His name may mean: "Beloved"
His work: A shepherd by trade, David became the second king of Israel. His character: A man of stark contrasts, David was a man who did nothing halfheartedly. Though he sinned terribly, his repentance was deep and lasting. Scripture refers to him as "a man after God's own heart." His sorrow: During his lifetime, David had to come to grips with his own sinfulness and the severity of God's punishment like the death of his sons and his inability to build the temple. His triumph: Under David's leadership, the nation of Israel reached prominence like it had never known before. Key Scriptures: 1 Samuel 17
It's the stuff of epic cinematography—hillsides filled with thousands of jostling soldiers, clattering armaments, and everything at stake. But the heart of the story of David and Goliath is real. It's the story of a young man who threw himself at life with great abandonment, confident as he was in the goodness and power of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
There were two defining moments in David's childhood. The first happened when Samuel visited his father's home looking for the man who would someday be king. The youngest son and least likely candidate, David, came in from the pasture to receive the prophet's anointing and then went back to work.
The second defining moment was when he encountered Goliath in a contest that would determine the outcome of a battle. Forerunners of the ancient Greeks, the Philistines were accustomed to deciding battles in an arena rather than between armies. In addition to saving lives, such contests indulged the desire to turn warfare into sport. The Philistine army must have thought they had it made with a warrior like Goliath in their ranks. But they didn't reckon on the young boy who believed that God was capable of anything. Winding his way through the company of Israel's soldiers, David's innocent questions were met with shock and derision. But David was astounded by the Israelites' lack of faith.
Even the king was afraid. "Don't you know who you're fighting for?" David asked Saul. "Where's your trust in him?"
The courage David exhibited as a young man who defended his father's sheep from wild animals and then defended God's people from a godless thug lasted throughout his life. And the same confidence in the God of his fathers marked his life in the years that followed.
Though David wasn't a perfect man, he confessed his sins with the same unfettered confidence in God that had marked his previous dealings. And because he never blamed anyone but himself when he fell, he received God's mercy with no impediments.
Almost five hundred years later the prophet Isaiah would write:
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).
Perhaps Isaiah was remembering David, the man whose courage, confidence, faith, contrition, and trust in God's mercy knew no limits.
David lived without restraint. No giant would deter him. He took the promises of the living God for his own and seized life with the certainty of knowing that God was with him. This was the legacy of the "man after God's own heart."Reflect On: 2 Samuel 22 Praise God: For his promises. Offer Thanks: For God’s faithfulness in keeping his covenants. Confess: The unconfessed sin that keeps you from serving God wholeheartedly. Ask God: For a renewed willingness to follow him.
Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.