May 31, 2009
Newberg Friends Church
David after becoming King
The framing of David as perfect centers around his unswerving devotion to God; his heart was wholly given to God; complete, undivided
David’s prayer 2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17:16
Who am I?
You have brought me this far, and you have promised me great things
What more can David say to you?
You know me
You have done this because you wanted to, not because of me
There is no god like You
Do as you have promised; I have courage to pray this because of what You said
May it please you to bless my house
He is humble, reverent, grateful, praying according to what God has revealed.
He goes on to administere justice and equity to the people.
2 Samuel 11 David commits adultery (and murder). Nathan confronts him and calls him out; prophesies woes, including the death of the baby. David says, “I have sinned against the Lord” (Psalm 51). It is also clear that his sin has terrible consequences. However, his perfect heart shows in his instant contrition on being confronted, and his acceptance of the consequences of his sin when he sees they are inevitable.
This submission to God is seen later when David flees for his life from his son Absalom’s conspiracy: he says, I submit to the judgment of God, whether it be in my favor or against me (2 Sam 15:25,26; 2 Samuel 16:11, 12)
In 2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18 (the timing is not clear—the psalm says “after he was delivered from Saul”, yet it is placed right before David’s last words in the narrative), he celebrates God’s majesty, power, sovereignty, he rejoices in God’s deliverance for him, and he asserts his blamelessness before God. If this is how he felt at the end of his life, it means he accepted God’s forgiveness.
It is less clear why it was a sin for David to count his people. It is clear that when the idea occurred to David, he was responsible for choosing to do it, particularly when dissuaded by Joab; maybe the sin is related to Exodus 30, which requires all those counted to pay a half-shekel to ward off plague; conducted likely for military purposes, which may signify David’s pride in his troops rather than dependence on God. Whatever the case, it is significant that when God gives David a choice of punishment, David chooses the one entirely in God’s hands, trusting in God’s mercy; David shows again that he prefers God to all others—He’d rather take his punishment directly from God, whom he knows to be gracious.
So from the life of David, he of the perfect heart, we learn that a perfect heart does not mean never straying, never erring, never sinning; instead it means
To meet those who confront us with our sin contritely rather than angrily
To prefer being in the hands of God to being in any other hands, including our own
To have a consistently humble heart toward God
To seek God’s will and do it
To believe in God’s mercy
To rely on God to perform what God has promised, rather than taking things into our own hands
To leave vengeance to God
To trust God when we’re in trouble
To be wholehearted in putting God first