Our text is taken from the fifty-first Psalm, which was penned by King David after he was confronted with his sin by the prophet Nathan. The normally righteous king had taken another man’s wife to be his own, and then sent the woman’s husband to certain death in battle in order to cover up his transgression when she became pregnant (2 Samuel 11). It is an episode in the king’s life which I am sure he would rather us not know about — but it is recorded in God’s Word, and, as such, it will stand forever, a testimony to the frailty and depravity of man and our desperate need of a Saviour.
Elsewhere in God’s Word, David is held up as a shining example of how we ought to be, and is called a man after God’s Own heart. This, too, is recorded in God’s Word, and, as such, is forever settled in heaven.
But how can God recommend David to us as an example when he acted so wickedly?
The truth is, David was a man after God’s heart, not because he was perfect — David was a man after God’s heart because of his humility. With all of his faults, he had a soft heart toward God.
When Nathan confronted David in 2 Samuel chapter twelve, the king could have said “I do not need, nor do I want, a prophet like you,” and killed him — but he didn’t. He acknowledged his sin in brokenness and begged the Lord’s forgiveness. He humbled himself.
Here, then, is the key to being a man or woman after God’s heart — humility.
Dear reader, I ask you today to take reflection. Are you humble?
So many think that since they have never committed any sin so horrible as David, and since God loved David so much, then they must surely be okay. Somehow, we always seem to see the sins of others more clearly than our own. In fact, we rarely see our own sin. Unlike our text, our own sin is never before us. But the truth is, none of us is any good. The Word of God makes it very clear — there is none righteous, no, not one!
It is an interesting thing about wheat and tares. When tares mature they stand straight up, tall and proud. But if you’ve ever seen a wheat field ready to harvest, you know that when wheat matures, it bows down in humility.
Jesus said, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:30
Take a good look at yourself. Ask God to help you see yourself, and in particular, your sins. Are your sins ever before you, or are they never before you? Are you bowed down or are you standing tall? Are you a man or woman after God’s Own heart?
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:8-10