Today’s devotional raises a great question. First this verse:
The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on (Eliab’s) appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
The question is: When the Lord looked upon David’s heart, what did he see? I did a quick run through some of the psalms of David and found a few qualities that God saw in this man who came from a boy tending sheep to the king of Israel.
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1–2) David had a thankful heart and expressed this in praise to God.
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:5–6) David trusted God’s love and rejoiced in His redemption, thankful always for His blessings.
“O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart.” (Psalm 15:1–2) This shepherd-king also knew that blameless was not about perfection but about truth from the heart. He also knew that faith in God involved a personal relationship with Him.
“In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me . . . But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’” (Psalm 31:1–3 & 14) David relied on God in trouble, trusting Him without any hint of relying on himself.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.” (Psalm 51:1–4) David sinned, but he knew in his heart that God forgives sin when it is honestly confessed, when he agrees with God about the transgressions he has committed.
“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:1–2) David, king of Israel and the one through whom the Messiah would come, was also humble of heart. He had no personal ambition to be anything more than what God wanted for him.
Jesus, I read this list and am blessed by the heart of David. He was thankful, filled with rejoicing faith and whole-hearted trust, honest, a man of integrity with no self-reliance either, transparent concerning sin and his own sense of need, plus completely humble and without selfish ambition. Not only do I fall short of having a heart like the heart of David, I am utterly amazed that You, the God who redeemed and blessed him, also redeemed and blessed me.