After His heart
Having completed my first month on board the 'Operation
Mobilisation' missionary / literature ship, the MV Doulos, I have had to sit
down and drastically overhaul my approach to each day. At home, my schedule
included three meals to the day, the washing, cleaning, vacuuming, supervising
the childrens' schoolwork, and a little office work. If I was lucky, I would be
able to fit in a visit from someone, but only if I really worked hard and that
was when I thought people were a very high priority in my life.
Upon arrival on the ship, I was very excited with the amount
of time in the day that I now had. The children were at ship school, the meals
are prepared up in the galley and are ready for us three times a day - with no
dishes attached (oh happy day), and the washing, cleaning and vacuuming are
minimal because of the size of our cabin. What was I going to do with all this
time? I asked the Lord to give me wisdom as I started to integrate into the ship's
programmes. (God's wisdom is very necessary here because there is so much to
do on board that I could very easily overcommit myself to the detriment of our
My Australian next-door neighbour, Bronwyn, asked if I would
like to lead a Bible study called "A Heart Like His -– Seeking the Heart of
God Through a Study of David" (by Beth Moore) and after some thought about it,
said that I would. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that this study has
turned up right now.
Out of all the fascinating Bible characters that God uses to
teach us different things, David has always grabbed my attention. The blurb on
the back says, "In this study David will make you laugh and cry. He will
delight and disappoint you. He will make you want to be just like him at times
and nothing like him at others...." Yet, this is the man of whom the Lord said
in Acts 13:22b -– "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine
own heart, which shall fulfill all my will."
I have found many interesting comparisons in this study and
am gratefully applying them to my new life because I am no longer dealing with
ordinary activities but rather extraordinary ones. The various outreach
programmes that we have, the intensive style of living on the ship, the sheer
stress of always being with other people, requires and sometimes even demands,
that I spend as much time of the day with the Lord as I can. Is this being super
spiritual? Some might feel that but if you have ever experienced trying to help
someone to fill up their spiritual tank and your own is empty, you will
understand the helplessness that results.
David was a man who appeared to be constantly in contact with
God. The few recorded times that he relied on his own strength were also the
times that he fell in error or sin. God placed significant people in his life to
assist and encourage him but always required first place in David's life and
as seen from the Psalms and other passages in the Bible, this was where David
wanted Him to be.
Two characters in his life, Saul and Jonathan, were
incredible pictures of the wrong way and the right way to deal with God. Saul's
election to kingship was in response to a wrong desire by the people who wanted
a leader that they could see. His subsequent behaviour was often along the same
lines as his election -– wrong! He wouldn't wait on the Lord or follow His
directions and because of it, he lost the kingdom and his life through
disobedience. That's a high price to pay!
His son, Jonathan, on the other hand, had a very different
relationship to the Lord. He was totally convinced that "Nothing can hinder
the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few", and went on to demonstrate
the power of God through two people in 1 Samuel 14:1-52. His obedience to God brought
him the blessing of God but unfortunately, his father's wrong decisions were
largely a cause of Jonathan's own death as well. This reminds me of the fact
that God's decision to allow us to make our own choices -– either good or bad
-– costs Him dearly and yet His grace is such that He still allows us to choose
even when those choices may be breaking His heart. What an amazing God!
The book of Samuel goes on to describe David as brave, a
warrior, well-spoken, handsome and a musician. His love of the Lord attracted
people to Him and because he trusted the Lord implicitly in times of trouble,
God's protection was very much upon him.
How sad to see that when David had been king for awhile, he
made a few bad decisions, without consulting the Lord as he usually did. The
consequences of these decisions were tragic but the Lord's grace, once again,
was amazing. When David would repent, God would forgive and restore him and then
carry on in the same close relationship that they had always had. That's not
to say that hard things didn't happen. The Bible tells us that the process of
sowing and reaping is still in effect and because David knew that God was just
and loving, when the child that he was desperately fasting and praying for died,
his trust in God was such that he knew justice had been done -– not vengefully
but in accordance with God's nature -– fairy and loving. David then arose,
washed himself and ate because he was completely convinced of God's love
towards him and never did he see the Lord let him down!
It just hit me suddenly the other day that we, as parents,
teach and train our children to become more and more independent as they grow
older and yet this is the exact opposite to God's way. He wants us to grow
more and more dependent on Him as we grow older because He knows that it is
through Him that we will have exciting and joyful lives and this is a lesson
that David learned early on and carried on learning throughout his life.
When I get to Heaven, David will be one of the first people
that I would love to see (after my relatives of course) and sit down and talk
with. I believe that as I have been blessed by his life on earth, so I will be
blessed by his life in Heaven.
May the Lord bless you as you, like David, seek "a heart