For King Saul, for most men, our identity is formed by our outward accomplishments and achievements. Our identity is the way we define ourselves or how we measure what we define as success or failure. This is one of, if not the most important issues of life—how we define our identity. We have been taught since our childhood to define success in light of our work, our position, and our paycheck. As a pastor and counselor I spend hours each week listening to the battles of men’s lives. Rarely do I meet a man who has found a definition of his identity in anything less than how he is scoring on the success track of his job, his marriage, or his 401k. Thus, his life is as unpredictable as the spring time in the Rockies. One day he’s up and the next day’s he’s down. One day is sunshine and the next a blizzard.
David has been running from Saul for almost seventeen years. David, with none of the benefits of Saul—no position of power, no home, no prestige, and a reputation before men as an outlaw—never lost his core identity. Through all of the bloodshed and betrayals, the battles and disappointments, David has stayed true to his heart for God. The very first description given, at the beginning of our journey of his life is a man after God’s own heart. What the Lord sought for, way back so many years before, the radical description of David from God to Samuel hasn’t changed: “The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people.” (1 Samuel 13:14)
David’s paradigm for his life is in being loved by God. David’s core identity is a heart to heart love relationship with God. And this description of David’s heart is not just the biographical sketch of the beginnings of David’s infamous story. Even after all of the shenanigans of David’s sinful choices, some one thousand years later, he is described this way by Paul, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all of My will.” (Acts 13:22) David’s entire life was framed in this core identity of being loved by God.
David’s life is a radical pursuit of God’s heart. Even with the disastrous choices and the magnificent mistakes he will make, the Bible still describes David as a man who related to, identified with, and pursued the love of God, the heart of God. David’s core identity was in being beloved. David’s core reality was his intimate relationship with God’s heart. We observe David in all his authenticity in this beautiful poem,
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)
Does your heart fear? Are you confident? How do you define your identity? More on this later.
On the road,