We’re kicking off a brand new series, The Heart of a Warrior, where we’re learning about the life of David and discovering for ourselves how to be people after God’s own heart. Throughout this character study, we are diving into the Word and putting ourselves in David’s story as a way to learn from his experiences in life as we grow and develop in our relationship with God. In Part 1 of this series, we’re covering 3 characteristics of David that allowed him to be described as a person after God’s own heart, as Eric Jones brings an encouraging word that both uplifts and inspires us to pursue God passionately, as David did.
In his message, Calling & Character, Eric starts off by sharing some background information about David, who, by the end of his life, became one of the most famous men in all of Scripture. Did you know…David is in the Bible more than 1,000 times…that’s more than Abraham, Moses, or any other man in the New Testament!
David’s story is found primarily in the Old Testament books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel. However, David was also a poet and songwriter and of the 150 songs in the book of Psalms, David wrote nearly half of them. David is in the lineage of Jesus; his life is massively important!
David was lots of things to lots of people. He was a shepherd, a warrior, a king, a leader, a father, a son, a friend, a worshiper, and even an adulterer and murderer. Even still, David is the only man in the Bible that is described as being a man after God’s own heart–he’s a very, very special man.
It’s true, David was wildly special…but he wasn’t a superhero. David wasn’t an extraordinary man with unique gifts; he was just a normal guy. What separates him from every other normal guy is that David was committed to living his life in obedience to God.
As we jump into David’s story, we’re believing that God will help us identify where we are in our own story. God wants to challenge us, shape us, and change us in a way that leads us to look, walk, and talk a lot more like Jesus! In Calling & Character, we’re covering 3 parts of David’s life that highlight both his calling and his character as we endeavor to be people after God’s own heart!
To help us better understand David’s life, especially his kingship, we’re taking a look at his predecessor, Saul in Calling & Character. King Saul was the first king of Israel; he was tall, handsome, and well liked. Wealth, power, authority…Saul had them in spades. He was a great warrior with the world at his fingertips. He had everything…except one thing: a heart after God.
Saul was a people pleaser who placed greater value on the voice and opinions of people than the voice of God. He was concerned with what people thought about him and that led him to make decisions that were not in accordance with God. Ultimately, it was Saul’s fear of disapproval and desire to please people that would lead to his downfall.
God wanted Saul to lead Israel in accordance with His will. But because Saul didn’t abide by God’s direction, his season of leadership had to come to an end.
1 Samuel 13:14 (NKJV) But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.
We live in a world that values things that are fast, famous,and impressive on the outside. But God is still in heaven seeking men and women who don’t just live for the approval of others, but actually live for the approval of God! God is looking for people after his own heart, just like David.
Like Saul, we face temptations to live for the approval of the world. So the question becomes, How do we avoid the pitfalls of Saul’s heart and become people after God’s own heart? We find the answer by looking at the attributes, traits, and characteristics of David that allowed him to be described as a person after God’s own heart.
In many ways, Saul set an example for what not to do when it comes to being a person after God’s own heart. Which traits of Saul’s should we avoid?
What challenges do you face in living daily according to God’s will?
How can you pursue God like David did?
In the Old Testament, we see that God sends Samuel to find the new king of Israel and instructs him to go to Jesse’s house, where God will reveal the new king.
1 Samuel 16:6-13 (NLT) 6When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” 7But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 8Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” 9Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.”
11Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” “Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.” 12So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” 13So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.
God was looking for a king of Israel, but not a man like the previous king; God was looking for a different type of heart, a different inner being.
In the middle of a field tending to sheep is the last place you’d expect to find the new king of Israel, but that’s exactly where David was! Before David could be entrusted with an entire kingdom, he first had to be trusted to faithfully shepherd his sheep. David exemplifies the importance of faithfulness in the kingdom of God.
The world is impressed by outward appearances; God is impressed by faithfulness. So what does it mean to be faithful? Faithfulness is a position of our character; it’s a resolve of our state of being. It means that we’re consistent, trustworthy, and reliable.
It was in the field with his sheep that David was being developed to become king. David cared for his sheep in the same way that he later cared for the people of Israel–with wisdom, grace, and consistency. This is where David learned to lead! He learned to care, he learned to think strategically and be prepared, he learned to be a protector and stand up for what is right.
Never underestimate what God is doing when you’re in the field! In certain seasons of our lives, it’s easy for us to feel like we don’t have the chance to bring the desires of our hearts to fruition. Stay faithful! When you are faithful with what God has put in your hand, He will make you faithful over the things that are in your heart. Check out these verses for gentle encouragement when faithfulness feels challenging:
2 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV) For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV) Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
Matthew 25:23 (NKJV) Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.
Consider this: We never retire from being faithful. The only thing that changes in regards to faithfulness is what we’re being faithful over in our lives.
With that truth in mind, what is God asking you to be faithful over in this season of your life? What has He called you to do that’s developing your character and preparing you for the future?
After Samuel came to visit Jesse, David went back into the field for a season of waiting. He was waiting to go from anointed to appointed. In chapter 17, we see a monumentally transformational event in David’s life. It’s important to note that, as David was preparing to face Goliath, he encountered three moments of resistance.
1 Samuel 17:26-28 (NIV) 26David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”
28When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
In this passage, we see one of the first attacks of the enemy that we face even today; the enemy tries to make us feel inferior, unworthy, and small. In David’s case, this was an attack on his identity, intended to make him doubt who David knew he was in Jesus.
“Many a man meets with more trouble from his friends than from his enemies; and when he has learned to overcome the depressing influence of prudent friends, he makes short work of the opposition of avowed adversaries” – Charles Spurgeon
Oftentimes, we experience the most resistance from those that are closest to us, because they know us. Despite a verbal resistance from his brother, David exemplifies a confidence in his own skin that we all need to learn from! In order to take down the giants we face, it’s pivotal that we’re secure in our skin, in our identity of who God says that we are.
Being secure in our skin means that when we feel shame and guilt for the things we’ve done in our past, we remember the Bible says we are the righteousness of God, we are forgiven, we are loved, and we’ve been accepted and adopted into the beloved. Knowing our identity means that we know the Bible says we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us; there is no challenge too big for our God to handle!
1 Samuel 17:38-40 (NIV) 38Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.
Like David, we cannot be tempted to wear someone else’s armor when we go into battle and face new challenges! When we rely fully and wholly on God to sustain and protect us, He is more than enough. God’s work is most effectively done when we are willing to be used by Him as we are. As we see in Calling & Character, God has already perfectly equipped us to do everything he’s calling us to step out and do.
1 Samuel 17:41-46 (NIV) 41Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44“Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”
45David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LordAlmighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.
Goliath’s resistance against David was in the form of fear. The Bible says that the enemy walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. If the enemy can get us to feel afraid, he can stop us from pursuing the plan God has for our lives. Jesus is on the throne and He has made us victorious and always causes us to trump by Christ!
What is the difference between being secure in your skin in Jesus vs in the world?
What resistance have you faced in pursuing God’s call on your life?
How have you relied on God to protect and provide for you in the face of adversity?
After conquering Goliath, David became famous practically overnight. In response, Saul became very jealous and sought to kill David. Because of this, David went on the run for nearly a decade. During this time, Saul was still king; David was not in a high position of authority. He hid in and out of caves and faced many challenges as he tried to navigate God’s plan for his life.
David trusted in God’s promise for his life, but was likely, and understandably so, frustrated and confused. In Calling & Character, we see this challenging season in David’s life came to head when God presented David with an opportunity:
1 Samuel 24:3-7 (NLT) 3At the place where the road passes some sheepfolds, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. But as it happened, David and his men were hiding farther back in that very cave! 4“Now’s your opportunity!” David’s men whispered to him. “Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do with as you wish.’” So David crept forward and cut off a piece of the hem of Saul’s robe.
5But then David’s conscience began bothering him because he had cut Saul’s robe. 6He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do this to my lord the king. I shouldn’t attack the Lord’s anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” 7So David restrained his men and did not let them kill Saul.
Instead of killing Saul–the man who was trying to kill him–David trusted in God’s timing. Even though he had the chance to end Saul’s life and take his place as king, David knew that God would never ask him to do something that was outside of God’s will for his life. David knew God was in charge and showed restraint to abide by God’s plan. And it paid off! In God’s perfect timing, David became king.
Psalm 31:14-15 (NKJV) 14But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
We’re talking more about trusting in God’s timing in Part 2 of The Heart of a Warrior, so be sure to follow up with Eric’s sequel message!
Father, we love You. Lord, we’re grateful for the example of King David and for this story that you’ve put in the Bible for us to learn from. God we pray for hearts to do it; hearts to learn from You. Thank you for encouraging and challenging us. Help all of us to be a church that is marked by being people after Your own heart. When the temptations of the world come for us to do anything else, may we reject those temptations and follow You. We dedicate our hearts to you, Oh Lord. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen!