For years I’ve considered the refrain, “David, a man after God’s own heart”, as somewhat troubling. He indeed showed tremendous courage in battle, unflinching loyalty in friendship and great skill in leading a nation. However, Scripture also records a David who used deception to save his own skin at another’s expense. He’s infamously known for his adultery, murder and betrayal against Uriah, his loyal soldier, for having blurred judgment because of past sins, and tragedy that seemed to transpire often in his family.
So while David’s life was far from exemplary, he nevertheless is known as the man after God’s own heart. What could that mean? Far from being a sinless man, David nonetheless treasured God’s word and mercy understanding that ultimately all sin was against God. We see this when he repented after being confronted by the prophet Nathan even though God assured him that trouble would not leave his home…and his family life was horrible after this betrayal of Uriah.
King Asa is said to have been wholly devoted to the LORD all his days (15:14) even though he did not remove the high places (i.e. where sexual acts were performed as part of pagan worship of other gods) form Israel. That is, where idolatry and despicable acts of false worship occurred, Asa did nothing to eradicate it, or so it would seem.
Its grievous reading about the kings’ of Israel, for most of them did not emulate David or Asa. Instead, they worshipped and served the gods of the Nations Israel once conquered. Thus, when it comes to being one who pleases the LORD, sinless perfection (i.e., the present eradication of all sin now) is not in view. Instead, it’s the life whose trajectory is Godward and God-centered even when some of our actions are evil, are sinful.
LORD Jesus, have mercy on me, on us and help us this day honor your great name in word, deed and thought.