I’m fascinated by the stories told of Kind David; and how he was a lover. He was truly a man after God’s own heart. And yet, he was still just a man, like you or I. David was an unlikely choice to be a king, let alone a leader of any sort. He was the youngest of his large family, who all held the heart of their earthly father. When Samuel was sent by God to anoint the next king, and found himself upon the doorsteps of Jesse’s (David’s father) home, the young boy never crossed his earthly father’s mind when Samuel had revealed that he was there to choose a king amongst his boys. What an honor for Jesse! But what a dishonor to young David.
To be cast aside without a second thought to his potential. A young shepherd boy, who probably found more comfort in the fields with the sheep, than with his own family. Though his earthly father may not have given him a second thought as a King to Israel, his Heavenly Father knew differently. And it all came down to David’s intimate relationship with God, even at that young age. God’s intentions were clear.
I’m sort of reminded of fable, centuries old, told about another young king. You may have heard of it, though the legend differs from time to time. One recent twist of the story goes like this: A young king goes on a quest. He has a dilemma. Who is to reign, temporarily, in his stead? He goes to his must trusted counselor and friend, and the counselor goes and seeks wisdom from another who he trusts. This trusted individual is told to travel to a far away land, a tiny island, where there he would find the a “young man that could rule in the king’s absence.” The counselor leaves, makes the long trek and comes across a family in a far away land, on a tiny island. The man he beholds before him is handsome, strong, skilled, honorable, and intelligent. “Surely, this is the one,” the counselor thought. The man is brought back to the land of the beloved king, where he is tested, found worthy, and is placed on the throne in the king’s absence.
The king returns many years later, distraught at what he discovers. He had returned to a kingdom not flourishing, but a kingdom deeply troubled; and the king felt betrayed and hurt by all that had transpired in his absence. Filled with anger, he lashed out at his trusted counselor, but he was no more angry than that of the counselor himself. The counselor had gone to seek the one who had sent him to the tiny island. Furious, he demands to know why he had been betrayed. His friend and confidant spoke simply and said, “I never told you who to place on the throne. I guided you to the land where he dwelled, and I trusted your wisdom to choose.” The counselor didn’t understand. Still angry, still furious, still betrayed by all that had befallen the kingdom, because of the choice he had made.
If you haven’t realized it yet, this is the story of Lancelot. You see what Merlin would discover is that the “young man” wasn’t Lancelot, but it was to be his young son, who Merlin had not given a second thought to reigning in Arthur’s stead. A child was never expected, much like Jesse never expected young David, a shepherd boy who’s only task was to watch over sheep in a distant field. But God knew something and saw something that no one else saw, not even Samuel upon arrival.
David was a lover. He knew how to chase after God’s heart. He had learned patience, leadership, stewardship, and loyalty in those fields. While his brothers and father were hard at work elsewhere, David sat right there, watching over the sheep tasked to him; and I imagine that that heart for worship in David was cultivated right there in those fields.
Remember Psalm 23? “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters? (v1-2)” There is no doubt in my mind that the most famous Psalm David wrote about God’s love for us, is the Psalm that parallels his days as a young shepherd boy. In those fields he had learned all that he had wrote in that Psalm.
I love verse 6 of that Psalm, “Surely or only goodness, mercy, and UNFAILING LOVE shall follow me all the days of my life…” Yes. David was a man after God’s own heart. Unfailing — foolproof, in abundant supply, unceasing, changeless, infallible, without fail — love.
I think why we as PEOPLE fail with understanding, living, and walking in God’s love; is that we don’t understand UNFAILING love. We don’t understand how a lover SHOULD love. David was a lover — like God is a lover. God knew before David was ever conceived, that he would be King. And though his role in those fields may have appeared insignificant, it was in those very fields God taught and trained up David on HOW to be a lover.
There’s a song by Isa Couvertier called “My Way Is Not Hidden.” The song recognizes God’s unfailing, insatiable love for us; and Isa’s desire for her own heart to be mirrored after His own. In a part of the song, she says, “Be seen as beautiful. Be loved as a lover should. Be heard like thundering. Be my everything.” She recognized the beauty of God’s love, that He was her beloved – worthy of her praise, devotion, and relentless desire to seek His heart. She recognized that God was everything and in all things. She wanted the same, as she saw God was in Himself as a Father to a daughter, or a son. In this song, Isa was chasing God, like David chased God all his life.
David’s greatest quality was not his ability as a king, or a shepherd boy, or even a musician (if you can imagine that), but it was his ability to meet God in that place where all things of the heart was shared. Good or bad, it didn’t matter. David did it, because he desired more of God. He wanted to remain in that secret, dwelling place. David was a lover, and he knew how to love; and because of that, he knew how to capture the heart of God.
“Be loved as a lover should.” How does a lover love? David’s devotion was probably unmatched by any other man on Earth. If it were, then I would suspect that there wouldn’t have been so much emphasis on it being said that David was a man after God’s own heart. His devotion to worshiping and honoring God was remarkable. Imagine if we could capture the heart of God, like David did. Imagine how our own hearts and lives would change, and those around us. Imagine how our families, our friends, and our nation(s) could change.
“Take the coal and cleanse the thoughts of you.” Isa desired so greatly that her heart mirror God’s own, that she was willing to have God burn the thoughts from her mind that warp her perspective of God as a lover, so that a true and reformed perspective could be obtained and she too, could be a lover.
What a beautiful thing. Just some food for thought… Think on it.
Love you, guys!