• Joseph Durso

David: A King with a Heart for God - Part 3

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely was coined by the 19th-century British politician, Lord Acton. His thought carries the understanding that a man's fallen nature is made worse by the power he obtains. He was not the first to express this idea. However, the phrase was his own in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

Power has a corrupting influence, but God can neutralize its detrimental effects. God's ability to change a man's heart influenced by raw authority is depicted in king David. Unlike Saul, his predecessor, David's first and most important priority was the Lord God. He was a sinner and a flawed man, but his heart for the God of Israel is undeniable.

David is an interesting man because he was a poet, musically inclined, and undoubtedly a warrior. His quick temper should become clear to even a casual reader. His eye for the ladies removes him from Job's moral standard, who we are told made a covenant with his eyes so he might not look at a virgin (Job 31:1). Nonetheless, David's faith sets him far above most men with a characteristic of humble leadership.

First, he was anointed king by Samuel, but he never claimed his right to the throne during the fourteen years he had to run, literally for his life, from the rejected king Saul. Please make no mistake, David and his mighty men could easily have killed Saul and his soldiers (1 Chronicle 11).

Second, as a young man, he becomes incensed when he hears an uncircumcised Gentile taunt Israel and dishonor His LORD. Because he walked with God, he possessed heroic courage. When told by a king and a warrior that he could not fight Goliath, he replied. "When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him" (1 Samuel 17:34,35).

What kind of a man risks his life for an animal he could rightly eat. A dog lover is one thing, and maybe he loved sheep, but take on a lion and a bear, really? It should move us to tears, to think that one lamb was of such value to David. In John 17, according to Jesus, He lost none, even at the cross's offense but the son of perdition.

My dear readers, fear comes naturally to all people. Traveling through a state park, we came upon a bear. I stepped out of the car, lost a sense of my surroundings, and made my way toward it to snap a picture. Then to my surprise, it swatted a log, and pieces of wood chips flew out of it like it had been struck by a chain saw. I immediately headed back to the car. The fear that caused Jesus to sweat blood did not deter Him for one minute from the cross.

Third, David was a man who wrote lyrics and played music; he had to be introspective to a degree. He was a man who contemplated life and did not walk through it without a care beyond his selfish needs. A man who is not just religious but loves God has to be a moral man, even though imperfect.

Finally, for this article, on two separate occasions, David had the opportunity to take Saul's life. Saul was a man who tried to kill him for no other reason than jealousy and to protect his place as king. David saved Israel and maybe Saul's life when he killed Goliath.

Nevertheless, He would not strike down the Lord's anointed, though circumstances made it very easy on two separate occasions. He would not listen to the counsel of his men over the voice of his conscience. He honored God's will at his own expense. As a leader, a warrior, a general, and an anointed king, he was humble and a lover of God. By God's grace, he was not average but obtained an exceptional character as a leader under God's authority.

By God's grace, David was such an exceptional leader that men considered losers were transformed into winning warriors like himself. (See 1 Chronicle 11) "Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him" (1 Samuel 22:2).

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, except when God changes a man's heart, then amazing things can happen.

Concepts to Contemplate:

  1. A man changed by the Spirit of God is a well-balanced man. He can be soft and understanding or brave and powerful.

  2. Fear is familiar to us all, but when the Spirit of God comes upon a man, he could kill a lion if it is God's will.

  3. A man who focuses upon pleasing God is not likely to be unforgiving and treacherous.

  4. A man who loves God can go years without taking matters into his own hands.

  5. David was a shepherd by the family trade. All God's shepherds should learn their most significant lessons from the kind of humble, subservient leader that David was.