How many people in scripture were described as being “a man after God’s own heart”? There is only one, and his name is King David.
But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.–1 Samuel 13:14
And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.–Acts 13:22
How was he different from other Godly men? Many men, like Caleb, followed God wholeheartedly (Num. 14:24), and were actually more faithful to the Lord than David throughout their lives. Two times the scriptures tell us that Daniel had “an excellent spirit” (Daniel 5:12, 6:3). The scriptures call Moses the meekest, most humble man on earth (Num. 12:3). Jesus said, “Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist”.
So, in what area was David set apart from everyone else?
Some would say that no one worshiped God like David did. We even have songs that refer to “dancing like David danced”. While David was a great worshiper, I’m not sure that anyone led a congregation or sang a more victorious song than Moses and Miriam did. When it comes to worship, their song has the distinction of being among the first and last songs listed in the scriptures. There is no doubt that David was a great worshiper, but many theologians also believe that at one time Lucifer was the greatest worshiper of God.
Let me share with you something outstanding about King David that you may have never considered before.
When it comes to personal enemies, Abel had Cain, Jacob had Esau, Joseph had his brothers, Moses had Pharaoh, but no man in the entire Old Testament had a more relentless and bitter enemy than King David did…No, it is not Goliath. That was momentary. This was far, far worse.
David was hunted relentlessly like an animal for at least seven long years. Some bible scholars estimate that he was stalked and pursued for 15 years. Now stop and think about that. Can you imagine the physical exhaustion, emotional depression, and mental paranoia that David must have suffered while being on the run for all that time? No one in the entire Old Testament came close to enduring the embittering marathon and struggle against an empowered and vicious enemy that David survived. No one in the Old Testament comes near to being a haunting, pursuing enemy like the evil King Saul. All other biblical enemies pale in comparison.
What you are about to read is, in my opinion, one of the most miraculous passages in the Old Testament. To me, it is as miraculous as the parting of the Red Sea. Listen to King David when he hears the news of the death of the most haunting enemy a man could have.
“Saul and Jonathan- in life they were loved and admired, and in death they were not parted. They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24“Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold.”–2 Samuel 1:23-24
When David was told that it was the men from Jabesh Gilead who had buried Saul, 5 he sent messengers to them to say to them, “The Lord bless you for showing this kindness to Saul your master by burying him.6 May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this.–2 Samuel 2:4-6
Where is the bitterness? Where is the bitterness? Where is the bitterness? Seven to fifteen years of being hunted like an animal!!! Where is the bitterness? This is a miracle.
THIS IS WHERE DAVID IS SHOWN TO HAVE A HEART PATTERNED AFTER GOD. No one forgave his enemies the way that David forgave. No one in the Old Testament had an enemy like Saul, and no one in the Old Testament ever proclaimed honor over their enemies like David did. Not only did David forgive Saul, he also forgave and showed great honor towards Abner, the man who slew his nephew Asahel. In addition, David showed no bitterness towards Absalom, the son who utterly betrayed him and had sex with David’s wives on the top of the temple (2 Samuel 16:22). The songs should be amended to include a lyric saying, “When the Spirit of the Lord moves in my heart, I’ll forgive like David forgave.
David was shown mercy where others have been punished more harshly. Why? Jesus said, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.–Matthew 6:14
You can’t worship God fully with unforgiveness in your heart. David was a worshiper of God only because he had a heart of forgiveness.