In the New Testament God says about King David, ‘I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ 1 These are strange words considering David’s adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah, one of his mighty warriors. 2 David also made another mistake that we often forget about: he took a census of the fighting men in Israel and Judah. 3
God was very displeased and sent a prophet to give David a choice of three punishments. David chose a plague and it killed 70,000 of the Israelites. When David realised the devastation, he was grieved. He asked the angel of the Lord to let the calamity fall on him and his family. The prophet Gad told David to build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite and the plague stopped.
At this point in David’s history, it looks as if he was shattered. His work in Israel was finished. What a tragedy for such a great man! Why did God recommend a ‘loser’ as a ‘man after my own heart?’ What changed? David understood that in a sense everything revolves around God. For him it meant a house for the Lord. He was not allowed to build it, but nothing prevented him from preparing for it.
That is why he said, ‘The house of the Lord God is to be here….’ 4 He realised his son needed help to build it, ‘My son Solomon is young and inexperienced and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendour in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.’ 5
Scripture says, ‘So David made extensive preparations [for the temple] before his death.’ 6
- He got the plans of the temple from God. 7
- He organised the Levites, the divisions of the priests, the singers, and the gatekeepers.
- He collected gold, silver, wood, and whatever would be needed in great quantities.
It is our opinion that God used the tragedy of David’s sins to turn his attention to the real reason he was on earth. He was a strong leader and victorious general, but God had a greater job for him: preparing for the building of the temple where God would put His Name.
The lesson for us:
- We often get distracted by the world with its many problems and the quest to survive.
- We often feel like failures, and not successful.
- We often make mistakes we regard as devastating.
That should not deter us. Look at David’s life. His sins devastated both family and country. Yet God highly recommends him. That is the grace and mercy of God. He changes failures into win-win situations: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.…’ 8
- Acts 13:22
- 2 Samuel 11
- 1 Chronicles 21:1; 2 Samuel 24
- 1 Chronicles 22:1
- 1 Chronicles 22:5
- 1 Chronicles 22:5b
- 1 Chronicles 28:19
- Romans 8:28