“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 fulfil all my will.” -Acts 13:22
David was an intense and complex man. Looking at him honestly, I see someone both beautiful and terrible. David can not be described with only complimentary adjectives and safe soft pastel colors. He was too large a human being to be rendered so incompletely. David was far too alive, and the God he emulates so vividly is too.
My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. Psalm 57:7
The Psalmist was intensely in love with God. He loved God with the passion of a young man who has seen the woman of his dreams for the first time and with the knowledge of an old man who has been married to her for fifty years. He was unafraid of God, and he opened his whole heart to the Lord, exposing the need, the aches, the pain, the fears one only exposes to someone they trust implicitly. He chased after God like the waves chase the shore, crashing into it over and over and over, never satisfied they are close enough.
Sometimes parents cover up portions of art that they deem inappropriate for innocent eyes, in order to protect their children. We do this with God, as well. We cover him up in doll clothes or take a Sharpie and blacken out the parts of Him that are a little too real for Sunday School. David didn’t own a Sharpie, and his faith was too honest to require one. He wanted to know God completely; he wanted to know His love and understand His rage.
David was a bard and a musician, a lover and a killer, a king, a patriot, and a terrorist, a shepherd and a sinner, a son, a father and a friend. When David loved, he loved without regard for anything but the objects of his affection. When he went to war, he was bloody and merciless. His love and his fury seemingly knew no bounds.
“The Nathan said unto David, “Do all that is in thine heart; for God is with thee.” -1 Chronicles 17:2
He had a profound respect for law and justice and honor, unless they prevented him from getting something or someone he wanted. As Israel’s greatest king, he wielded great power. He was self-centered, cruel and vain. He was also outlandishly generous and gentle. His unbridled humanity had both beautiful and horrific effects on those he loved.
David’s heart seemed a bottomless pit of grief, violence and anger at times, yet at other times, it was a geyser of joy, hope and love. He had huge miraculous successes and horrible failures. David knew despair and profound regret. David had to leave the greatest desire of his heart to his son, because he knew his own hands were too bloody to perform the task.
It seemed everyone felt either intense love or profound hatred toward him (sometimes, even both extremes at once), but never ever did his presence in someone’s life induce apathy. He pulled the fullest emotions out of everyone with which he came in contact.
“…The Lord hath sought a man after His own heart…” 1 Samuel 13:14a
The only predictable thing about David was this: his heart was always overflowing, always a bit too full…
…just like God’s.