Monday, July 11, 2005

David's Heart (part 3)

David was a true Renaissance man: poet, warrior, musician, statesman. He was a bold and charismatic leader, handsome, fierce, intense. He wrote the prayer book for the human race. He played so skillfully that he was the only one who could calm King Saul's nerves. He defeated a giant and gathered some of the greatest warriors of the day to become his "Mighty Men." He lifted Israel to a level of economic well-being and political stability that has forever been regarded as Israel's Golden Age -- Israel's Camelot.

And yet it was none of these accomplishments that caused God to call him a man after his own heart. It was something deeper, something internal. We've already seen that a part of what made David's heart so great was his willingness to give it away with such wild abandon. Whatever David did, he did with all his heart -- no reservations, nothing held back.

A second remarkable feature of David’s heart -- and one that is rare in people whose hearts are so wild and intense -- is that he is clearly a man of deep reflection. Usually, you find in a person one or the other -- either they give their hearts with this sense of wild abandon OR they are deeply reflective. But David combines both.

At the end of Psalm 139, for example, David writes, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.” He is deeply concerned that his heart often reflects conflicted loyalty, so he begs God to give him an undivided heart. Obviously, it takes a heart that has spent time in deep reflection to pen the words to the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.”

In the very first Psalm, David uses this great image of a tree. He says that the godly man or woman is like a tree, planted by rivers of water, whose roots go down so deep that producing fruit almost comes effortlessly. The tree can’t help but produce fruit because the root system is so deep and the tree is so well-nourished that it just flourishes.

I don’t know much about gardening, but I know this: you can’t develop a root system in a hurry. It takes time and stillness and waiting.

When was the last time you saw someone whose life was always a blur -- a rushing, swirling mass of chaos -- and they were also deep? You can be hurried OR you can be deep. You can’t be both.

I live life at breakneck speed -- squeezing the most out of each day and oftentimes neglecting the command to be still and know that God is God (and by means of implication: I am not). I have bought the lie that my worth is determined by my productivity. My heart is not often characterized enough by deep reflection. My heart doesn’t often look like David’s, but I want it to. I want a heart of deep reflection like David's. He took time -- out with the sheep -- hiding in the caves -- alone with God, allowing God to shepherd his heart.

That’s another reason why David is known as a man after God’s own heart.