A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART
“I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” Acts 13:22b
There is only one man in the Bible of whom it was said, “He was a man after God’s own heart.” Isn’t it strange that God would call man who was a murderer and adulterer, a polygamist and a pretty useless father “a man after my own heart”? Is it possible that God doesn’t see things the way we do? We know that God hates the sins David committed, so why did He look past those things and show David so much favour?
The punishment for murder and adultery, according to the Law of Moses, was death. Why did God not have David put to death for killing Uriah and committing adultery with his wife, Bathsheba? Was there something in David’s life so much more important to God that He was willing to forgive David’s sins and not have him killed?
At God’s command, Samuel had anointed David to be king of Israel in place of Saul because Saul disobeyed God. It was David’s right to kill Saul’s family when he became king so that no descendant of Saul would be able to take the throne from him. David had opportunity to kill Saul on two occasions when Saul was hunting him down, but David spared Saul’s life because he would not take the law into his own hands. David also refused to put people to death who opposed him when his son, Absolom, tried to steal the kingdom from him. David preferred to show people mercy rather than take revenge.
One of the most beautiful examples of David’s heart of kindness and mercy was the way he treated Jonathan’s only remaining son. After he became king of Israel, he remembered the promise he had made to his friend Jonathan, who was Saul’s son. “David asked, ‘Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?’” 2 Samuel 9:1. He was told of one crippled son, Mephibosheth who was living in exile in Lodebar.
Mephibosheth had no right to David’s kindness except that David had made a covenant with Jonathan. He promised that he would show mercy to Jonathan’s children. Mephibosheth was also handicapped which meant that he could not come into the king’s presence. David could kill him and that would be okay. But instead, he called Mephibosheth, restored his grandfather, Saul’s land to him and invited him to come and live in the royal palace and eat at his table.
To “eat at his table” meant that David offered Mephibosheth complete reconciliation. There would be no enmity between them even though his grandfather had hated David. What David did was exactly like the heart of God. He offers us reconciliation by allowing us to eat at His table – the communion table where we remember that Jesus died to reconcile us to God. Mercy triumphs over judgment.