For the greater part of his life he was recklessly abandoned to God. At the same time, there were episodes in his life when he was simply reckless. His passions brought forth the purest worship lyrics of all time and caused him to make some of the worst mistakes recorded in the Bible. Yet, in all this, his revelation of being God’s beloved was foundational to his trusting and praising God. Even in his weakness he knew that he was totally forgiven, delighted in and absolutely dear to God. It was knowing these truths that enabled him to establish and maintain a deepand unshakable intimacy with God. David understood that God did not see his spiritual immaturity as rebellion. He knew that the Lord does not focus on outward appearance, but sees the movements of the heart. Samuel prophesied this truth over David when he anointed him as Israel’s king. David went on to build his life and reign on the basis of this revelation.
The LORD said, “…for the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward
appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Through this Scripture we glimpse how differently God evaluates compared with man. God’s assessments are not based on human ability, but on the movements of our hearts before and toward Him. David had an unusual ability to receive God’s mercy because of his confidence in it. I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation… (Psalm 13:5) As a practical example, at the height of tensions with Saul, David fled to Ziklag, a small town in the land of Israel’s enemies, the Philistines. Eventually David found favor with the Philistines and was allowed to live with them for sixteen months. But it was a place of compromise. David finally repented, left Ziklag and returned to Israel. We can see David’s heart in the prayer he offered to God when he left that place of compromise: he still knew God delighted in him, even during that difficult season.
He delivered me because He delighted in me.
If God counted our wrongs against us without showing mercy, we would never last long in a relationship with Him. The very nature of walking with God hinges on His kindness and
grace to us.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, oh Lord,
who could stand? But there is forgiveness with
You, that You may be feared. (Psalm 130:3)
David knew God’s love, and because of this knowledge he grasped God’s mercy. Mercy is granted to our friends. God saw David as a friend. Knowing David’s struggles and failures, it is encouraging to see how God’s affections were poured out on him, even in times of his spiritual immaturity. David had a free spirit because he knew that his deepest desires could not be obstructed by man.
If our internal life in God is where our greatest longings are fulfilled, no man can block them and all human threats and temptations for favor are minimized. We must “get into” this vast ocean of endless Divine love, in which the enjoyment of God is of paramount importance.
The inexhaustible sea of Divine love is declared in these passages, as well as others.
…that you…may be able to comprehend…
what is the width and length and depth and
height—to know the love of Christ which passes
knowledge… (Ephesians 3:18)
The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn
you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
The fulfillment of this longing begins only as we truly understand the finished work of the Cross. God certainly forgives us, but He also enjoys us. He truly desires our fellowship. This is remarkable. After we first understand what Jesus did on the Cross, then we seek to understand why He did it. He desires and delights in us for reasons bigger than anything we can secure by our dedication or achievements. The extravagant emotions God feels for us fulfill our longing to be enjoyed and are expressed in two distinct ways: as a Father and as a Bridegroom. The Father has affection for us as His children, and Jesus has passion for us as His Bride. This understanding gives us the foundation to identify with and enter into what I call the “romance of the Gospel.” We feel enjoyed by God and exhilarated in God’s love and joy.