As the apostle Paul was tracing God’s scarlet thread of redemption from the Jewish patriarchs to Jesus while preaching in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisdia (Acts 13:14ff), he quotes God’s description of David: “a man after My own heart who will do My will” (v. 22). What an astonishing description! What extraordinary praise, especially in a book devoid of flattery and hyperbole. As detailed in the books of First and Second Samuel, David was not sinlessly perfect; he was, however, sincerely passionate.
From Psalm 40 we learn that this man after God’s own heart was:
- Patient in his trials. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God; many will see it and fear and will trust in the Lord” ( 1-3). David looked to God with prayerful trust and confident expectation. The adverse circumstances of life—the horrible pit and the miry clay—began with a cry and ended with a song.
- Wholehearted in his faith. “Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (vv. 4-5). Faith in Jehovah was not one of David’s strategies for life; it was his strategy for life.
- Prompt in his obedience. “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart’” (vv. 6-8). Unlike his predecessor—King Saul—who thought that sacrifice was better than obedience (1 Samuel 15:22), David’s mindset was completely opposite.
If an inspired writer were to describe your life, could the phrases “patient in trials”, “wholehearted in faith”, and “prompt in obedience” be used with accuracy?