Last week, I posed a question often overlooked and ignored; how's your heart? This week, I want to follow up by highlighting a figure in the Scriptures who was known for his heart - David, the most notable king in Israel's history.
David was known for the interior of his being more than the exterior (even though 1 Samuel tells us on more than one occasion that he was a good-looking dude). When chosen as the next king of Israel to follow on the heels of Saul, God instructed Samuel (the prophet and judge who anointed David) not to focus on David's appearance. God says to Samuel, "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Sam 16:7)
Throughout his story, David was known as a "man after God's own heart.” That doesn't mean David was perfect. He certainly wasn't. Nor that he was never led astray by following his heart. He certainly was. However, David does serve as a good example in that when confronted about the deceitfulness of his heart, he was quick to examine it.
In many of the Psalms he wrote we find examples of David examining his heart. He writes,
Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. (Ps. 4:4)
Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind. (Ps. 26:2)
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Ps. 32:5)
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Ps. 51:10)
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23-24)
In these verses we see David doing the following:
1. David invites God to examine his heart. David knows as we said in last week's post, that our hearts are deceitful. Which means our own hearts can deceive us. Therefore, when examining our hearts, we need help from the Lord to show us what's really going on in our hearts.
In order to invite God into the examination process, we need to have proper beliefs about God. We need to know and believe that God is for us not against us. That when God reveals the deceitfulness in our own heart it's not for the sake of saying I told you so or for the purpose of condemnation, but rather redemption. God seeks to illuminate our sin so that He can help us eliminate it from our lives. Therefore, there is no fear in inviting God to examine our hearts.
2. David confesses & repents. David owns up to what's going on inside him. I love the saying, "God is so real, He'll only meet you where you really are." Meaning that in order for us to have an authentic relationship with God, and for God's power to be released in our lives, we first have to be honest about what's going on.
There's no reason to hide from God or pretend. He knows. When God approached Adam and Eve hiding in the garden and asked, "Where are you?" it wasn’t because He didn't know. He wasn't asking the question for the sake of information. God knew exactly where and why they were hiding. His question was more about providing an opportunity for them to confess and repent.
David writes in Ps. 32 that withholding confession causes turmoil in our souls. But when we own up and come clean it brings freedom and relief.
3. David preaches to his own heart. David understands the power of a good sermon. Therefore, he's quick to speak/preach to himself. Paul Tripp often says, "The most influential person in your life is you because you are continually talking to yourself all day long. The question is, what are you saying/proclaiming to yourself?”
David, in Psalm 103, encourages himself to remember the goodness and faithfulness of God (v1-2). That God is slow to anger and abounding in love (v8). We need those daily and regular reminders because we are so quick to forget.
The confessions of David paint an inviting picture with regard to the practice of examining your heart in the presence of God. It's an exercise that draws you closer to God and increases your intimacy with Him.
So, how's your heart? Be honest with yourself. Invite God into the process. You might be surprised how He responds.