Debbie Salter Goodwin
A Heart for God
What is the trait that makes a person someone God can use? We take personality tests. We find our number on an enneagram scale. We look at past performance. We dig into how a person handles conflict. And still, we can make big mistakes here.
God looks to one place . . . the heart. Which direction does the heart turn first? Success? People pleasing? Self-protection? Goals? God?
Paul called David, “A man after God’s own heart.” (Acts 13:22) David’s heart grew toward God as David wrote and sang about Him on the hills during his shepherding days. David understood God as the all-powerful Creator of beauty and complexity yet the One who listened and acted in behalf of the people He made. David saw himself as one of the sheep in God’s pasture, as one cared for, fed, and led to safety.
When God called David to be king, he called the boy with a heart for God. When I read the story of David fighting enemies bigger and stronger than he was, being pursued by a paranoid king, hiding in caves; I understand that God could use a simple shepherd boy because his heart turned toward God, first.
The first time I studied David’s story, scene by scene, I was taken by the phrase, “he inquired of the Lord.” David didn’t depend only on military intelligence. He didn’t try to outwit anyone. He simply asked God what he was supposed to do. The God who had whispered to his heart on the hillside was the same God who instructed every strategic move he made.
That is, until he stopped asking God. He didn’t ask God about Bathsheba. He didn’t ask God about his parenting. He didn’t ask God about his marriages. When he stopped asking God for details, he got into big trouble.
So how did David get one of the most celebrated places in the lineage that brought us Jesus? Because David shows our deep need to be rescued from self-centered slides away from asking God what to do. Because David is one of us, flawed, needy, with an imperfect performance record before God. Because David demonstrates the difference between a heart turned completely toward God and a heart that needs Someone to save him from himself.
Through Jesus, we come from David’s line, too. We have divided hearts that needs to be made whole again. We couldn’t have learned it from a perfect person who did everything right. We needed a David to remind us that God’s mercy runs deep, but we do have to ask for it. David wasn’t perfect, but his heart never hardened against God.
What would David say to us today? I think he would say, “Always inquire of the Lord!” I think he would remind us of the importance of confession for the big and little things. I think he would tell us to live a life for God so that at the end, there are no regrets. Only God can direct a life of no regrets.
If you want to know more about how God kept shaping David, download the one-page Bible study here or from Devotional Guides. Maybe David can mentor you, too.
Pictures: Pixels, Canva