Above his fame as The Original Worship Leader, his dramatic ascension to the throne from humble beginnings, and even the painful incident with Bathsheba, David was known as a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22).
The mystery is, why? What was it about David that made him not only a chosen servant of God but also a man after God’s heart?
Abraham, the Patriarch, was not called a man after God's heart nor was Moses, the giver of the law and perhaps the humblest man in history. The apostle Paul, to whom Jesus himself made a special appearance, who authored even more books of the bible than Moses, who suffered more than any other apostle, was not called a man after God's own heart.
So, why David?
Why, more than any other man, do we associate David with the Messiah? Why was David given so many prophetic words through his music so that it seemed that he felt a foreshadowing of the very pain of our Savior? Why was Jesus called "son of David?"
It certainly was not because he was such a great King. He was the weakest son of a shepherd, a skinny emo poet. He was not particularly dignified (1 Sam 6). It took years for the people to accept David as their leader once he was chosen and even after that he was driven from the throne by his own son (2 Samuel 15). It was not because he was a moral success, his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, an honorable and courageous soldier, is evidence of his weakness to his own passions. So, again, why would God call him a man after His own heart?
I’ve mused on the meaning that phrase, “a man after God’s own heart,” for a while now. My thoughtless assumption is that David was more like God, than any other and that is why he earned such a title. How could such an inconsistent and moral failure of a man really be described as “like God?”
After much wrestling, I still don’t have a complete understanding of what God meant when he said that, but I think it may be that, simply, David was in pursuit of God’s heart. He was, literally, chasing after God’s heart. Not withholding even his fears and frustrations, David threw his heart and soul upon the Lord. He confesses his love, desires, fears, pain, frustrations, and even his anger to the Lord in a rare display of honesty...and then he published it.
I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears (Ps 6:6)David wasn’t a perfect man, he wasn’t even, by our standards, a good man, but he was desperate for God. And this is, I think, the key. He was broken by his sin and couldn’t bear to be separated from God’s heart. His love for God welled up him, making him shameless. He was an unapologetic mess of emotions and passions, but oh how he truly loved his God!
I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God (Ps 69:3)
I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land (Ps 143:6)
I cannot explain the reasons for pain and brokenness in a way that really makes sense. I can't fathom the reason that God chooses to let us continue in these pots of clay and why He allows his children to dishonor him with our mistakes.
But, for some irrational reason, God loves messy people, he loves the poor in spirit. He loves using foolish people. He loves healing, even the wounds we inflict on ourselves. He loves our honesty. He loves our passion.
And this, my dear messy friends, is a very good thing.