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A man after God's own heart

"After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’" Acts 13. 22

There can be few, if any, figures from antiquity whose highs and lows, triumphs and defeats, flaws and virtues have been as minutely documented and analysed as David - Israel's greatest king-priest. From his "secret "anointing by the prophet Samuel, through the long years of guerrilla warfare, his victory over Goliath and his eventual accession to the throne, a picture emerges of a charismatic, multi-talented leader, with a gift for music which belies his formidable reputation as a warrior.

Yet David was not perfect. His flaws were arguably as deep as his virtues were sublime. They were the undoing of his personal and family life and caused strife in his kingdom where he could have secured peace. Yet two things counted in his favour: his humility and his faith. His humility enabled him to accept another prophet's condemnation of his sin against God and man, through his adulterous liaison with Bathsheba and his murderous dealings with her husband Uriah, which led to his confession and, true to form, found expression in one of the most moving Psalms in that collection (51). And his faith sustained his relationship with God.

David may have been Israel's "renaissance" king, from his military triumphs recorded in Samuel-Kings to his religious make-over in Chronicles. Yet his virtues anticipated his "greater son", whose surpassing glory would not only atone for his failings but would complete his vocation: to rule in a manner worthy of God's own shepherd.



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