2 Samuel 3:30-32
I was recently reading about the formation of the United States of America. One of the big debates the newly formed Senate had, believe it or not, was how to address their new leader, George Washington. Should it be “His Excellency” or “Your High and Mightiness.” We, in our day, tend to forget how very British the colonists still were at that time. They were used to a Monarch who was perceived as having received his position by the will of God and was to be treated as higher and of a different nature than the common man. But, through the influence of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and others, the Senate was reconnected to the ideals of a government by the people and for the people. The President was simply a common man that had been elected to provide leadership for the democratic government, and thus should be addressed as simply, “Mr. President.”
When we look into the heart of David, we realize that it was this same kind of an attitude that was part of the reason that he was considered a man after God’s own heart. As you read through today’s chapters, you could see these attitudes in the way that David perceived his rivals and his own position.
His attitudes seem foreign to us as we sit and watch the political world (at every level from church office to the UN) engaged in a climb to power and a jockeying for position. David’s success was due to his understanding that he did not have any power. The throne did not belong to him, it was God’s. He was simply the human vehicle through which God could lead His people. In a sense, David would have preferred to have been addressed as “Mr. King”
As we conclude this week of study in which we have examined the heart of a hero, here are some further observations as to why David was a man after God’s own heart:
1. He didn’t take matters into his own hands. When the nation was divided and his “brothers” were trying to usurp the authority that he knew God had given to him, David never retaliated. He didn’t take Saul’s life in the past, and in these stories he did not take the life of Abner or Ish-bosheth. He always waited upon God’s timing to bring things in to place. If they happened, they happened, if they did not, then, hey, there’s always shepherding!
2. He truly loved his rivals. Not only did he not retaliate against his rivals, he actually embraced his rivals and loved them. How many times do we look at the “competition” and love them? The only reason we feel competition with people is because we are trying to hold onto something for ourselves. When we let go of power, prestige, position, and perks, then we can truly love and embrace those who would otherwise be pitted against us.
3. He maintained proper perspective. David knew that being a king was not about him. Being a king was about being a servant and a protector of the people. This lesson would do us well to hold onto in the church. The world wants to tell us that being a leader is an achievement to seek out. It is the top of the heap. It is a place, that once achieved, demands the respect and service of others. Not so in God’s Kingdom. The path to greatness and the road to leadership is a downward climb into the ranks of the common slave. A leader is a servant. A shepherd of a church needs to have a towel around the waist and be ready to wash the proverbial feet of all who enter that space. David knew that by being “on top” he was stuck in the mud, being the foundation upon which the community could be built.
4. He stayed real. At heart, David was a simple shepherd boy who loved to worship God through music. When he led the ark into Jerusalem, he didn’t put on the pomp and piety of a “holy man” or a “regal king.” He got real and worshipped God the way he had probably always done out there in the open pastures with no one to see but the sheep. He danced wild and free knowing that, in spite of the throng of thousands lining the streets of Jerusalem, he was dancing for an audience of only One. This attitude cost him his reputation and good standing with his wife. Sometimes authenticity at this level can be misunderstood, and it may lead to tension, but, if it is real, and done in the right motive, it is worth the risk.