David, the shepherd boy turned king, shows up in Scripture more than any other Old Testament character. Even the New Testament mentions him often. He appears in twenty-eight of the Bible’s sixty-six books, with more than nine hundred mentions.
It’s enough content for an entire book, with much we can learn from David and much God can teach us.
David, however, is best known for two events in his life: one a triumph and the other a failure.
The first story comes from early in his life when he kills the huge warrior Goliath. He takes down this giant of a man using only a slingshot and a single stone. But the projectile doesn’t kill Goliath, it only knocks him out.
David runs to the fallen Philistine hero and pulls out the man’s own sword. David uses it to kill him and then cut off his head.
David’s time spent protecting his father’s sheep from wild animals prepared him for this moment, but his faith in God gave him the victory.
The other well-known incident in David’s life is when he commits adultery with the beautiful Bathsheba.
He sees her. He wants her. He takes her. It doesn’t matter that he already has several wives, and she already has a husband.
She gets pregnant.
To cover the pregnancy, David calls back her husband, Uriah, from the front lines and tries twice to reunite him with his wife for the night. When this strategy fails, David sends Uriah back to the front lines along with a message for the commander.
The communiqué is a plan to ensure Uriah’s death.
The plan succeeds. David marries Bathsheba, but their baby dies.
From a moral perspective, this is the lowest point in David’s life. He commits adultery and murder. Yet David repents to restore his relationship with God.
A third element of David’s life, however, stands out as even more noteworthy. When Samuel confronts King Saul for his disobedience, Samuel confirms that Saul’s kingdom will end, and another will replace him.
Samuel says that God has sought a man after his own heart and appointed him to rule the people. This man is David.
Much later, Paul confirms this fact when speaking to the people in Pisidian Antioch, stating that God said, “I’ve found David, a man after my own heart. He’ll do everything I want him to do.”
Twice, the Bible refers to David as a man after God’s own heart. This may be the highest honor anyone could ever receive.
Are we a person after God’s own heart? What might we do to move closer to this outcome?
[Read David’s story in 1 Samuel 16 to 2 Samuel 24. Discover more in Acts 13:22.]
Learn about more biblical characters in Old Testament Sinners and Saints, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover. Get your copy today.
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.