occupied it. What started out as a right relationship quickly deteriorated into one where King Saul sought to take the life of David. While on the run from Saul, David found himself in a position to retaliate against Saul and actually take his life. Instead David sliced off a corner of Saul’s robe without him knowing it, an unmistakable indication that David had been right behind Saul while Saul was completely unaware and could easily have killed him if he wanted (1 Samuel 24:1-5).
Then David uttered the words that flow from a reverent heart for God:
“The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 24:6).
David had a fear, an awe, and a reverence for God; instead of retaliating against Saul, his heart beat in reverence for God.
Second, after he had been installed as the king of Israel, David decided to build God a temple. “Here I am,” David thought, “living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent” (2 Samuel 7:2). David actually received confirmation on his proposed building project from Nathan, the same prophet who had rebuked him for his sins against Bathsheba and Uriah. But then the word of the Lord came to Nathan, who had to go back to David and tell him this was not God’s will for his life. Rather, God said, “I will raise up your offspring to succeed you . . . he is the one who will build a house for my Name” (2 Samuel 7:12-13).
David’s plan to build God a temple was flatly rejected by God; how did David respond? Once again, with a heart of reverence. There was nothing wrong with David’s desire to build a house of worship for the one, true, living God. But it simply was not God’s will for his life. Yet even though God did not let David build Him a house, He promised to build David a “house”—that is, that David’s kingdom would live on forever (2 Samuel 7:16). And that promise ultimately found its fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was a direct descendant of David.
So, as we have seen in the life of the man after God’s own heart, David’s heart beat in reverence and awe for his God. When he was under attack by King Saul, David looked to His God in reverence. When he had a good and godly goal in mind, yet God closed the door, David looked to His God in reverence.
Is this the confession of our lives today? Do we have a heart that is fully given over to God, seeing Him as our loving, heavenly Father? When we sin—and there is no one who does not sin (1 Kings 8:46)—do we turn to Him in repentance? When life does not go the way we think it should—when trials come and plans are disrupted, do we still worship our Lord with reverence and awe?
These things aren’t always easy for us to do, but be encouraged today! David fell, and fell badly, on more than once occasion. Yet Scripture calls him the man after God’s own heart. That means that you and I can prayerfully aspire to have the same kind of heart for God as David . . . and look forward to hearing our Lord’s approving words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!