If you were the General Manager for your favorite professional sports team, how would you choose whom to draft or sign as a free agent to fill out your roster? In this election season, how do you determine whom to vote for? If you were going to hire someone for your company, what criteria would you use to identify the right person?
In each of these areas, do you rely on the person’s resume? Do you focus on their track record of past achievements? Or do you go below the surface in order to look deeper?
When God looks for a man or woman to use in his plan, he looks at their heart. 2 Chronicles 16:9 states, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that he may strongly support those whose heart is completely his.”
We are beginning a new sermon series studying the life of David, the man who was known for having a whole heart for God.
In 1 Samuel 8:1-9, we discover the historical setting of what David stepped in to. Samuel was old and his sons whom he had appointed as judges did not follow God. As a result, the nation of Israel wanted a king so they could be like the surrounding nations. Not only did they reject Samuel’s leadership, but the nation of Israel rejected God’s leadership.
In the first go round of choosing a king, the people chose Saul based on his outward characteristics (1 Samuel 9-10). When that didn’t turn out well, God chose the second king based on the character of his heart (1 Samuel 13:14). In the contrast between Saul and David, we learn that God chooses nobodies and turns them into somebodies.
Many times, we dismiss David and say we could never be like him. After all, we surmise, David had a low-pressure job as a shepherd. He had time to meditate. And he was able to express himself in music and poetry. If I had David’s time and gifts, I could have a heart for God, we exclaim.
However, we lose sight of the fact that David came from a dysfunctional family and worked for an angry, crazy, murderous employer. He spent a great deal of time on the run as a fugitive, surrounded by vengeful people who were the dregs of society.
The point is, if we want to have a heart for God, we must make some intentional choices. First off, we cannot hold anything back. Remember that God seeks people whose heart is “completely his” (2 Chronicles 16:9). We cannot have any locked closets or keep secrets from God. Secondly, we must confess our sins as soon as we become aware of them (2 Samuel 12:13).
Thirdly, we must make friends with solitude. We need to get up early, turn off the radio, TV, computer, internet, cell phone, and remove all the distractions. We need to make time to not only read the Bible, but also to reflect on what it is saying to us and write our thoughts down in a journal. We must make the time to pray and listen for God.
Fourthly, we need to open our eyes and see where God is at work around us. David provides an excellent model of this practice. He praises God for creation (Psalm 8, 19, 29, 65), his provision and care (Psalm 23), his protection and shelter (Psalm 62), and his amazing creation of human life (Psalm 139).
Lastly, we need to surround ourselves with the right kind of people who will influence us in the right direction. We need a Jonathan, a friend to encourage us (1 Samuel 23:16). We need some mighty men who will help us accomplish our goals (2 Samuel 23:8-39). We need someone like Hushai the Archite who will watch our back and protect us from attack (2 Samuel 15:32-37; 17:1-23). We need an Abigail who will prevent us from doing something rash or foolish that we will regret (1 Samuel 25:18-31). We need a Nathan who will speak the truth to us (2 Samuel 12:1-15).
God is looking for men and women who have a heart that is solely devoted to him. May we make the choice to become that kind of person.
This is the synopsis of a message preached to First Central Bible Church on May 24, 2020. It is the opening sermon in a series on the life of David. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.