R.T. Kendall’s book ‘A Man After God’s Own Heart’ focuses on the life of David, the shepherd boy who would become King of Israel. His meticulous insights on all the events recorded in the Bible have no doubt given me a more enhanced perspective on the reason behind why God indeed had called this man ‘A man after (His) own heart’. Prior to reading this I have respected David for his conquests, knowing that he was a great warrior and military leader, who conquered because he obeyed the Lord. Little did I know that behind his successes were failures that needed to be brought to the light, not for men to have reason to dishonor him, but for all to see how the Lord uses a man who seeks Him with all his heart through turmoil, anxiety, and triumph.
I find it a point to read a chapter of this book as soon as I wake up, every day until I finish the book. Indeed, I found myself relating more to the chapters which discussed David’s time running from Saul and what’s commonly known as his greatest folly – his affair with Bath-Sheba. Now, I’m reading on the life of David as he was fleeing from the clutches of his son Absalom, who took him by surprise by stealing the hearts of the majority of Israel, and declared himself King. According to Kendall, this was one of the most trying times of David’s life. As a consequence for David’s affair with Bath-Sheba, the prophet Nathan said that the sword ‘will never leave (David’s) family’, and the Lord will ‘raise adversity against (him) from (his) own house’ (2 Samuel 12:10-11).
Absalom had gained control of the key city of Hebron before moving into the capital of Jerusalem after David made the wise decision to take flight. As David took step by step away from the capital he established, he grieved more and more, knowing that the words of Nathan’s prophecy were taking effect. He recognized that he was paying for the sin he did years ago, and instead of rebelling, he chose to take what the Lord’s chastening.
So there he was, a king on the run, with detractors throwing stones at him and opportunists taking advantage of him (2 Samuel 16:1-8). David was betrayed by Ahithophel, one of his closest advisors, and Absalom was publicly mocking him by sleeping with the women he left behind (2 Samuel 16:20-23).
Yet in the face of all this, he was not alone in his flight, for there were his loyal friends, fleeing and mourning with him. Though, according to Kendall, some may think that the Lord was dealing with David severely, He was working it all for the good. At one time during this period of David’s chastening, God made it clear to David that He was still in charge and that He still loved him. First, it came in the form of one particular friend who mourned and stayed close to David – Hushai, the Archite. He returned to Jerusalem to serve as a double agent, to confound whatever wise advise Ahithophel had for Absalom, and to give advise which would work for David’s advantage. Then, as David continued to flee, the Lord had brought new friends to provide relief to the king and his men in the form of food and lodging (2 Samuel 17:27-29).
I am in agreement with Kendall’s saying that the aid Hushai provided and the relief offered served as strong assurance to David, that God was still with him in all this, and He was taking care of him.
I could say that I can relate to this situation, in the sense that I have felt the bitter and painful consequences of sin, and it was only during the time that I sought the Lord and placed all my trust in Him that I saw how He was graciously leading me out of the darkness into the light, in communion with Him, with a gift only He could provide. There was a time that though I was following him with all my efforts, there was an idol in my heart that was taking His place in front and center. When I felt the sting of absolute rejection, a vacuum was established so suddenly and painfully, and when I saw how vast this vacuum was in my life, I was simply… broken. Broken to the point that the only option left was to seek the Lord, literally surrendering to Him.
And as I fled from all things, seeking only to serve God and learn from Him above all else, it was there that I learned that there was a true friend who was with me through it, and that there was a true partner that the Lord prepared for me – Paola.
Some of us need to hit rock bottom before going to the top. And through it all, the Lord is in control. It is done for His glory and His alone.
There is much more I want to add to about what happened to me, but I believe this is all I can say for now. Let me just finish by reiterating what I aim to say many times again: The more you give of yourself to the Lord, the more He blesses you with.
Have a great and blessed day.
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