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God's Heart, God's Man, God's Ways, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
May 19, 2022 7:05 am

God's Heart, God's Man, God's Ways, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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Today on Insight for Living. A guy like David could be seen with qualities and used of God. Few characters have captured the imagination of Bible readers quite like David. He was only a shepherd boy, but one day this unlikely young man became Israel's celebrated king. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll invites us to explore David's surprising ascent into prominence. It's a story that reads like a novel with twists and turns in the plot, including poor choices that reflected his humanity.

But in the end, this flawed character will restore our confidence in the providence and grace of God. Chuck titled this series David, a man of passion and destiny. The extraordinary life of David began in the dusty sheep pens of Judah. It ended with the completion of a 40-year reign as the greatest king in Israel's history. In between, the man killed the giant Goliath, ran as a fugitive from Saul, composed so many of the majestic Psalms, and expanded the borders of Israel.

Remarkable achievements. But none of this would have happened without the work God did behind the scenes as he prepared the kingship for the one Samuel said was a man after God's own heart. I chose a passage from 1 Samuel 8 to begin this study of David because I want you to see how God works to prepare a place for us long before we have any inkling of what he's doing.

He always has our best interests in mind. So with that in mind, turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Samuel 8 as we read of the Israelites who ask God's prophet Samuel to anoint them a king. Verses 1-5, And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second Abijah. They were judging and bear Sheba.

His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and they said to him, Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations. God then directed Samuel how to answer their request. We read in verse 9, Now then listen to their voice.

However, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them. But the people insisted on their own way, despite Samuel's warnings. Drop down to verse 19 through verse 22, we read, Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel. And they said, No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles. Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord's hearing. The men said to Samuel, Listen to their voice and appoint them a king. So Samuel said to the men of Israel, Go, every man, to his city.

This is Insight for Living. For resources designed to help you dig deeper into today's topic, go to And now let's continue Chuck Swindoll's message titled God's Heart God's Man God's Ways. This evening, we began a new series of studies which are biographical in nature. And they have to do with the study of the life of David. Now, there are a lot of very well known characters in Scripture. It may surprise you to know that more is written about David than any other biblical character. Abraham has some 14 chapters dedicated to his life, and so does Joseph. Jacob has 11, Elijah has 10. Have any idea how many are dedicated to David? 66, if my counting is correct. Not counting 59 references in the New Testament to his life. Think of that.

Wow. A lot of material is revealed in Scripture about this man of God. And you would expect that because he is called in the Bible on two occasions, a man after God's own heart. Now when you hear those things about how much is said regarding David and the fact that he was a man after God's heart, you could get the feeling that he is some sort of super phenomenal person in his flesh. But just to set the record straight, I want to begin the series, not in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament passage of 1 Corinthians chapter 1, because I don't want you to have the idea that he was sort of some kind of special person who had in himself certain qualities that God just had to use because he was so great he became the king.

As a matter of fact, quite the contrary. In 1 Corinthians chapter 1, the context has to do with the way different people viewed Paul, or better than that, the Gospel. Some who were readers of Paul's letter were Jewish, and they were looking for a miracle, for a sign that proved the man was of God. Some of his readers were Greeks, and the Greeks, according to verse 22, were in search for wisdom. Now you've got to understand the Greek mind. The Greeks of that day were very impressed with the surface impressions. The Greeks looked for brains and or brawn, and they were impressed with what they saw. Whether your inner life was of value really meant little to the Greek.

What was important is that you were bright or you were strong, very athletic, you looked good, and then they were impressed. Now Paul's whole thrust in the first chapter is, I'm not coming to you with wisdom in the flesh, brilliance, nor am I coming to you with any kind of impressionable physique. I come in the power of God, and there's a reason. Read with me now as I look at verse 26 and following of chapter 1. Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble.

That's a little bit of a slam, by the way. Paul says, look around, Corinthians, you won't find many who are very impressionable, or that is those that will impress others. Next verse, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world, and the despised God has chosen. The things that are not, that he might nullify the things that are, the reason that no man should boast before God. That is a principle we always forget because we're a lot like the Greeks. We look for things that will cause boasting.

We are terribly enamored of the surface. We want the individual to be exceedingly bright or exceedingly attractive when God says my choices aren't on that basis. In fact, as I read part of it from the Berkeley Bible, it is even clearer, go down to your verse there, verse 28, God has chosen the world's low born and contemptibles and nobodies, I love that one, nobodies in order to annihilate what amounts to something so that all humanity may be boastless in the presence of God.

Isn't that beautiful? God has chosen nobodies to turn them into somebody. Now that's the story of the life of David. Let me give you the principle and I want you to write it down and I want you to be reminded of it all through the message tonight.

Here it is. God's choice of a person is contrary to human reason. Now I have, of course, a reason for saying that. God's choice of a person is contrary to human reason. The reason I want to say that at the beginning is because I want all of the people here tonight and all that may hear this message in years to come, to know that you're no different in essence than David, nor he different from you. There was nothing about David on the surface that impressed God and caused God to say, wow, that is my man.

God, as we will see tonight, looked for and chose an individual, in this case David, who really had nothing very impressive about him on the surface. If I could do anything to change my mentality, that's the one thing I would change. I would like to be able to see as God sees. I would like to be able to block out of my mind the initial impression, the surface, and be able to immediately strike at the heart of someone so that I might know their motive. Wouldn't that be a threatening thing to know that someone was able to see you like God could see you? I could be able to see the motive and know whether they really meant what they're saying or not. I could see beyond the facade and see that there's not really a heart for God.

There's just a religious surface. I could know if a person happened to be dishonest when he was trying to appear honest. I could know if he was a phony when he was trying to look authentic. I could spot the car salesman.

Wouldn't that be a relief? I could see the person who says, I really love Christ, but he doesn't. And I could call a spade a spade. The Lord says, my choices are not according to human reason that no person should boast before me.

Now, I want to give you hope tonight. We're not going to dig right into how God began to use David this evening. We're going to dig into his times, and we're going to illustrate that one principle about David. He didn't look any different than any other Jewish boy his age at the time he was chosen, but he had character, and that's what God saw.

You know what? I think if we could have been the neighbors of Jesse living in the farmhouse next to their house on the Judean hillside, we may not have even known the name of the youngest son. I mean, his dad didn't even think of him when Samuel asked, is this all your sons? And Jesse rubbed his beard and thought, oh, yeah. Now, there's the baby who is out in the field keeping those sheep. And well, Samuel said, go and fetch him.

Samuel's from the south. That's why he said, go and fetch him. And so Jesse went and he got him, and suddenly, of all things, this little runt, this nobody became somebody.

But you and I would not have even been impressed by the fellow that they brought in from the field who smelled like the sheep. I want to show you something. 1 Samuel 16, 12. We're going to sort of hop, skip, and jump tonight through different sections of the Bible to show you some things about this choice that God made. But I want to land on the only verse in all the Bible that tells us about his appearance.

Okay? The only verse that talks about his appearance. Verse 12 chapter 16 of 1 Samuel. So he sent and brought him in. Now, that's the he is Jesse and the him is David.

The father sent and brought David in. This is the only description, and there are three things we're told. He was ruddy, with beautiful eyes, and a handsome appearance. Well, you read that and you think, what else do you need?

That's not bad to start right there, you know. You know what it means? It means he was redheaded, most likely. Ruddy suggests red. Fair complexion. Maybe bronzed from the sun. He had sparkling eyes and he was good looking.

Phyllis Prokop writes in her book Conversations with Giants an interesting thought. David, where are your press agents? I read page after page of your acts, your deeds, and David, there's only one sentence to describe your physical appearance. When you came before Samuel, you were described with these words. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And was handsome. Indeed, how many of us will buy a ticket to see a man of whom we have no more particulars than this?

We need life-size prints these days. I like that. Can you lift one jaunty eyebrow? David, you may not understand my point of view. You see, I live in a world where young men with certain looks about them are reverenced as gods. David, perhaps you should get a new agent. Your public knows only that you walked as a giant before God.

We don't even know how you combed your hair. Isn't that quaint? I mean, 66 chapters and all we know is he was red-headed, had bright eyes, and he was good looking. You know what that tells me?

It tells me that God means what he says when I look at the heart. Hey, that gives hope to people that are big as a blimp. Or, you know, 6 feet 8 and they're 12 years old.

And they're girls. No? I mean, there's no reservation. God can use any of us. You don't have to be straight A's. Isn't that great?

Say amen all at once, you know? Yeah, I thought you'd like that. You don't have to come out at the valedictorian. A girl in our high school as a valedictorian wore pigtails and I never will forget tying her pigtails the night of the graduation to the back of the chair. And so she stood up to get her thing and she went... You do a lot of dumb things when you graduate toward the last of your class and she graduates first. You know, you're going to get back one way or the other. You have to be valedictorian.

She can use any of us. That's the beauty of this message tonight. That's the joy of the message on David. He was nothing more than a shepherd whose name wasn't even known in the community. And we've got him revered as some kind of plastered saint with a halo and all he was was a kid not even 20 years old who was picked out of the field from following the sheep. And God said, you've got what I'm looking for, boy. And he anointed him with oil. I tell you, I am deeply encouraged to know that a guy like David could be seen with qualities and used of God.

And so can every person here tonight, even without a superb track record. Well, let's go back 40 years, okay? Let's go to chapter 8. 1 Samuel chapter 8.

I want to show you some background. I know that most people hate history, but you've just got to get a bite of it to appreciate where David was, so I'll try to make it interesting. To quote G. Frederick Owen in his book, Abraham to the Middle East Crisis, there's one sentence that I've lifted that just described the times the people were on a long drift from God. That was the world into which David was born.

Let me give you the backdrop that led up to the people's choice. The judges were dead. Eli came and he did the job as the high priest and then he got old and rickety and he died and he left two sons that hated God. So they weren't qualified and then he had adopted a boy named Samuel who was the son of Hannah and he was a man of God, but his boys weren't as he grew up and had children and now Samuel was old and people were on a long drift from God.

They had heard about the days in which Israel was really a great nation. They had read the books that talked about Eli and those great early days of Samuel and the zenith of his career, but listen, they knew nothing of it personally. You know what they knew? They knew compromise.

They knew disobedience. They knew the profile of aged Samuel. In fact, it says in verse one that when he was old, he appointed his sons judges over Israel and you'd think, wow, now we're going to move on. Look at the sons of Samuel. It names them in verse two and it says they didn't walk in his ways in verse three. They turned aside after dishonest gain.

They took bribes and perverted justice. That's the legacy that Samuel left. By the way, does that haunt you dads like it does me? You know the only legacy we have that will live on as reflections of our character? Our kids. Well, that'll haunt you. Oh, my kids.

They are reflections of my investment. Kurt and Carissa and Colleen and Chuck, that's what I provide for society to witness as the works of my hands before God that live on with my name. Samuel lived and got ready to die and here were boys that just brought reproach to the name of Jehovah.

Think of that. So the people were disillusioned, frankly, and they had three reasons for wanting a king. They're given to us in verse, well, let's see them. They had a summit meeting at Rama, verse four, and they said there are three reasons, Samuel, we want a king. First, verse five, you have grown old.

Second, your sons don't walk in your ways. And third, we want to be like all the other nations. Verse five concludes, appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.

People have always wanted to be like everybody else. And we're tired of worshipping an invisible God. Everybody says, where's your king?

Oh, he's in the heavens. We want to have him on earth, Samuel. We want to be like all the other nations. Look at the Philistines, God. Look at their king and the Moabites and the Jebusites and all the other ites. They've got all those kings and we don't have a king. We want to be like all the other nations. Interesting how believers want to be like everybody else because everybody's doing it. So they said, look, you're out to lunch. You're dying.

Your sons are out to lunch. We want to be like everybody else. And so Samuel was brokenhearted because they didn't say we want to wait on God to provide what we need. You find a man, we'll find a man and we want to put him in office.

Well, it broke his heart. Now, if you're a student of the Old Testament, you know that Saul, oh, what a willful man, tall, dark, handsome, all of the externals that you would expect in a king. That's how people choose kings. That man before long became thin skinned, hot tempered, angry, and even was given to seasons of depression and murder and he died of suicide.

Now that's the people's choice. We're getting a taste of what's in store as we venture into this biographical series. Chuck Swindoll titled this hallmark study, David, a Man of Passion and Destiny. To learn more about this ministry, visit us online at

If you've noticed that Chuck's voice sounds a little different in this study, that's because his study on David was originally presented many years ago. But it speaks to the privilege we have here at Insight for Living, and that is an archive of in-depth sermons that numbers in the thousands. To make the most of this study in David, I'll remind you that Insight for Living is pleased to offer the Swindoll Study Bible. It's a wonderful resource because Chuck has written summaries for each book in the Bible, including all the books he'll reference in this study on David. And the Swindoll Study Bible comes in a variety of book covers, giving you the opportunity to choose your favorite style. To purchase the Swindoll Study Bible, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or go online to slash store and follow the simple instructions. Then as we continue to pray for the safety of the Ukrainians, we'll remind you that Insight for Living has been speaking into this part of the world for many years. In addition to having field pastors in strategic countries surrounding Ukraine, we've also translated Chuck's Bible teaching into languages such as Polish and Romanian. These ministries are part of our long-range strategic plan to make disciples for Jesus Christ in all 195 countries of the world.

We call it Vision 195. When you give a gift, you're helping us provide Chuck's teaching in your own country, and a portion is applied to going beyond our borders as well. So thank you for supporting the ministry of Insight for Living. To give today, call us.

If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888 or give online at slash donate. In March 2023, Insight for Living Ministries is hosting an unforgettable journey to Israel. Carefully plan to deepen your understanding of the Bible and draw you closer to God.

Here's Chuck Swindoll. For thousands of years, no place has been more meaningful to God's children than the land of Israel. The rugged landscape reminds us to find refuge in God alone. The fertile valleys invite us to follow our shepherd. Jerusalem's position at the very center of the world announces the good news of Christ to every nation. And now you can see Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries March 5 through the 16th, 2023. Every time I visited the Holy Land, I've returned home with a refreshed heart for God and a renewed vision for the world.

Really, I mean it every time. And so I want you to have the same life-changing experience. To learn more, go to slash events or call this number 1-888-447-0444. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his study on the life of David, Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, God's Heart, God's Man, God's Ways, was copyrighted in 1977, 1988, 1997, and 2009, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-16 20:39:50 / 2023-04-16 20:48:56 / 9

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