All posts by markkharris55

About markkharris55

Mark K. Harris is an officer in United States Coast Guard who has enjoyed over 16 years of active duty naval engineering assignments. He is married to his beautiful wife Vanessa for 8 years; they have three children Joshua, Andrew and Hannah. They are actively involved with our church and other community based activities. Having had the opportunity to both learn and lead during his career on both Coast Guard Cutters and high level Naval Engineering units, Harris’ intention is to continue in the Coast Guard for or beyond twenty years. After that, we will reevaluate family, ministry and career priorities to determine all opportunities that might be available to us.

Return to The King

1 Sam 17:57
Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand

I was listening (yes I said listening) to this text recently and this verse really jumped out at me. David had just gone through a virtually impossible battle and yet came out victorious. When I say impossible; the entire Israeli Army were not willing to take on this battle, they wanted no part of it. However, this young teenager (David) would step up and do what even the King’s top Generals weren’t willing to do, go against the Philistines Giant.  What can we take from that?  David’s Courage, we need to be courageous and attack those giants in our lives that seem impossible.

However, that is not what jumped off the virtual page for me.  The actions David took following his victory.  You know there are a lot of times when we are in the midst of a battle, we become so consumed with figuring our way out or what it will take to win. So much so that the minute we’re done we drop everything and celebrate.  While we go directly to God with our desires to fight our giant or overcome the challenging situation; how often do we forget to return to God after the victory.  David in this text, goes from victory to honor to evangelism.  Let’s see how his actions after the greatest breakthrough can help us to respond to the blessings in our own lives.    

  1. David Routed His Enemy: vs Then, as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine. The text says that David slaughtered the Philistine (Goliath). If you’re a sports guy like myself the term “rout” is often used when talking about dominating your opponent. A rout is when you jump on top of the other team and then relentlessly don’t let up until the game is over. So much so the other team eventually just gives in. David did just that, He jumped at the chance to attack Goliath, the text says “that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.” The little shepherd boy annihilated this great warrior and just as David told Goliath, he “came in the name of the LORD.” Just as David took on His giant with God as his source of power, we can and should do the same. 
  2. David Returned to the King: vs Abner took him and brought him before Saul. What was David’s first stop after defeating Goliath? The King. After his biggest victory, David made a b-line for the Throne. When God gives us the victory, we should return to the King of Glory and acknowledge His favor and power. Don’t believe me, then let’s check with Jesus: after cleansing 10 Lepers He said this when one of those healed returned to worship: So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” The Samaritan returned and worshiped Jesus who’d given him the victory over leprosy. 
  3. David Rendered the Evidence: vs brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. When David returned to the King, he showed up with the head of the Giant. He came back with the evidence of his victory. The word render actually means to “provide or give (a service).”  David was giving confirmation to King Saul that the task was indeed completed.  It became his visual testimony. Testimonies are powerful and the book of Revelations reminds us of that fact in chapter 12 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Our testimonies can give hope to others going through similar personal battles, increase the faith of other believers, and may draw non-believers to Christ. 

As we see David’s actions going into his biggest challenge and after his greatest victory; I believe we see his heart (A Man After God’s Own Heart) towards Authority.  As well as a map he gives us showing how we can honor God as He gives us victory in our own lives.  God will empower each of us to be victorious; what will be our response?  Will we return to the Lord and will we tell others about it??   

Is This The End?

Matthew 24:4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for [a]all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, [b]pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

When I was growing up as a young 10-year-old, one of my favorite groups was New Edition.  One song in particular that I used to sing in my mirror was “Is This The End?”  It was the teenaged romantic asking his “girlfriend” if their relationship was over.  I was so into the song that I used to try to figure out who I would sing it to (because I was 10).  However, now that I am nearly 5 times that age, that same question, “Is This The End,” sparks a much different thought.  With everything that is going on in the world today; Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Flooding, Tornadoes, Uncontrollable Wildfires, Countries being overtaken; not to mention a widespread Virus that continues to linger and morph itself into a stronger version.  Could this be the end coming closer or as I told a friend earlier today “Is Jesus walking up that Cloud?” (He’s coming back in a Cloud-Revelations)   

Jesus’ Disciples asked a similar question about the end; the book of Matthew records a conversation where Jesus answered this question of when the end would be.  The wanted to know when their Savior would return for them.  In His response, Jesus begins by reminding them not to be deceived by those who claim to come in His Name.  There is only one Jesus and One way to God the Father.  Don’t be swept away by the latest trend, Ted Talk or the smoothest speechmaker; they are frauds.  After this great insight, Jesus then begins to give a plethora of things which will mark the signs of His return to earth. 

  1. Wars and Battles:  vs 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  Unfortunately, war has become all but too common and rumors of wars are spoken on a daily basis.  Well I guess we can check that box. 
  2. Pestilences and Earthquake:  vs 7 And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.  In case anyone was unaware, the word Pestilence is defined as “a fatal epidemic disease.”  We all know this way too well.  Since 2020 we’ve been living this nightmare.  Result, another checked box.  Interestingly enough, Jesus said that these would only be the beginning of sorrows.
  3. All Sorts of Chaos:  vs 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  People are killed if they are Christians in some countries; here in America we might get talked about, disrespected, maybe even “trolled on Twitter,” but hated none the less.  The other items like lawlessness everywhere, our love growing cold, and hate being shown for one another; we’ve certainly seen that in abundance in the last couple of years.  Unfortunately, another box checked. 

I don’t share this text with you as some sort of “Scare Tactic,” but as a reminder of why we’re planted here on this planet.  Verse 13 & 14 says “13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  We need to tell people about Jesus.  Many will endure all of this and they will be saved, but only if someone is willing to share Jesus with them.  The above truth is that we are in the latter days and according to scripture Jesus could return at any-time.  However, those that have not accepted Christ as their Savior are in the final countdown.  Don’t let that be because they’ve never be offered Jesus Christ.  When we tell them, He will do the knocking at their heart. 

Make sure that you tell someone that Jesus Loves Them.  Regardless of what they’ve done or what they’ve been through, Jesus knows and desires a relationship with them so that He can lead them to their destiny.  Romans 10:9 gives us instructions on how to begin this relationship with Jesus; vs 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  Ask Jesus into your heart, then believe He is who He says He is.  He’ll do all the rest.

I Love You With The Love of Christ!!!

You Made A Way

Is 43: 16. Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters

I won’t go into the funny way in which this scripture came to mind, but the premise of the verse is that God has made a way. I know that numerous times He has made a way for me when it seemed like defeat or destruction was imminent.  I know that if you take a few minutes and think about your own life, you will have to admit that God has made a way out of no way for you too. I just want to leave you with these two quick thoughts.

  1. God is willing to speak into our situations. “Thus says the Lord.” A word that is not often thought about is the word Thus. Webster’s defines it as “as a result or consequence of this.” So, the beginning of this verse is saying that; when the Lord speaks there is a result or consequence. When God speaks into our situation, the result or consequence of that situation changes. God has spoken His word into numerous situations that have been documented in the Bible. Therefore, we all have example after example to reflect, receive and stand on when we need God to speak into our situations. God has and will continue to Make a Way for us and as a result our situation can and will change.   
  2. God’s path is not always visible to us, but it is our best path. “who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters.“  I love how specific God is when He used men to pen this bible. God uses the mighty waters of the sea to illustrate something powerful.  I’d like to think that my 20 plus years of military service in the Coast Guard and two tours at sea have given me a perspective of this text.  Now many people have gone swimming at the beach and I’m sure that while enjoying themselves they felt like surviving in the sea was easy.  I thought the same until my first trip at sea. We had what we called “a swim call” in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  We would stop the cutter and allow the crew to jump in the ocean and swim. What I found out very quickly is that although the water looked very calm, once you’re in it the sea the waves are nearly 8 to 10 feet.  In that type of water, it’s difficult to stay afloat and very difficult to get where you’re trying to go.  What you also quickly realize is that regardless of where you are in the sea, it is difficult to navigate by sight.  Therefore, when Isaiah says of God, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, he understands that we cannot see any path in a sea.  So, when God makes a way, we can’t always see where that way or path is. Any captain of a ship can attest that regardless of what your track line (path) is you cannot look out into the water to see it you must trust your instruments to remain on course. God is willing and ready to Speak into our situations and make a way for us.  However, it’s our responsibility to trust God when He speaks and know that although we cannot see the path, it is there.

A Man After God’s Own Heart (5)

Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Last time we took a look at David’s most well-known Psalm; the 23rd.  The focus was on David’s understanding of God’s Heart.  We only made it through the first 3 verses last post, so today we will look at verses 4-6.  As we continue to see this Psalm for its ability to capture the insight from the one God called a Men After God’s Own Heart. Let’s see what these last verses of this Psalm can show us about the Heart of God.

  1. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me: The Lord’s Presence Removes Fear.  Jesus is with me; His presence is full of love and it is Perfect Love that cast out Fear.  We can take comfort in knowing that regardless of where David ended up God was with him and he knew God loved him.  This text is a reminder that we will all go thru valleys, however, in every valley God is with us and His love comforts us (with His Rod & Staff).  His rod (or His Discipline) can comfort us by understanding that He who God loves He disciplines (Heb 12:6).  When a parent disciplines a child, it is out of their love for the child and wanting the best for them.  It is the same way God loves us that He will step in when we are off track.  His staff (or His leadership) comforts us by providing guidance and support to accomplish the task we have been given.  The staff is used to help man stand and walk; both are areas that we need support in; standing for Jesus and walking in God’s ways.  We can overcome our fears by knowing that God is walking with us; guiding us along the path set for us; and discipling us when we go astray so that we do not end up too for off course. 
  2. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over: The Lord’s Anointing Attracts Blessing and Haters.  When God anoints your head, your cup must run over.  Strong’s defines anoint in this text as to be made fat; to grow fat; to become prosperous.  So, the very act of anointing you is prospering you with overflow (My cup runs over).  The interesting thing about David’s understanding is the fact that God prepared his anointing “in the presence of my enemies.”  One of David’s biggest haters was King Saul and honestly it is easy to see why; David would be Saul’s replacement, David had greater accomplishments than Saul in battle and his fame grew more than that of Saul.  While you can see why Saul would hate on David; yet in the same breath each thing I listed were results of the anointing David walked in.  Therefore, don’t be surprised as God elevates you, that your haters increase.  They are seeing the results of your anointing which are a blessing of overflow of God’s Presence in your life.  Remember that while your God given anointing is an overflowing blessing, it will also attract haters.  So, don’t sweat it; they come with the territory. 
  3. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever: The Lord’s Presence Surrounds Us with Grace.  David’s final verse might be the most significant.  Whenever you hear Psalm 23 mentioned, I’m sure that most folks immediately think “The Lord is my shepherd.”  While that is a very significant statement, as discussed last post, knowing that God’s goodness and mercy stays with us as believers, every day of our lives.  Yet, it is the result of that knowledge which causes the final declaration of David; “I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.”  This is a lifetime decision; David declared that from this moment on (what moment; the moment he understood that Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life).  How do we know this?  One word; And.  This conjunction brings these two statements, thoughts, mindset and decisions together; because of God’s goodness and mercy towards me, I will live my life in the Lord (in Christ) for the rest of my life.  We would call this decision salvation; this is when one confesses their need for a savior and believe in their heart that Jesus died for them.  Paul reminds us that “the goodness of God leads to repentance (Rom 2:4).” 

Is it time for you to make a decision, the decision to dwell in the house of the Lord Forever? The beginning of 2021 would be a great time to make that decision.  Maybe you’ve already made that life changing decision, now it is a matter of being reminded that the Lord’s Presence in our lives Removes our fear; Anoints us with overflow; and surrounds us with His Grace.  David was deemed a Man After God’s Own Heart, his drafting of the 23rd Psalm really highlighted his understanding of that Loving Heart of God.  This dive into this famous chapter should help us to comprehend the heart of God a little better.  The deeper we continue to dive into these verses on our own, the more we will comprehend God’s heart and draw us even closer to Him. As we have entered a new year let’s remember what David shared with us from this 23rd Psalm:

  1. The Lord Provides for Our Every Need
  2.  The Lord Guudes Us Toward Peace
  3. The Lord Restores With Righteousness
  4. The Lord’s Presence Removes Fear
  5. The Lord’s Anointing Attracts Blessings & Haters
  6. The Lord’s Presence Surrounds Us with Grace.

A Man After God’s Own Heart (4)

Psalm 23: 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

David’s most well-known Psalm is the 23rd.  This incredible soliloquy in a nutshell captures just how well David understood God’s Heart.  These verses will help us see just how well aligned God’s heart was to David’s words.  Let’s look at what David understood about the heart of God and what we can glean from it to become Men After God’s Own Heart.

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want: The Lord Provides for Our Every Need.   David understood every aspect of being a shepherd, so when he states here that “The Lord is my shepherd,” his expertise on this point was as a Subject Matte Expert.  David treated his job a shepherded with great reverence and pride.  If you recall, David used this expertise and diligence as a shepherd to state his case to battle Goliath.  David knew that as a shepherd, he protected the sheep from bears & lions; he ensured that they were always provided for.  So, when he says the lord is my shepherd, he knows from personal experience that God is never going to leave him wanting for anything nor will God leave him unprotected from any destruction aimed his way.  David reminds us that we can trust God to provide & protect us.   Abraham called Him Jehovah Jireh; the Lord who provides, while we call Him the Good Shepherd (John:10 “I am the good shepherd). The good shepherd gave His life for His sheep.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters: The Lord Guides Us Towards Peace.  What David explains here is that God’s presence in our lives produces Peace.  His peace, which surpasses all understanding and adds no sorrow.  His peace calms us in any chaotic situation.  His peace which makes even the most difficult decision, perfectly clear.  The Lord leads us to peace; even when the journey takes us through hardship, hurt and even pain; our destination remains His peace.  David could relate to this, after all his journey to the throne took him through rejection, ridicule, battles, betrayal, failure and fatigue.  Yet, he ultimately ended up where God told him he’d be before the journey began.  Isaiah said in chapter 26 (Isa 26:3) that “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  We can trust God to lead us by His peace.

  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake: The Lord Restores With Righteousness.  Restoration is a word that means “the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.”  Think of an old car that was once, shiny, sparkling and new.  However, over time has been broken down, parts damaged, paint decayed, even the tires flattened.  Just a mere shell of the car that it used to be.  Likewise, God made us in His own image; but our sin has dented, decayed and damaged His righteousness appearing through us.  There is also another definition for this word, “the return of a hereditary monarch to a throne, a head of state to government, or a regime to power.”  Living in this earthly body will erode the Godliness of us all.  Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual in the heavenly places in Christ.  Yet His righteousness restores our position at the right hand of God’s Throne, because we are positioned in Christ Jesus.  2 Cor 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  Henceforth, God has restored us by His righteousness. 

David provides such great perspective on God’s heart for us that we could not possibly take it all in at one meal.  We’ll look at the rest of the chapter next time.  However, we need to remember that God comforts us with His Presence.  He Provides everything we Need; Leads us into Peace; and Restores us to Righteousness.  This allows us to seek first God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness, knowing that everything we need will be provided and the worry we have are eliminated (Matt 6:33-34).

Thank You For Another One

Luke 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.

As I celebrate my birthday today; I do so with much gratitude and thanksgiving. Not just because it is that season but because of just how Good God has been to me. I have been the beneficiary of many revealed blessings that were not deserved and I’m very grateful.

Oh, Give Thanks

PSALM 106:1 Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

This week is Thanksgiving and it is truly my favorite time of year.  One because my birthday is always within a few days of Thanksgiving and Two because this was the time of year when a majority of my family would travel from across the country to celebrate together.  We would have big dinners and experience fun times being able to see family that I did not often have a chance to see.  Now, while Thanksgiving should be a time that we all spend considering the things that we are thankful for.  But let’s be honest, 2020 has kind of put a “wet sock” on everything; the chaos, lives lost, and social justice discrepancies have sucked much of the excitement of the season out of many of us.  We are not allowed to continue our time-honored traditions, without putting others health in jeopardy of a contagious virus.  We have to make a choice, we can look at this time and be disappointed not really being as thankful as we normally are or we can remember these few things:  

  1. Praise the LORD! The Lord desires our praise because we were created to give Him praise. The Bible tells us that God inhabits the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3). That means he lives, abides or just hangs around praise. He looks for opportunities to hang out with those who praise Him. Check this out; where the presence of the Lord there is Liberty (2 Corinth 3:17; in His presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). The Bible even tells us that in His presence the enemy melts (Isa 19:1). So, if you’re looking for reasons to be thankful this week; here is one. Because we get to Praise God and receive all of the blessings that comes with it!
  2. He is good! God is so very good to each of us. Have you ever had someone be good to you? What a feeling! So, imagine the richest person in the world and the poorest person in the world both being good to you.  I would have to think that both acts of goodness would look gravely different.  We would probably lean towards the richest person’s good being better than the poorest. Well, now imagine the all-powerful; all knowing and ever-present God being good to you. His acts of goodness are so much greater than the others.  That’s who we have being good to us every day. He seeks after us, waiting to find ways to be good to us (Isaiah 30:18). What does the bible say about the word “good?”  According to many verses, good means: to be pleasant, agreeable, excellent, rich, valuable, appropriate, becoming, happy, prosperous, understanding, kind, ethical, benefit, bounty.  God is all these things in our lives. So, if you need another reason to be thankful, use this:  God is Good to Me!!!
  3. His mercy endures forever. We long for God’s Mercy and Grace.  His mercy endures throughout our entire life and beyond. God has been so merciful to us. The many things that I have done wrong, where I failed to live according to His standard; where I have hurt others; both those closest to me and those whom I did not really care about; am I’m sure you could say something similar.  If you like me know the powers of God’s mercy; mercy that allows us to be merciful to others and even more importantly merciful to ourselves. You remember that His mercy covers us completely; our every hurt, every pain, every tear and every heartbreak. God’s mercy endures; meaning that it goes well beyond expectation, it suffers patiently and long; it remains in existence even when we give up. Why does God show us such great mercy?  Because of Love (1 Cor 13:4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails).  If I can give you one more reason to be thankful during this season, God is enduring with you daily and He’s saturating you with Mercy and Grace.

Thanksgiving in a pandemic can be the most depressing one of our lifetimes if we allow it. However, when we remember we’ve been created to Praise; that God is Good to us and that His Mercy endures forever; we can and should be thankful.

A Man After God’s Own Heart (3)

1 Sam 16:11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.

This is installment #3 of A Man After God’s Own Heart.  It’s funny how we want to do one thing then God steps in and does what He wants.  I’d recently been looking at David’s Psalms and could not help seeing his heart being that of a praise and worship leader bringing everyone into the presence of God.  I thought it funny that it was as if he was created solely for that, but he did so much more.  Then I was struck with what Lucifer’s original position as “the anointed cherub,” could that anointing Satan forfeited be what was bestowed on David, who wrote most of the Bible’s Psalms? 

Then God stepped in.  Last week Bishop Jakes preached a messaged called “Know Your Role.”  Then it all clicked for me along with David’s WHIP; and his actions completely contradictory of the fall of Adam; David knew his role in whatever capacity and he served in each as unto God.  Each role was vital to him becoming the King and Servant of God who was so affectionately known as “A Man After God’s Own Heart.”

Let’s look at the many roles of David:

Shepherd: (1 Sam 16:11) Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.  This was the role in which we were first introduced to David.  Serving in his father’s fields tending to his sheep, goats and other animals that allowed his father Jesse to prosper.  However, what we know is that this job was not the most flattering or exciting job.  Jesse had 8 sons, yet David was the only one that didn’t even get into the room when Jesse and Samuel were looking to anoint a King.  We got a little since of what kind of shepherd David was, when hearing of his protecting the flock against a lion and a bear.  He was willing to put his life on the line to protect the sheep.  That trait would come in very handy latter in his life as leader of Israel.

Armor Bearer: (1 Sam 16:21) So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer.  This role in the bible, was a young valet that carried the armor and weapons of a warrior and in David’s case he directly served the King.  Many may be familiar with the armor bearer role in the church, a person that travels with and serves the man or woman of God who serves the church.  The are very close to them, they hear the conversations happening behind the scenes, they spend time with the person’s family, they see them at their highest and lowest because of the proximity.  One of the key roles of the armor bearer is the ability to be both invisible and unheard.  The text shows us that Saul the King loved David.  I believe this speaks volumes about just how well he served Saul and his ability to be trusted.   

Musician: (1 Sam 16:16) Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well.  David played the harp and he was well known for that skills; so much so that the Kings servants recommended him (1 Sam 16:18 Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.”).  The lesson we learn from this role of David is that the gift of harp playing was his key to the palace.  In other words, Proverbs 18:16 A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men.  When we have a God given skill, we should work to develop it and use it to the glory of God.  The bible is clear, that your gift will make room for you.

Delivery Guy: I’m taking a little literary liberty regarding this role.  Jesse told his son David to take some food and supplies to his brothers that were out at war; (1 Sam 17:20) So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him.  I sarcastically called this role the delivery guy; I was originally going to use “uber eats,” but you get the jest.  Here it was, the anointed one was tasked with taking lunch to his brothers.  However, all things work together because as he was arriving to the stronghold of the troops, the Philistine giant was making his demands against the army of Israel.  This would spark two new roles that David had not signed up for when he left home on a simple task.  Sometimes our most tedious of assignments are the exact ones which lead us into our destiny.   

Salesman: (1 Sam 17:33-37) But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock.  David was disgusted by the arrogance of this Uncircumcised Philistine and would not stand by and not let it be addressed.  While everyone else may have been afraid (including his brothers), he would step up to represent the Lord’s Army.  But not everyone thought it would be possible so it would take a new skill.  David had to sale himself to the king; 1 Sam 17:33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. David immediately pleaded his case to the point of success, as Saul would agree to allow David to battle Goliath.  This newfound skill of selling his accomplishments to the decision makers led him to maybe his greatest victory.   

Warrior: (1 Sam 17:40) Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.  After his sales pitch was accepted, David then got himself ready for battle.  The King and others wanted to help him by loaning David their gear and weapons.  However, David understood something that is valuable for us all.  He could not walk in the shoes of others but need to use the gear God had given him (1 Sam 17:38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So, David took them off).  David would now become the ultimate warrior, as he aggressively attacked the menacing Philistine with his weapons of choice “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him.”   

Prince: (1 Sam 18:20) Now Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him. So Saul said, “I will give her to him, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” Therefore, Saul said to David a second time, “You shall be my son-in-law today.”  David’s amazing victory over Goliath changed everything from him.  He went from caring for sheep to living in palace as the King’s son.  He became a hero to the people of Israel, so much so that is made King Saul jealous.  One of the “spoils” for defeating Goliath, was forever living tax free, but also the promise to marry the King’s daughter.  Of course, David’s attitude for such a gift was maybe predictable “1 Sam 18:18 So David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son-in-law to the king?That was the posture in which David served as Prince in the Kingdom. There is one thing I believe to be the most significant thing about David’s attitude and humility in all these roles.  He acted in each of these roles after being anointed the next King.  This was a span of over 20 years between being anointed by Samuel to becoming King.  David displayed tremendous humility by serving in multiple roles and in a few of them he personally served the one he would eventually replace.  David always knew his role; he did not attempt to take on the role of others nor did he arrogantly approach even the most humiliating of roles.  Because David knew his role, God could trust to put him in any position, because He would give God glory.  We can learn a great deal from David attitude towards serving.  It was in the many roles in which he humbly served; that he was certified and  qualified to serve in his final role as King (2 Sam 2:4) Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.

A Man After God’s Own Heart (2)

Psalm 51:1-4 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.

Last time we did a deep dive into David’s WHIP (Worship, Humility, Integrity and Prayer), and how these powerful character traits made him known as a Man After God’s Own Heart. Today we will dig a little deeper into what causes David to stand out, by comparing the Man made in God’s own image to the one chasing His heart. In a unique way, it becomes the perfect way to practically understand the difference in what God is looking for from us.

Adam was God’s first man, created in perfection, by perfection, honestly for perfection. He was given everything we need to succeed; relationship with God, provisions from the Father, living in an environment of blessings. However, temptation shaded Adam’s heart with doubt about God’s best for him. This caused Adam to eat of the tree that God explicitly told him not to. Disobedience was the same sin that caused Saul to lose his Kingdom prior to David taking over. Let’s see how this played out.

Adam

1. Sinned & Exposed His Wife: Eve ate and gave to Adam Gen 3:6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Here Adam ate the fruit, knowing it was wrong. Maybe he saw that after Eve ate the fruit, she did not immediately drop dead and it caused more doubt since the serpent had already planted the seed. But here he failed his wife by not obeying God despite his own thoughts. It was clear what God said, and regardless of how we feel, think or even doubt, God’s Word is always true. This failure would cause them unnecessary exposure; Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.  They were naked and free before eating the fruit, but now that they know they are naked, they are experiencing shame, embarrassment and fear.  They’d never been exposed to any of this before.

2. Adam Hid From Confrontation: Gen 3:8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. God knew they had sinned and when He came to speak with them, Adam hid from the confrontation, because Truth always confronts a lie; therefor God’s mere presence was confrontation to the sin they’d just committed. Like many of us, rather than deal with our failure or mistakes we (like Adam) look to hide.

3. He blamed Eve: Gen 3:12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”  Adam provided an example that I have (and many men have) used at times when failing as a husband/father/man. His actions failed God, his family and himself. Ultimately, his blame removed his ability to demonstrate leadership.  When given the chance to step up, he blamed his wife; the very one God gave him to complete him. 

4. Adam Attempted to Cover His Exposure (Nakedness): Adam’s sin exposed he and Eve to their nakedness, which led them to cover themselves with fig leaves (and insufficient covering). Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.  We know what this is like, we cover our exposure, embarrassment, shame and hurt with insufficient coverings all the time. We don’t use fig leaves, but we do use alcohol, drugs, food, clothes or other material things. All can distract from the real issue, but they have never truly been able to cover any of the pain or embarrassment.  We know today that we are covered by the Blood of Jesus, and His blood is the only thing that is a sufficient covering.

5. His Actions Negatively Impacted His Lineage: It was from this point on that every man would be born into sin. His actions sentenced his offspring into eternal condemnation, any father would have to consider that failure (Gen 3:22-24).

To the contrary; David’s life and decisions provided substance that gives us an insight to God’s heart.  David was far from perfect, but the way he responded to God was with honor and worship are as close to perfect as we might get. 

David:

1. Sinned & Exposed Uriah’s Wife: 2nd Sam 11:3 So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, “Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house. David’s sin did not just impact his family, but it also exposed Uriah’s family and caused significant consequences.  David’s lust and subjection to what many consider to be the first pornographic viewing (watching Bathsheba bathing atop the house).  Pornography has exposed many men, their families as well as other families to the world of lust and more.  The damage that has been done to so many families has impacted generations.  When your sin impacts other’s you become a parasite to be around and harmful to others. In the case of David, it would cost Uriah his life.

2. When Confronted by God He Took Accountability: God sent Nathan to David with the assignment of confronting his sin and bloodshed. It was interesting, God had different relationships with Adam and David. Adam only knew God’s voice; David had many others, but Nathan’s voice was the authority that David heeded. When Nathan confronted David, his response differed from Adam’s response to God; he acknowledged (2nd Sam 12:13 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”) and then he repented (Ps 51: 1-4 Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge).  Contrary to Adam’s confrontation, David stood up and took accountability; he did not point to others for blame but acknowledge that it was his failure and his responsibility alone.   

3. David Comforted the Wife He Failed:  (2nd Sam 12:24 Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife…).  David’s sin impacted not just Bathsheba the wife of Uriah but also their newborn son.  The loss of a child is every parents nightmare and here as a result of David’s sin, their son died.  But after this failure, David did not do what Adam did, blame his wife; but he comforted Bathsheba.  That word comforted is powerful; David consoled his wife, he empathized and sympathized with her.  A husband comforting his wife is not as simple as it might seem.  Comforting a wife must be learned for many men, it takes something that many men don’t strengthen.  Now imagine consoling your wife while feeling guilty and being in pain yourself.  This is a valuable lesson David is teaching.  Why?  Practically speaking, 80% of marriages end in divorce following the loss of a child.  David’s heart was to comfort his wife, the remained together during this devastating time and eventually had another son (one that would eventually follow David as King).   

4. David Exposed Himself and Worshiped: Like Adam, David’s sin left him exposed before God, Nathan, Bathsheba and even his servants.  2nd Sam 12:16 David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them.  David exposed himself to everyone around as he laid before the Lord in prayer and fasting on behalf of his sick child.  Historically, when David and others fasted, they tore their garments; the tearing of clothes occurs in sorrowful occasions but typically a King would not conduct himself in that manner.  However, it was the cloth David was cut from, as demonstrated when bringing the arc of the covenant back to Jerusalem where he praised the Lord right out of his clothes.  Here David was at his most desperate, yet when he knew his son had died; he got up; he cleaned up and he Worshiped (2 Sam 12:20 So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped..).  David did not hide during this time of exposure; and sometimes when a King is willing to go through his failure and pain openly many are able to learn from it. 

5. His Actions Produce Kings From His Lineage: 2nd Sam 12:24 Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the Lord loved him.  Although David failed God, his family and potentially his kingdom; his response was endearing to God.  While his sin resulted in the death of his son; God eventually blessed him with an heir to his throne.  Solomon would become a king and God would give him honor and riches so that there would not be anyone like him among all kings.  God would also make the promise to David that there would always be a king from his lineage on the throne (2nd Sam 7).  That lineage would also include Jesus; enough said. 

David was truly a Man after God’s own heart and this was displayed in the great times like killing the giant Goliath as well as in the darkest times like this death of, he and Bathsheba’s son.  So, we looked at a comparison of the responses of Adam and David, when they failed.  We see that it lines up perfectly with David’s WHIP (Worship, Humility, Integrity and Prayer), that we discussed last time.  David demonstrated more character than the man that was created in the very image of God; and demonstrating yet another reason why he was known as A Man After God’s Own Heart.

A Man After God’s Own Heart

Acts 13:20 After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ 23 From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior–Jesus

I truly believe every man wants to be great, and while being great means so many different things to different people, I believe it would be wise to hear the statement “A Man After God’s Own Heart,” and want to model your life after such a man.  David, the son of Jesse was the FIRST man which God selected to be king of Israel.  You are saying, that is not true; Saul was the first King.   I would agree with you that Saul was the first King, but he was not God’s choice.  You see God, himself wanted to be our one and only King (we’ll dig into that more later), however the children of Israel where not satisfied with His Kingship.  In 1 Samuel 8 we learn that the children of Israel desired to be “like all other nations,” when they requested that Samuel (who was the current Judge of Israel, a position given to the one God selected to be High Priest) give them a King to reign over them as his replacement.  This was displeasing to Samuel and God, so He let them have what they wanted in Saul.  It was literally only 5 chapters later that Samuel would inform Saul of his firing and soon replacement.  1 Samuel 13:14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

Let’s dig into this a little bit more.  There are two Truths we should know about God’s leadership: 

  1. God Will Never Force His Leadership on Man:  God provided leadership for the children of Israel for nearly 500 years, which included His desired leadership structure (Judges) and method of selection (God).  However, Israel determined that they wanted new leadership and they wanted to be like other countries.  This was because their current leader, Samuel, whom God placed in charge, was getting old and he was allowing his sons to lead the people.  Samuel’s sons were dishonest, they did not follow their father’s example, taking bribes and perverting justice.  Now my intentions today were not to find any correlation between our current administration (2020) and Samuel’s corrupted sons, so I will not (even if it certainly seems like there are definite similarities).  Anyway, God knew that His leadership was the best for Israel, but since they did not want it, He allowed them to choose something different.  The same thing is true for us today, we need God’s leadership and following Him is the best thing for us.  However, when we desire to do something different or when our way seems better than His; God is willing to allow us to make that decision. 
    As a parent, there have been many of times when my kids did not agree with my leadership and desired something else, but I was not willing to oblige them, yet God is so gracious that He does not hold our ignorance against us.  God is Omnipotent (all powerful) and Omniscient (all knowing), so unlike me as a parent, He knows the future and has the power to change it.  Because of that His ways will always be better than ours, even if He will not force us to follow Him. 
  2. God’s Criteria is Vastly Different Than Man’s:  There was a vast difference between Man’s selection for King and God’s.  The Lord sought for Himself a man after His own heart.  God allowed Saul to be King, but God sought for Himself, a man to hold this important office.  The word sought, in Hebrew the meaning of this term is to search out (by any method, specifically in worship or prayer).  We look at resumes, credentials and letters of recommendations when filling a position, God searches the heart; and what he found in David was a man after His own heart.  So, what did God see in David’s heart that so moved Him to make David King?  Here is the amazing thing about God; we’ve talked about is Omniscience and it was prevalent in this story.  Samuel is informing Saul about God’s decision, even though his replacement was not anointed for some time after this declaration.  Saul did not meet God’s criteria, but he satisfied man’s desires, he looked the part.  Yet, the entire time God had already selected who His first King would ultimately be. 
    We would later learn that it was David’s WHIP that made such an awesome impact of God.  Of course, it would seem that I’m trying to be “Cool Dad” a little bit, using an old term to seem cool (my kids would call me out for it). A WHIP is a term that in politics refers to an official of a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature.  So, this is a leader who is tagged with the responsibility of ensuring that everyone is following the same rules/laws.  But it has also simply come to represent a car. It has been said that it was used a long time ago when a whip would be used to steer the horse-drawn carriages.  Yet even more than a car, more of a status symbol, the coolness or expense of your car speaks of how one sees themselves or others.  Well what would I use that here, because it was the status of David’s heart that attracted God to him.  What then is David’s WHIP, and is it something that we should all desire?
    • Worship: David truly understood worship; the act of attributing reverent honor and homage to God.  He acknowledged all of God’s wonderful attributes, he received God’s love and told God how special he was.  If you don’t believe me, check out the numerous psalms that David drafted probably just after he’d sang them to the Lord; many we are familiar with and others are still to be explored.  David found out through worship, that it moved the heart of God, He is always on the lookout for it “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him (John 4:23).” 
    • Humility: The definition for humility is “freedom from pride or arrogance.”  That really captured David to a tee, he was willing to defer from pride even when he knew God had anointed him King.  Whether it was serving and honoring a father that did not deem him valuable or serving a King that he knew he would soon replace.  He was able to detach from pride and even when he was arrogant he was able to (95% of the time) immediately acknowledge his wrongs and be transparent with God (Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight). 
    • Integrity: David’s character was at times impeccable; he trusted and served God with the utmost distinction.  He responded to God given authority with such humility and professionalism; so much so, that while Saul attempted to kill him every time, he had an opportunity to harm, he refrained because of God’s word.  David did the right thing even when nobody was around.  David knew that continual assessment to maintain his integrity (Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting). Allowing God to challenge him and share with him those areas we typically try to hide, that takes courage and David demonstrated this constantly. I wish we all had David’s Integrity.
    • Prayer:  One thing David understood was where his help came from, (Psalm 121… I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help? 2 My help comes from the Lord).  The key to this understanding, however, was David knew how to access this help, he communicated with God more than anyone besides Jesus.  David was constantly in conversation with God, whether seeking guidance, giving praise or even cursing his current situation.  David consistently talked to God; he believed that he moved the heart of God with his worship, and moved the hand of God with his praise, yet his prayer life made it all possible.  David models the value of a powerful prayer life, the consistent communication with God opened his heart to receive direction and favor for the people he was charged to lead. 

We cannot be David, but we can use David’s example to help us move to the next level of relationship with God.  If we want to be men after God’s heart, we need to inspect our WHIP. How is your Worship, Humility, Integrity and Prayer??