by Ryan Duncan
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7
The first time I read the story of King David, it was from a small, animated Bible my parents had bought me as a boy. As I flipped through the pages of that little book, I can remember looking on David as something of a superhero. Think about it: he defeated Goliath with nothing but a sling and five stones. After that, he became King of Israel, replacing Saul, who had done a pretty terrible job to begin with. He was referred to as a man after God’s own heart, and nothing could touch him.
After a while, I began to see the life of David as more of a fairytale. I still believed it to be true, but a part of me resented God for showing David so much favor. Why had his life been so perfect when the rest of us had to struggle? Why did God allow so many people to suffer pain, but always seem to step up for David? It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I stumbled onto this psalm written by David:
“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you.” – Psalms 69
Now that I’m older I realize David’s life wasn’t perfect; in a lot of ways it was actually pretty lousy. He was hounded by Saul for years, he lost loved ones to sickness and war, and he even committed some pretty serious sins. Being a man after God’s own heart didn’t mean David would be shielded from harm, and being a Christian doesn’t guarantee us prosperity. The thing that made David a great man, and the thing that makes our lives as Christians meaningful, was that he never turned away from God. We will all experience trials and tribulations in our lives, but by trusting God we can overcome them.
That is how we become people after God’s own heart, and in the end, that’s all God really wants.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Take a moment to look past your troubles and consider what can bring you closer to God.
Further Reading: Psalm 69
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."