In 2 Samuel 2:1, it is written that “David inquired of the Lord…”. We see in 1 Samuel 23:2-4 and 30:8, David’s constant habit was to seek the Lord’s will about everything. In 2 Samuel 5:17-25, we read of two battles against the Philistines in which David sought the will of God. The second time, the Lord told him to change his strategy and to attack them from the rear. Each time the Lord changed the strategy. David was a man of war, but he always got his strategy from the Lord and that was why he always won. When there was a famine in the land, he asked the Lord why there was a famine (2 Samuel 21:1).
There were, however, some matters on which he did not seek the Lord’s will. Three examples of that are:
- when he got married to six wives (2 Samuel 3);
- when he called Bathsheba to his palace (2 Samuel 11) and
- when he took a census of Israel (2 Samuel 24). And for all these failures, he paid a very heavy price. But whenever he waited on the Lord for guidance, he never went astray. This is a lesson and a warning for all of us.
He was a man after God’s own heart, but he failed badly too. The description of his failures also encourages us because we learn there that God can use people who have failed. The failures of God’s servants described in the Bible encourage us much more than the description of their successes – because we all have failed the Lord on numerous occasions too. We all blunder and fail and do foolish things, especially when we are young – because when we are young, we are full of zeal but have very little wisdom. We do and say so many things in a very unwise way in our youth. But God is merciful. He picks up people like us who have failed, and still makes us men and women after His own heart.
The men of Judah came and anointed David king over the house of Judah first. Later on, he was anointed king over all Israel (5:3-5). He was 30 years old when he became king over Judah. And he had to wait for another 7½ years, before he ruled over all Israel. So he had to wait for more than 20 years in all, before God fulfilled His promise to him. His waiting period was almost as long as Abraham’s! But David waited patiently. We are called to follow the examples of such men who through faith and patience inherited God’s promises. David never grabbed the throne for himself. He waited for God to give it to him in His own time. If only he had adopted the same attitude of not grabbing when it came to Bathsheba, how different his story would have been.
If you want to be a man after God’s own heart, learn not to grab. Jacob was a grabber, and as long as he was a grabber, he could not become Israel. Children are born into the world with their fists closed. If you put your finger into a baby’s hand, he will grab your finger immediately. As he grows up, he learns to grab toys and many other things. That is man’s nature – grabbing things for himself. We spend all our lives grabbing things for ourselves. We grab position, honour, money, and many other things. Jesus was different. He never grabbed anything for Himself. He fists were not closed. His palms were always open towards all people ; finally He opened His palms to be crucified on Calvary too. That is the example for all of us to follow. Yield. Give up your rights. Give to others and God will give back to you in abundance. God Himself will give you a ministry, a position and everything else you need – if only you can wait for His time. It is far better to get things from God than to grab them ourselves. Jacob did not have to grab the birthright, by deceiving his father. He could have waited for God to give it to him – like David did. And God would have given it to him. We express our lack of faith in God every time we grab something.
Suppose you are attracted to a young man or woman, whom you want to get married to. You could begin to think like this: “If I don’t grab her/him quickly, somebody else will get her/him.” That is unbelief. If you trust in God, you won’t be impatient and grab. Instead, you will say, “Lord, what You have reserved for me, I will definitely get. No-one can marry a person whom you have reserved for me.” The same principle applies to any ministry that God may have planned for you. No-one else can grab that. God will lead you into that ministry, if you wait on Him.
Learn to trust God and never complain against people. If God makes you wait for 20 years, wait. You will become a much better leader at the end of that time. As we saw, Saul and Solomon never learnt to wait for anything. They were born into comfort and lived without any trials and pressures. I feel sorry for anyone whose life is so comfortable and easy, that he has no trials or pressures. It’s the one who has faced rejection from men, to whom God gives a ministry.