Bible Study of David
A Man After God's Own Heart

Our Bible study of David is a study of one of the greatest men in all of the Bible.  There cannot be found a greater king, nor one more dedicated and committed to God.

David’s life was not a perfect life.  The Bible does not hide the faults of biblical heroes.  The inspired word of God tells it like it is with all the scandalous details.  What that tells me is that in spite of all the great accomplishments of David, the exalted character of this man of God, he was human and prone to mistakes.  From studying the life of David in the Bible, there is much to be learned.

Let’s begin this Bible study of David by looking at some verses in 1 Samuel 16.  In context, we are reading about a conversation that God had with the prophet Samuel.  The first king of Israel was a man named Saul.  Saul failed to listen to the commands and directions of God, so God removed him as king.  God now tells Samuel to anoint a new king over Israel. 

1 Samuel 16.1:  Now the Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?  Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.’”

The one that God had chosen to be the new king over Israel would be one of the sons of Jesse.  As Samuel made his way to the house of Jesse, we pick up again in verse 6.

1 Samuel 16.6:  “So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, ‘Surely the Lord's anointed is before Him!’”

At Jesse’s house, Samuel looked at one of his sons named Eliab.  There was something about Eliab that caught Samuel’s attention.  He was a man of great stature and appearance.  He looked like a king.  Samuel made an assumption.  Notice what God said to Samuel.

1 Samuel 16.7:  “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”

As Samuel goes through the sons of Jesse, he finally comes to David.  

1 Samuel 16.12:  “So he sent and brought him in.  Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking.  And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!’”

Why did God choose David as His king?  Why did God not choose Jonathan?  He was a good man, and he was Saul’s son and rightful heir of the throne.  Why did God not choose Ishbosheth?  Ishbosheth was also the son of Saul.  After both Saul and Jonathan were killed, Ishbosheth was next in line to rightly receive the throne.  In fact, Ishbosheth was made king over Israel. 

There was a civil war and the kingdom was divided into the Northern kingdom which was Israel where Ishbosheth was king, and the southern kingdom which was Judah where David was made king.  But why did God not appoint Ishbosheth as king?

As we study the Bible in reference to David, let's look back at verse 7 above and read it again.  It says that God rejected Eliab and said that God does not judge by outward appearance.  God looks at the heart.  Why David?  It is because of David’s heart. 

If you back up to 1 Samuel 13, you will find Samuel informing Saul that his reign is over.  And in verse 14, we read this.

1 Samuel 13.14:   “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”  

David Bible Study
The Heart of David

God selected David because of David’s heart.  That presents a question.  What kind of heart did David have?  What was it about David’s heart that captured God’s attention?    When you study David in these chapters and other passages that address the heart of David, you will find that there are three observations about David.  

1.  David Had a Heart of Contrition

Wait a minute.  David was a man after God’s own heart?  Let’s make a list of the mistakes that David had made.

  • David was sexually immoral.  He had a one night stand with another man’s wife after watching her take a bath and lusting after her.  (2 Sam. 11.3-5). 
  • David was a liar.  He brought in from the field the husband of the woman he slept with, and tried to get him to sleep with his wife to cover up the fact that she was pregnant with David’s child.  David tried to get Uriah to believe something that was not true.  (2 Sam. 11.11) 
  • David encouraged drunkenness.  When his cover up did not work, he got Uriah drunk and tried again.  (2 Sam. 11.13) 
  • David was a murderer.  David sent Uriah out to the front line of battle and told the troops to withdraw from Uriah and let the enemy kill him.  (2 Sam. 11.14,15).

Here is a man who had an affair with another man’s wife, a man who is a soldier in his army.  He lies about it.  He gets his soldier drunk.  Then David, the King of Israel, has this man murdered.  Then he takes the man’s wife and brings her in as his wife.

Yet when you study the Bible in reference to David, you will discover that the inspired word of God describes David as a man after God’s own heart.  How can such a man be described that way?  

Keep reading 2 Samuel, and you learn that God sent a prophet to David by the name of Nathan who exposed David’s sins.  David was cut to the heart and was deeply sorrowful and regretful over his mistakes.  He humbled himself and repented. 

In Psalm 51 we can read his words of humility, sorrow, and repentance. 

Psalm 51.1,2:  Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;  according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

We can read how David humbled himself and begged for God’s forgiveness.  It was in that heart of contrition, that pleading for forgiveness, that trying to pull myself up from the dung heap of my own sin, that makes him a man after God’s own heart.

What made David such a great king was not his perfection or sinlessness.  When he did make mistakes he was deeply regretful and sorrowful, and sought for forgiveness of God.

2.  David Had a Deep Respect for God

Let’s continue to study the Bible about David by looking at another passage that will help us understand the character of David.  In 1 Samuel 24, you are reading about David who is on the run.  Since David was to replace Saul as king, David became an enemy of the state.  David’s location was reported to Saul, and Saul began his pursuit.

1 Samuel 24.1:  “Now it happened, when Saul had returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, ‘Take note! David is in the Wilderness of En Gedi.’”

If you look on a map you will find two mountain ranges, one on the East and one on the West.  Right between these two mountain ranges is the Dead Sea.  At the bottom of the Western mountain range just before you get to the Western shore of the Dead Sea is a large wilderness.  This is known as the wilderness of En Gedi.

1 Samuel 24.2:  “Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men on the Rocks of the Wild Goats.”

David was a fugitive running from the government. 

1 Samuel 24.3,4:  “So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.)  Then the men of David said to him, ‘This is the day of which the Lord said to you, 'Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul's robe.”

Saul and his men went into a cave to tend to his needs.  It just so happened that this was also the same cave in which David and his men were hiding.  David’s men said to David that this is a great opportunity.  This is God fulfilling His promise delivering the enemy, Saul, into his hand.     

David sneaked up and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. 

1 Samuel 24.5:  “Now it happened afterward that David's heart troubled him because he had cut Saul's robe.”

David was bothered by what he had done.  His heart troubled him.  Why did David feel that way?

1 Samuel 24.6:  “And he said to his men, ‘The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord's anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.’”

Why did his heart trouble him?  Because he had done something to a man who was the Lord’s anointed.  David wasn't concerned about who Saul was.  David was concerned about whose Saul was.  He belonged to the Lord.  This was the Lord, The Great I Am, Jehovah God, and David said, Saul belongs to Him, and so he was troubled.  David had a deep respect for God, and therefore was not willing to rise up against someone whom God anointed.

Do you have the same respect for God as did David?  What kind of heart does God see in you?  Does He see in you a deep respect for Him that prevents you from acting contrary to His will?  Like David, there must always be in us a deep respect for God in all that we say and do.

3.  David Had a Deep Love for God

In this Bible Study of David, let’s also give some thought to some verses found in 2 Samuel 7.  In this context we find that David is now king of Israel.  He resides in Jerusalem, which is called the city of David.  The ark of the covenant has been moved there.  God had given into the hand of David all of his enemies.  It was a time of peace.

In terms of politics and international policy, in terms of religious purity, things were going well. 

2 Samuel 7.1-3:  “Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.’  Then Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.’”

This is the text where David desires to build a house for God.  Why?  It was due to the fact that he had a house of cedar.  But God (represented by the ark of the covenant), was dwelling in a tent.  David was living in a palace while God was living in a tent.  David didn't feel that it was right.  So Nathan says, “Go do what is in your heart.”  What was in David’s heart?  David had in his heart a love for God that compelled him to want to build God a house.  

In 2 Samuel 7.4-24, you will read of a conversation between God and David.  The conversation can be summed up like this.  

  • David:  I want to build You a house.
  • God:  I don’t need a house.  But I will establish your house.  (a great heritage)
  • David:  Who am I?  Why are you making me great? You are the Great One.

What we see in this conversation is this deep love for God in the heart of David.  David then offers a prayer to God.

2 Samuel 7.25-27:  “Now, O Lord God, the word which You have spoken concerning Your servant and concerning his house, establish it forever and do as You have said.  So let Your name be magnified forever, saying, 'The Lord of hosts is the God over Israel.' And let the house of Your servant David be established before You.  For You, O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, have revealed this to Your servant, saying, 'I will build you a house.' Therefore Your servant has found it in his heart to pray this prayer to You.”

David accept what God says and allows Him to make his name great.  He prays that God would do as He intended and promised to establish his house forever.  David then adds that he wanted what God promised, but only in a way that resulted in God's name being magnified.  David could not think of himself.  He was only thinking about God and His name being magnified. 

When you study the Bible and read about David, you learn that David was a man whose heart was saturated with his love for God.  His life was all about serving God.  His world was a world that was ruled by God.  His nation was a nation governed by God.  Over and over you read of David whose heart was filled with his love for God.

Do you have a heart that is filled with your love for God? 

David Bible Study
David's Final Days

In this final observation of our Bible study of David, let’s give some thought to some of the last words that Kind David spoke as he addressed his son, Solomon. 

In 1 Chronicle 28, we find David in an event in which he crowns his son Solomon as king.  He gathers together all the leaders of Israel and he makes a speech to them, and then he turns his attention to his son and speaks directly to him.  The last two chapters of 1 Chronicles contains that account.   In verses 1,2, David speaks about his relationship with God.  Then He said this in verse 9.

1 Chronicles 28.9:  “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

Here is a father speaking to his son preparing him for a time when he will not be around.  He tells Solomon, serve God with all your heart.  David served God with all his heart, and he tells Solomon to do the same.  He says that God searches the heart and knows the intents of the thoughts of the heart.

God knows the heart.  David understood that because that was the basis by which God chose David.  Now David says to Solomon that he needed to understand that God knows what kind of heart he had, so he was to serve Him with a loyal heart.

As you study the Bible on David, you can 1 Chronicles 29.16-19.  David is now speaking to God.  He tells God how much he put his heart into serving Him.  He says for God to take that heart that is filled with love and respect, that willingly did all that God required, and give that same kind of heart to the people, and to his son, so they may also have a heart for God.

We can talk about David and Goliath.  We can talk about David and Bathsheeba and the sincere repentance he uttered to Nathan the prophet.  We can talk about his love and friendship to Jonathan.  But it all stems from the foundation that David had a heart for God.

> > The Heart of David

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