It is said in the Scriptures that David is a “man after God’s own heart.” What does that mean when it describes a man who messed up in so many ways during his life?
Many people have theories. But the longer I have read the Psalms, so many of which were penned by him, the more convinced I am of why we could use those words to describe David.
David pursued God. He seemed to be, quite literally, after (pursuing) God’s heart.
When he faced a giant, he prayed for God’s strength. When he faced enemies, he prayed for God’s deliverance. When he faced his sin, he prayed for God’s forgiveness. When he faced his blessings, he prayed thanks for God’s faithfulness.
Over, and over, and over again, no matter the circumstances, David pursued God.
And what a reflection this is of God, who, no matter the circumstances, pursues us.
We seem to be fond of creating barriers between ourselves and God. We assume our sin is too much, and so we don’t want to get into the presence of a holy God before we get it under control. We absorb the messages we hear over and over again that we are “less than” and not good enough, and so we figure God must feel that way too, and we stay out of his way. We are distracted by lists and entertainment and obligations, and before we know it, all our time is spoken for, and there is none left for us to be still, and listen, and seek the presence of our God.
David lived without a barrier.
In Psalm 54, when he faces an enemy, he prays for God to save him,
Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might. Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. – Psalm 54:1-2
And he doesn’t try to clean up his feelings about that enemy before coming to God. He prays his honest thoughts. He hopes for God’s vindication, and leaves the matter in God’s hands.
And, then, while still in the midst of the difficult circumstances, David commits,
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good. You have delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes. – Psalm 54:6-7
The freewill offering is a core expression of David’s faith. He is confident that nothing on this earth, trouble or enemies or the like, could keep him from participating in the practice. Nothing will keep David from pursuing the presence of God.
I went running yesterday. The first time in a long time. A very long time. It was slow and frustrating, but I showed up. I got out of bed, and I did it. I set aside time to pursue something that was important to me.
And as I ran (or maybe sauntered would be a better description), I thought about what it looks like to pursue God. To show up in His presence, over and over again. No matter our circumstances, no matter how pained or awkward or frustrated we feel, to do it. To pursue God as David did.
The sun was shining in the golden light of early morning. As I ran towards it, my headphones rang out with the anthem I needed. My heart sang along as my legs moved forward in rhythm.
“Light, Glorious Light I will go where You shine. Break the dawn, crack the skies Make the way bright before me. In Your light I will find All I need, all I need is You.”
- All Sons & Daughters
This is the pursuit that matters most.
This is my reflection on Psalm 54. Up next week: A guest post from the amazing Steve Wiens on Psalm 55.