The epitaph God gave to David...was “...a man after God’s own heart...” It wasn't because David was a mighty warrior...nor was it because he was the young psalm writer of Israel. Acts 13 helps us answer the question. The apostle Paul is speaking to people who know their Jewish history. He was preaching a sermon that would point to the Lord Jesus Christ...in the process he reminds them of their history of how the Israelite's asked for a king and God gave them Saul. Acts 13:22 “And when He had removed him (Saul) He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said: “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”
In other words God says about David: “I found David to care about the things I care about!” This is what it means to be a person after God's own heart. Do you want to be a person after God’s own heart?
How does someone "care" about the things that God cares about? The passage of 2 Samuel 6:1-5 sheds some light on it for us from the life of king David.
The place is Jerusalem, and David is now the new king of Israel and is setting his kingdom in order...and his desire admittedly is a good and godly one. He wants to make Jerusalem the capital city and the worship center for all Israel. And in order to do this he knew that he needed to get the Ark of the Covenant back where it belongs.
SOME NECESSARY BACKGROUND: Remember in David’s day...the central place of worship was a place called the TABERNACLE. God had given to Moses the directions on how God’s people were to worship Yahweh and to keep Him central. He had also given instruction on how to handle the Ark of the Covenant. (See Numbers 4:4-15)
The Ark of the Covenant was a sacred piece of furniture, literally a rectangular box covered in gold.. The cover of the ark was called “the mercy seat”...at both ends it had cherubim (angels) facing each other, with wings outstretched over the top.
The PURPOSE of the Ark...was a visible display of God's presence and God's glory. God promised His people that He would meet with His people above the mercy seat. So God’s glory rested wherever the Ark was. It was the holiest place on earth. (God lives between the cherubim Psalm 80:1; 99:1) The King of Israel should have wanted the Ark of God in their midst. But the kicker is that king Saul, David's predecessor had forgotten about it. And as a result, the nation had become lukewarm in their worship of God. This is what happens when we forget God's holy presence.
When we FORGET the presence of the Most Holy God...we too will become lukewarm and even cold in our relationship with Him...we will forget Him, we will forget the things that are important to Him and no longer will they be a priority for us. For example, if we forget God is with us...we will probably stop reading our Bible, and we will probably stop praying. And should we happen to do those two things our faith will run cold.. Prayer becomes optional, reverence becomes irreverence.
So as the new king David knew he needed to put the Ark back in its rightful place. He needed to set it up as God designed it. Why? Because his heart was after God’s heart. 2 Samuel 6 tells us how he brought the Ark back.
In 2 Samuel 6:1-5 David and his men are rejoicing and having a great time. The Ark was finally coming home. Now David being the practical guy knew that in order for the people to worship Yahweh they needed the Ark in Jerusalem. So David sent for the Ark and the quickest and best way was to put the ark on a cart. But then something terrible happens. 2 Samuel 6:6-7 The oxen stumbled and the Ark begins to fall and Uzzah for whatever reason tried to prevent it.
At first it seems unfair on God’s part...but on further consideration this happened for a reason. God had warned in His Word that the Ark must be transported a certain way. And if David had only done his homework he would have known God’s Way. The Levite's were the ones to carry the ark, using the poles that slipped through the ringlets the poles up on the shoulders of the four men. But David didn’t do it that way. He just did what seemed right at the time.
When we don’t know what matters to God we need to find out.
The student who never does his homework gets in trouble. David got in trouble for not doing his homework. It is as if David said: “We need to get the Ark down to Jerusalem...Who cares how we do it! Just get it done!" But GOD CARES! And to prove it to David and as a lesson for us... took Uzzah’s life.
By the way this happens also to us when we think we know what God wants and then we run off and do things our way without consulting God and finding out how He wants us to proceed. He has given to us His Word so that we might know the precepts and the principles He desires us to live by.
God gave detailed instructions to be followed. He meant for them to be followed otherwise He would not have had them recorded in His Word. A popular idiom today is "Don't sweat the small stuff!!" In other words don't worry about the details...just do something. Nothing could be more dangerous to the follower of Jesus Christ. God wants us to live by His Word. It is called OBEDIENCE. John 15 is a great help.
When we begin to care about the things God cares about, we too become a people after God’s own heart. (note: What matters to God should matter to me!)
Look what happens next in v.9-11 David left the Ark in the home of Obed Edom the Gittite. So 3 months pass...David gets told that Obed Edom is having the time of his life. He is being blessed by having the ark of the Lord in his home...he is enjoying the blessing of the presence of God. Stop here and think upon that small part of the story! To have the Ark of the Lord in your presence was to have the very presence of God! And as a result of having the presence of God...there is blessing attached to it.
Where the presence of the Lord is ...there is His blessing...at home, work school and play.
Practicing the presence of God in every part of your life will result in knowing the blessing of God in every part of your life. The presence of God is not just for your Sunday morning routine. It is a 24-7 reality in every part of your life at home, work, shool and play and all point in between.
So you gotta' love what does David does next. He goes and gets the ark and finally brings it to the city of Jerusalem. Now to understand what is happening here we need to turn to a parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 15:1-13.
What must have happened? Quite probably one his advisor's came to him and said “Your majesty, God’s Word, the law... says this is how it must be carried...there are these ringlets and poles and these guys by the name of Levites...they are the only ones who can properly transport the ark. Follow God’s Word O King and you can’t go wrong! And being a man after God’s own heart...David gets it! Note: 1 Chronicles 15:13 The Lord did that because we did not consult/seek Him! This leads us to the fifth principle.
Follow God's Word and You Can't Go Wrong!
It is when we do not follow God’s Word...that we do go wrong. An age old question asked by every generation of believers has been "How can I know what God wants me to do?"
How To Know God’s Will?
1. The Word of God...
3. Advice of Godly advisors...
Delight yourself in Him and His Word and you will not go wrong! Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." And that is what David finally did. He followed God's Word. Which leads us to the next principle.
When God corrects us...we need to take corrective Action...
When we are a man or a woman after God's own heart we will take the right course of action after a miserable failure. I personally love this part of the story...the fact that David took corrective action...after he had miserably failed...he corrected what was wrong. Too many times too many believers ignore God’s correction. We get angry with Him and we choose to live without Him. Even though God promises forgiveness, cleansing and restoration...He picks us up, cleans us off and sets us straight.
Joy and Freedom is the Result of Obedience!
Upon going to get the Ark once again David and his people celebrated, David danced before the Lord with all his might! There was joy and freedom because God's people obediently followed God's instructions. Jesus told His disciples John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John would later write 1 John 1:4 “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Following God's Word, brings joy and freedom to the believer's heart.
God honors those who honor His Word. That is why we cannot "muck around" with obedience...to be a man/woman after God's own heart...we must READ His Word, FOLLOW His Word and then OBEY His Word. ,do it today! You want to become a man/or woman after God’s heart? It’s not rocket science...pay attention to the things that God considers important.