Heart Of David




“But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.”

I Samuel 13:14


“And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”

Acts 13:22


  1. If David was truly a man after God’s own heart, then we should want to learn all we can about David’s heart.
  2. There are more events and personal thoughts of David recorded than all other men, so God blessed our goal.
  3. The Old Testament was written for our learning (Rom 15:4), and there is more about David than anyone else.
  4. If we include David’s psalms, which we clearly should, the subject is one of the largest in all of Scripture.
  5. We have staked our lives on the Bible, and the Bible records the life and thoughts of this man for our profit.
  6. Biographies, oral or written, have instructed and motivated men for millennia – but this biography is inspired!
  7. Our God and Father gave us a library with a particular biography emphasized very heavily – the life of David.
  8. The world talks about a renaissance man – a complete, perfect man – but our David is better by any measure.
  9. David combined the greatest virtues, manly deeds, and spiritual zeal in a total package loved by God and men.
  10. God loved David, and all Israel loved David – he had the name and loving favor we all should seek (Pr 22:1).
  11. Rather than entertain ourselves like children with David’s exploits, let us explore David’s heart and character.
  12. The Lord Jesus Christ is at once the son and Lord of David, so let us look for Christ in the father of Christ.
  13. Though many men of all sorts are pushed at boys and men as role models, they fail before David and Jesus.
  14. Since careful chronological order might distract us, let us worry more about interpretation and application.
  15. We start by praying the way David prayed about his heart (Psalm 4:4; 19:14; 26:2; 77:6; 119:136; 139:23-24).
  16. David had horrible sins in his life, yet he could still be God’s favorite – here is hope for all men and women!
  17. What made David different? What made Him special to God and good men? How was he like God’s heart?
  18. We shall limit ourselves in this study to seven main categories of unique and distinguishing traits of David.
  19. The value of this study, as others, depends on your conviction to grasp traits and develop them in your life.
  20. If you are not excited or moved by this study, you have a spiritual problem – you should drop to your knees.
  21. What benefits will you get from this study? What difference can it make in your life to be more like David?
    1. You will learn to walk with God, for the Bible reveals David’s thoughts, words, and methods.
    2. You will obtain the favor of God and man, for David’s character and life obtained these for him.
    3. You will be the blessed man of Scripture, as David was blessed with God building him a house.
    4. You will obtain abundant mercy of God, as David obtained great mercy in forgiveness and favor.
    5. You will be a great man in the earth, for greatness as God and men measure is much in David.

Visible to God

  1. God chose David, youngest and most despised of Jesse’s eight sons, to replace Saul (I Sam 16:1-13).
  2. Ruddy means having a healthy, fresh, and reddish complexion, which is attractive (I Samuel 16:12).
  3. Samuel, a great prophet of God, was certain that Eliab had to be God’s chosen man (I Samuel 16:6).
  4. The Lord made perfectly clear that He looked on the heart, not the outward appearance (I Sam 16:7).
  5. David’s greatness began in his heart, which he had cultivated and nurtured in the fields with sheep.
  6. Let no person feel unacceptable to God by birth order, outward looks, popular esteem, job, or family.
  7. God sees the inside, and He sees what we do inside our homes (Heb 4:12-13; Matt 6:1-18; Ps 101:2).

Zeal in Worship

  1. David loved to worship God above anything else, including tabernacle and temple (Ps 27:4; 84:10).
  2. Though gravely erring with the cart, David showed zeal in his first move of the ark (II Sam 6:1-11).
    1. The ark had not moved since the days of Eli and Samuel; Saul was too profane (I Samuel 7:1-2).
    2. He gathered all 30,000 chosen men of Israel together for the event of bringing up the ark of God.
    3. He was already involving a large number of varied musical instruments in worship (II Sam 6:5).
    4. Do you accept, begrudge, or delight in music to the glory of God? From your heart (Eph 5:19)?
  3. He showed great zeal in celebrating the second move of the ark to Jerusalem (II Samuel 6:12-23).
    1. He did it with gladness; though there had been fear, he saw the Lord’s blessing (II Samuel 6:12).
    2. He danced with all his might, an outward demonstration, of a heart that delighted in God (6:14).
    3. He gave up his royal apparel and dignity and became a servant to God before His people (6:14).
    4. He led all the house of Israel in a praise service of shouting and a piercing trumpet sound (6:15).
    5. Saul’s daughter typified her father, from whom she had learned her profane attitude (6:16).
    6. The ark was put in a tabernacle that David had pitched for it, and he gave sacrifices (6:17).
    7. He generously gave a cake of bread, a piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine to every one (6:19).
    8. With righteous indignation, David rejected Michael from sleeping with him again (6:20-23).
    9. Are you a mannequin, a mumbler, or a dancer before the LORD? With all your might?
    10. Singing is an outward expression of inward grace, and the emphasis is on the heart (Ep 5:18-21).
    11. For an even more detailed account of moving the ark, see I Chronicles 13, 15, and 16. Glory!
  4. He showed a most ambitious heart toward God’s worship by proposing the temple (II Sam 7:1-29).
    1. Though he had made a new tabernacle and moved the ark to it, he was not happy (6:17; 7:1-2).
    2. Though God had given him rest, and he was enjoying the good life, he was not happy (7:1-2).
    3. David went beyond the bare requirements to do something extra special for God (II Sam 7:4-8).
    4. David could not build it, so he gathered stuff for it to be “exceeding magnifical,” and he charged his son Solomon and Israel’s princes to make sure they built it for the Lord (I Chron 22:1-19).
  5. David chose the place for the house of the LORD God at Ornan’s threshingfloor (I Chron 21:14-30).
    1. God had a controversy with Israel and slew 70,000 men for their wickedness (II Sam 24:1-15).
    2. David saw the angel of death (I Chron 21:16) and went to the threshingfloor (I Chron 21:19-30).
    3. He would not settle for spending nothing; he was bound to pay for worship (I Chron 21:21-25).
    4. Ornan’s threshingfloor was on Mount Moriah, the place of Solomon’s temple (II Chron 3:1).
  6. David poured out the water from the well in Bethlehem as an offering to the LORD (II Sam 23:16).
  7. How do you compare? Do you love the house of God and His worship like David (Ps 27:4; 84:10)?
    1. Do you understand what the words mean, “Delight thyself also in the LORD”? (Psalm 37:4.)
    2. Do you remember happier times in worshipping God and want them back again? (Ps 42:1-5.)

Mercy and Truth

  1. Mercy and truth are opposites when first considered, but they are not when understood rightly.
    1. Mercy is not judging according to the letter of truth, when you have someone under your power.
    2. Truth is intolerant of mercy, which is compromise of truth and allows exceptions to punishment.
    3. Wisdom is exalted by the ability to balance the two in all circumstances and situations.
    4. True wisdom understands that mercy and truth are entirely compatible, for truth includes and exalts mercy, and mercy defends and exalts truth. They are two precious facets of pure godliness.
  2. There are 10 occurrences of this combination of words – mercy and truth – in the Word of God.
    1. These are two of the greatest concepts in the word of God, considered individually or together.
    2. Consider the hint of their combination in Jacob’s prayer, which are great blessings (Gen 32:10).
    3. All the combinations of the two words are spoken or written by David or Solomon. Interesting!
    4. David spoke them in a blessing to Ittai the Gittite when leaving Jerusalem (II Samuel 15:20).
    5. God shows mercy and truth to the righteous (Ps 25:10; 61:7; 85:10; 86:15; 89:14; Pr 14:22).
    6. Mercy and truth are virtues that wise men have in perfect balance (Pr 3:3-4; 16:6; 20:28).
    7. Satan and wicked men do not have them, for they are violent liars (John 8:44; Gen 3:1-6).
    8. Pharisees: no mercy (Matt 12:9-13); no mercy or truth (Matt 12:1-7); no truth (Matt 21:23-27).
    9.  Stephen preached the unvarnished truth and forgave his murderers at the same time! Glory!
    10. Paul condemned slothfulness at Thessalonica, but he begged for a repentant, runaway slave!
    11. Jesus could crush the Pharisees with His speech, but He could also comfort repentant harlots.
  3. Consider a few examples of mercy in David’s life to appreciate his largeness of heart toward others.
    1. He forgave Abner, an enemy general; and he grieved at his sinful death (II Sam 3:19-21,31-39).
    2. He forgave Amasa, an enemy general, and made a covenant with him (II Samuel 19:13-14).
    3. He spared Saul’s life twice, though Saul was seeking to kill David (I Samuel 24:1-22; 26:1-25).
    4. He spared Nabal’s life, when Abigail gently rebuked his wild passion (I Sam 25:32-35).
    5. He told many lies to save lives, which is a wise application of mercy (I Sam 19:11-18; 20:27-30; 21:1-2,8-10; 21:10-15; 27:1-12; 28:1-2; 29:8; II Sam 15:31-37; 17:15-22).
    6. He ate the shewbread when he was hungry, while running from Saul (I Sam 21:3-6; Mat 12:1-7).
    7. He shared full spoils with 200 weaker men who could not pursue the enemy (I Sam 30:21-25).
    8. He substituted a concubine’s sons in order to spare Mephibosheth from death (II Sam 21:1-9).
    9. He grieved over his son Absalom, though he had been guilty of horrible sedition (II Sam 18:33).
    10. He was taken by a wise woman of Tekoah, who preyed on his mercy for Joab (II Sam 14:1-11).
    11. He condemned his own nephews, who had served him well, for being too hard (II Samuel 3:39).
    12. He gave mercy to Shimei, who had cursed him in one of his darkest hours (II Sam 19:18-23).
    13. He cried a beautiful eulogy for Saul, his enemy, and Jonathan at their deaths (II Sam 1:17-27).
    14. He asked God for the pestilence on himself, when it had been caused by his sin (II Sam 24:17).
    15. He gave powerful Ittai leave to stay in Jerusalem during Absalom’s sedition (II Sam 15:18-20).
    16. He took special care of his father and his mother with the king of Moab (I Samuel 22:1-4).
    17. He trusted so in God’s mercy that he begged for his son’s life for seven days (II Sam 12:15-18).
    18. David knew very well that God loved mercy from His children (Psalm 18:25; 37:26; 41:1-3).
    19. He gave a great rule of doing your reasonable best and trusting God for the rest (Ps 127:1-2).
  4. Consider a few examples of truth in David’s life to appreciate his largeness of heart toward God.
    1. He had Joab, his devoted nephew, killed for killing three men against his wishes (I Kings 2:5-6).
    2. He hated Doeg and wrote invectively against him for slaughtering the priests at Nob (Psalm 52).
    3. He loved Scripture above any other man we know (Ps 1:1-3; Ps 19:10-11; 119:97-100,113,128).
    4. He despised Goliath for blaspheming the God and armies of Israel (I Samuel 17:26,29,45-47).
    5. He despised his wife Michal for criticizing his dancing worship before the ark (II Sam 6:20-23).
    6. He had Shimei wisely and fairly killed by Solomon for his seditious cursing (I Kings 2:8-9).
    7. He killed a foolish man who lied about killing King Saul on the battlefield (II Sam 1:1-16).
    8. He kept his covenant with Mephibosheth and let him eat at his table (II Sam 9:1-13; 21:1-9).
    9. The ark, tabernacle, and temple were very important to him, so he took excellent care of them.
    10. He received correction from prophets with humility and submission (II Sam 12:13; 24:18-25).
    11. He severely responded, probably beyond truth, against Nathan’s parable (II Samuel 12:5-6).
  5. How well do you apply both mercy and truth in your life, for David was excellent at this wisdom?
    1. Every father is bound to bring his children up in the truth, but he better know mercy (Eph 6:4).
    2. A good father shows mercy by remembering the weakness of his children (Psalm 103:13-14).
    3. Every husband must rule his house, but he must love her without bitterness (I Pet 3:7; Col 3:19).
    4. Principal is important, and could be called truth; but it is often pride; mercy is better (Pr 19:11).
    5. Marriage is a permanent relationship, but we know there are exceptions for mercy (Matt 12:1-7).
    6. Are you vigilant for the truth of God’s word, but sensitive to the needs of others around you?
    7. Do you do your best to do your job, but show mercy to the waitress that spills coffee in your lap?
    8. Do you always pay your bills on time, but show much mercy to those who pay you late?
    9. Do you tell friend and foe the truth at all times, but pray for your foes when they turn on you?
    10. How good are you at forgiving those who offend you? Measure your heart by David’s heart!

Spiritual Exercises

  1. There are four very spiritual exercises that primarily gave David that special heart above other men.
    1. They are not exciting to the flesh, but the other traits in David’s life could not exist without them.
    2. These secrets for success you have heard about before, but they are emphasized in few places.
    3. An enlarged heart – one specially tender and close to God – is by mercy and work (Ps 119:32).
  2. David practiced the confession of sins as a religious exercise to keep his heart pure before God.
    1. He even asked the Lord to forgive him for sins that he might be ignorant of (Psalm 19:12).
    2. He even asked God to forgive the sins of his youth, when lusts are most inflamed (Ps 25:7).
    3. He knew that acknowledging and confessing sins would bring God’s forgiveness (Psalm 32:5).
    4. David was ready to admit his wrongdoing, when things were hard in his life (Psalm 38:18).
    5. He was not too ashamed or proud to admit his many sins, which he saw as very many (Ps 40:12).
    6. When David considered his enemies, he knew he needed to confess his sins to God (Psalm 41:4).
    7. His complete prayer of confession for his great sin with Bathsheba is outstanding (Ps 51:1-19).
    8. David knew God would not hear his prayers without proper confession of sin (Psalm 66:18).
    9. Though David was a great and wise man, he confessed foolishness and sins to God (Ps 69:5).
    10. He asked the Lord to forget former iniquities that he had committed earlier in life (Ps 79:8).
    11. David knew and believed God was forgiving of sin, which is necessary for it (Ps 86:5; 103:3).
  3. David practiced meditation on God and Scripture as a religious exercise to improve his soul.
    1. David began the Psalms with a verse about the importance of meditation on Scripture (Ps 1:2).
    2. David communed with his own heart in his bed, where he could be still and know God (Ps 4:4).
    3. He knew that quiet time away from activities was necessary to truly know God (Psalm 46:10).
    4. David meditated on understanding, which is thinking on knowledge and wisdom (Ps 49:3).
    5. David remembered and meditated on God at night, which is a great time for it (Psalm 63:6).
    6. David considered ancient times and communed and searched with his own heart (Ps 77:5-6).
    7. David remembered and meditated on God’s words, which should be your goal (Ps 77:10-12).
    8. David considered meditation on the Lord to be sweet, which is true for saints (Ps 104:34).
    9. David knew God had made His wonderful works to be remembered, which he did (Ps 111:4).
    10. Meditation is found often in Psalm 119, where it applies to Scripture (Ps 119:48,78,97,99,148).
    11. David remembered, mediated, and mused on the works of God, which are lost today (Ps 143:5).
  4. David practiced prayer as an important religious exercise to seek the Lord in all matters for his life.
    1. He wanted the Lord to tell him each step of his life, so he would do the right thing (II Sam 2:1).
    2. David knew that deliverance was based on calling on the Lord, Who could easily save (Ps 18:3).
    3. David begged God to hear his prayers, which is a part of sound and godly praying (Ps 28:1-2).
    4. He prayed morning, noon, and evening – three times a day more than many (Psalm 55:16-17).
    5. He used the early morning, before daily distractions, to call upon God (Ps 5:3; 88:13; 119:147).
    6. David taught people to pour out their heart to the Lord, which is surely fervent prayer (Ps 62:8).
    7. He begged God to hear his cry speedily, which is not an irreverent way to pray (Psalm 102:1-2).
    8. David poured out his own heart to the Lord, which is casting your cares upon Him (Ps 142:1-3).
    9. Many of the psalms are prayers themselves: they are David calling on God in the second person.
  5. David practiced self-examination as an important religious exercise to judge and correct his heart.
    1. David asked the Lord to judge, examine, prove, and try his inner man and heart (Psalm 26:1-2).
    2. David asked God to search his heart and mind for any sin that might be there (Ps 139:1-6,23-24).
    3. He asked God to deliver him from both sins of ignorance and presumptuous sins (Ps 19:12-13).
    4. He knew God was involved in trying him, and he welcomed it from the Lord (Psalm 17:3).
    5. David knew the Lord gave Him wisdom and counsel, even in night communications (Ps 16:7).
    6. It is only a man keeping his heart pure by self-examination that can claim holiness (Ps 86:2).

Praise and Thanksgiving

  1. We first remember our purpose on earth and recognize the importance of fulfilling it before God.
    1. We, and all creatures, from angels to animals, were made for God’s pleasure (Pr 16:4; Rev 4:11).
    2. God did not need us, nor was there any compulsion to create us, but to display His own glory.
    3. It is our wisdom to seek to fulfill our purpose, by which we come closest to pleasing Him best.
    4. We know God chose David to be in charge of the praise and thanksgiving section of the Bible; and if the Psalms reflect his heart, he had a heart dedicated to praise and thanksgiving.
    5. David delighted in the Lord, but he also delighted in verbally expressing praise and thanksgiving.
    6. But if we look and compare closely, we will find that David and Paul are quite similar in spirit.
    7. Since I am a minister of the New Testament, I want you to know this duty (Heb 13:15; Phil 4:8).
    8. Let us remember that Jesus and the apostles did not have a problem praising God (Rom 9:5; 11:33-36; Gal 1:5; I Tim 1:17; 6:13-16; II Tim 4:18; Heb 2:12; 13:21; I Pet 4:11; 5:11).
    9. Gentiles praising God, which is our case today, was foretold and fulfilled by Paul (Rom 15:11).
    10. If you do not think you are old enough, good enough, or whatever, you are wrong (Matt 21:16)!
    11. If you do not think this is a major part of David’s heart, you are wrong for missing his emphasis.
    12. We do not need a praise band; we should be a praise band! We want to praise Him ourselves!
    13. This is in its proper place, for without mercy and truth any praise will be vain and hypocritical, and without the four spiritual exercises you will not have a heart for praise!
    14. While much, much more could be said on these two subjects, we are focused on David’s heart!
    15. One of our songs says, “Break forth and extol the great Ancient of Days.” Do you break forth?
    16. Do you feel the spontaneous praise in David’s soul when reading the opening of Psalm 103?
  2. Consider how high the Holy Spirit stressed both praise and thanksgiving by David (Ps 69:30-32).
    1. God is praised by songs, and He is magnified by thanksgiving, which gives credit for blessings.
    2. Even under the Old Testament, David knew this was more valuable to God than ceremonies!
    3. The humble, or righteous, shall be glad by praise and thanksgiving; and it will revive their hearts.
    4. When David worshipped the Lord, He brought both praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 118:28-29).
    5. If you truly seek the presence of God, then you must bring praise and thanksgiving (Ps 100:4).
    6. He wants both praise and thanksgiving from us (Ps 147:7). Are you willing to give Him both?
    7. Why has God blessed you? Do you know? It is for you to give praise and thanks (Ps 30:11-12)!
    8. Why did David want to go to church assemblies? To praise God before many others (Ps 35:18)!
    9. This praise and thanksgiving is to be promoted among our children and grandchildren (Ps 79:13).
    10. It is a good thing to give thanks and to praise God (Ps 92:1). Who says so? God and David!
    11. A great and powerful appeal is for God to rescue so we can praise and thank Him (Ps 106:47).
    12. Psalm 103 is primarily wonderful praise and thanksgiving, though it does not use either word.
  3. David was obsessed with praising God, which is to exalt and extol and bless and honor verbally!
    1. David was committed to perpetual praise, and he wanted to involve others in it (Psalm 34:1-3).
      1. Observe that praise is done with the mouth: do not try to fool God or us with pious thoughts!
      2. How often was David committed to praise? How frequently would it come from his mouth?
      3. Praise here is compared to blessing, boasting, magnifying, and exalting, which are synonyms.
      4. There is the result of gladness in the righteous, which depends on true doctrine and lives.
      5. This is one of the most delightful things you can ever do with another person or persons.
    2. David was committed to blessing and extolling His great God forever and ever (Ps 145:1-2).
    3. He was not content as Israel’s psalmist; He wanted to praise God more and more (Ps 71:14).
    4. Is there a cause to praise God so much? Indeed! Can you count up His salvation (Ps 71:15)?
    5. Jehovah loves to be praised and extolled by a happy people (Ps 68:3-4). Are you one of them?
    6. Do you want to do something that will make you comely in the sight of God (Psalm 33:1)?
    7. Praise glorifies God, and coupled with a reformed lifestyle, brings God’s blessings (Ps 50:23).
    8. God is simply not impressed with ceremonies; He wants thanksgiving and glory (Ps 50:13-15).
    9. When God saves a man, he puts a new song of praise in his mouth to bless others (Psalm 40:1-3).
    10. David wanted his mouth filled with God’s praise and honor all day (Ps 71:8). Is it your desire?
    11. Do you understand the combination of God’s greatness, terribleness, and holiness (Ps 99:3-5)?
    12. Psalm 107 is a special psalm with several varied paragraphs of praise (107:8,15,21-22,31-32).
  4. David was also obsessed with thanksgiving, which is to verbally thank God for His many blessings.
    1. A pure heart before God is innocent, full of thanksgiving, and loves God’s house (Ps 26:6-8).
    2. God is to be worshipped with thanksgiving, when you come into His presence (Psalm 95:1-3).
    3. God does not want other sacrifices as much as He wants our thanksgiving (Ps 107:22; 116:17).
    4. David even appealed to God for a longer life in order to continue giving Him thanks (Ps 6:5).
    5. Do you have it in you to rejoice and give thanks for the holiness of God (Psalm 30:4; 97:12)?
    6. We should give thanks unto the Lord and make his name known among the people (Ps 105:1).
    7. Why give thanks to God? He is good; with great mercy (Ps 100:5; 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; 136:1-3).
    8. When was the last time you thanked God for His word, and did it at midnight (Psalm 119:62)?
    9. David presumed the righteous will give thanks unto the Lord (Ps 140:13). Are you righteous?
    10. Do not all His wonderful works prove He is near and worthy of our thanksgiving (Psalm 75:1)?
  5. Though we are in the New Testament, these duties of saints still apply (I Thess 5:18; Heb 13:15).

God’s Musician

  1. Begin this section by reading Psalm 150, where David exalts the worship of God by song.
  2. How do we meet David in the Bible … with harp … and he was very good with it (I Sam 16:14-22)!
  3. David ended his life as the sweet psalmist of Israel, not bad for “a man of war” (II Samuel 23:1-2).
  4. During his life he wrote the poetry (psalms) and created the music (invented instruments). Musical!
  5. He invented musical instruments, though many do not know it (Amos 6:5; I Chr 23:5; II Chr 29:26).
  6. David did not invent all instruments of music, for they were being used in Saul’s day (I Sam 18:6).
  7. The devil has always tried to ape the worship of Jehovah, and he has done the same with music.
  8. They praised the Lord with song day and night, when David’s tabernacle was in Jerusalem (I Chron 6:31-33; 9:33; 16:36-43; Psalm 134:1-2; 135:1-3).
  9. I Chronicles 13:8 describes the many instruments and the intensity of their worship on the first attempt with the ark (II Sam 6:5).
  10. I Chronicles 15:16,19-22,24,27-28 describes in detail the musical accompaniment for moving the ark, where II Samuel 6 simply refers to shouting, the sound of the trumpet, leaping, and dancing.
  11. And I Chron 16:7,36-43 describes further details about the psalm used that day and the daily praise.
  12. Consider the size of the choir David organized and arranged for singing (I Chron 23:5,30; 25:1-7).
  13. How loud and how many were used to worship the Lord? Consider the dedication (II Chr 5:12-14).
  14. Solomon followed David’s emphasis on music at the temple (II Chronicles 5:11-14; 7:6; 8:14).
  15. In the reign of Hezekiah, 340 years after David, they were still following David’s orders for music and using his instruments (II Chron 29:25-30).
  16. And in the reign of Josiah, about 440 years after David, they were still following David’s orders for music (II Chron 35:15).
  17. Consider several of the instruments referred to in the psalms and in the writings about David.
    1. Psaltery. A stringed instrument like a dulcimer, but where the strings are plucked. It is different from a harp, in that the soundboard is behind and parallel with the string, where the harp’s strings are exposed.
    2. Timbrel. A percussion instrument, like a tambourine, which could be held and used by one hand.
    3. Organ. A general class of musical instruments, usually of the wind variety, which has developed into the most complex of musical instruments.
    4. Tabret. A small tabor; a timbrel.
    5. Psalm 150 refers to loud cymbals and high sounding cymbals.
    6. And there was a stringed-instrument of ten strings, apparently distinguished from the psaltery and harp (Psalm 33:2; 92:3; 144:9).
  18. In reading the psalms, you encounter David wanting to sing very often (Ps 7:17; 9:2,11; 13:6; 18:49; 21:13; 27:6; 30:4,12; 33:2-3; 47:6-7; 51:14; 57:7,9; 59:16-17; 61:8; 66:2,4; 67:4; 68:4,32; 71:22-23; 75:9; 81:1; 89:1; 92:1; 95:1; 96:1-2; 98:1,4-5; 101:1; 104:33; 105:2; 108:1,3; 135:3; 138:1,5; 144:9; 145:7; 146:2; 147:1; 147:7; 149:1,3,5).
  19. David loved new songs, for they promote creative worship (Ps 33:2; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1).
  20. David wanted skillful singing and playing (Ps 33:3), and he wanted it loud (Ps 33:3; 98:4; 150:5).
  21. But he also wanted singing with understanding, just like Paul required (Ps 47:7 cp I Cor 14:14-15).
  22. A New Testament church will sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19; Col 3:16).
    1. A psalm is obvious, it is one of the poetic writings in the book of Psalms by David or Asaph.
    2. A hymn is a song directed to the Lord is ascribing to Him blessing, praise, and worship directly.
    3. A spiritual song is a song about salvation, the Christian life, the hope of heaven, the church, etc.
  23. A merry saint will sing psalms, because true joy is compatible with worshipping God (Jas 5:13).


  1. We may call this aspect of David’s heart, ruling his spirit, circumstantial triumphs, or other names.
    1. David was a melancholy, if we may use that term, for he had very deep and passionate feelings.
    2. David was also more afflicted and persecuted than any man, but he prospered, all for our benefit.
    3. David got old and lost physical abilities, but he still loved the Lord (II Sam 21:16-17; I Kgs 1:1).
    4. But he had great faith in God, which he used well to fight his temperament and circumstances.
    5. It is a shame so many Christians do not have victory over their temperament or circumstances.
  2. David was not a “historian.” He did not live in the past, wallow in his failures, and give up on life.
    1. He had sins of youth, which he confessed to God and believed they were forgiven (Ps 25:6-7).
    2. He knew exactly what to do when chastened, and he did it; he did not wallow in pity (Ps 32:3-7).
    3. Though he sinned heinously with Bathsheba, he repented and went forward boldly (Ps 51:1-19).
    4. He understood the horrible sinfulness of all men, but he trusted God’s forgiveness (Ps 130:3-4).
    5. David had several sins and horrible sins that we know about, but he did not let it defeat him.
    6. He knew all about starting over and trusting God’s mercy again, as with the ark, which God mercifully “helped” by confirming their obedience (II Sam 6:12-15; I Chron 15:25-28).
  3. David recognized his sinful tendencies and cast himself upon the mercy of God because of them.
    1. Knowing his weakness in speech, he committed not to speak, grieving before God (Ps 39:1-7).
    2. When reflecting at death, he turned to the sure mercies and promises of God (II Sam 23:1-7).
    3. He knew his family was a mess, but he did not let that defeat him as well, for further sinfulness.
    4. When you know there are failures in your life, you do not help the matter by wallowing in pity.
    5. David did not wallow in self-pity or a defeated view of life, he confessed and went forward.
  4. David understood chastening afflictions, and he did not give up, thinking that God now hated him.
    1. You must remember that this man was hit with more afflictions than anyone you know, and he was a man less deserving of them than anyone you know. Why? For your instruction tonight!
    2. David knew God was for him, and David knew God was aware of his troubles (Psalm 56:8-9).
    3. He knew that afflictions were only temporary: he knew God would deliver him (Ps 34:17-20).
    4. He was thankful for afflictions, because he knew they were for his profit (Psalm 119:67,71,75).
    5. He knew chastening afflictions separated him from coming judgment of sinners (Ps 94:12-15).
  5. David was discouraged or depressed, but he turned to self-examination in light of God’s faithfulness.
    1. When down, he reminded himself of past joys and future expectations (Psalm 42:1-11; 43:1-5).
    2. Read these psalms carefully and see David’s confident hope of a better future by faith in God.
    3. Do you see him remembering God’s blessings in the past (Ps 42:4)? This is quite different from the man or woman who in the depths of depression say, “I have never been blessed or happy.”
    4. Do you see him laying hold of future expectations by hope in God (Ps 42:5,8,11; 43:5)?
    5. Do you see him vowing to the Lord as his exceeding joy, if God will deliver him (Ps 43:3-4)?
    6. This is different from the man or woman that says, “Soul, I am cast down. I deserve to be cast down. There are so many things wrong in my life. The Lord cannot use a person like me. I have no hope, for God cares about others who have more gifts than I do. My praise will never amount to anything worthy of mention. I cannot please Him, and I never will. Soul, just give up and plod forward one more day. Or, soul, if you don’t feel like plodding forward, let’s just go to bed.”
    7. He encouraged himself in the LORD, even when circumstances were all horrible (I Sam 30:1-6).
  6. David was afraid many times, for his life was often in danger; but he always put his trust in God.
    1. He raised himself in Psalm 27 by faith (1,3,10,13-14), by experience (2,9), by love to God (4,8), by God’s power (5), by promises of service (6,11), by prayer (7,9), and by righteousness (12).
    2. He had a simple and perfect cure for fear. “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee” (Ps 56:3).
    3. What is fear and where does it come from? It comes from the devil and the flesh. It is the anxiety brought on by negative circumstances in life or the unknown, which are simple trials of faith. How much does anxiety or fear help the situation? None! How does it please God? It does not!
  7. David chose contentment as the basis of his life, regardless of his vain imagination or circumstances.
    1. It is a horrible sin for us to be discontent with our lives, because we have the Lord (Heb 13:5-6).
    2. Some are defeated and unproductive by worrying about what could have been. Do something!
    3. Asaph penned it, but David took most satisfaction in God (Ps 73:25-26; 16:4-5; 119:57; 142:5).
    4. Consider more of David’s own testimonies of contentment in God (Ps 43:4; 63:3; 89:6; 104:34).
  8. David chose to weep for God’s honor, rather than get frustrated, haughty, or defeated by others’ sins.
    1. Many give up before wickedness, but David was grieved like God’s heart (Ps 119:53,136,158).
    2. It is the devil that seeks to discourage us by the failures of others. Do not give in to the lie! It is still worth serving God, and their sins should provoke us to greater righteousness.
    3. When others sin around us, we do not help by sinning ourselves in fruitless frustration. Grow up!
  9. David could and would recognize his own faithfulness for righteous reasoning with the Lord.
    1. Only fools think self-deprecation all the time is holy, for David and Paul did very otherwise.
    2. David knew that God heard his prayers and delivered him for his righteousness (Ps 18:20-28).
    3. Consider his bold approach in confessing his integrity to secure God’s blessings (Ps 26:1-11).
    4. When faced with enemies, consider how he made appeal to his integrity toward them (Ps 7:1-5).
  10. David had assurance in the present and future of this world and in the future of the next world.
    1. A lack of assurance is a lack of faith, and David had great faith in God’s promises and power.
    2. David, though enduring painful trials, was confident of God’s favor; and he was able to look at other aspects of the situation to see that God had saved him from worse things (Ps 41:5-13).
    3. He knew that God would violently judge the evildoer and defend afflicted saints (Ps 140:8-13).
    4. He knew there was a great end and reversal of fortune coming … after death (Psalm 71:8-15).
  11. David had patience to wait for the Lord without envying, fretting, complaining, or giving up.
    1. He had learned to wait on the Lord, and God would give strength (Psalm 27:13-14; 130:5-8).
    2. When praying for deliverance from afflictions, he told God he was waiting (Ps 25:1-5).
    3. David knew very well the importance of resting in the Lord without fretting (Ps 37:7-20).


  1. David was humble.
    1. God loves humility and will exalt the humble man (Is 57:15; Matt 5:3; Luke 14:11; James 4:6).
    2. After being anointed king and serving Saul, David returned to his father’s sheep (I Sam 17:15).
    3. When interviewed by Saul after killing Goliath, David did not recognize himself (I Sam 17:58).
    4. When offered Saul’s daughters for wives, David did not think himself worthy (I Sam 18:18,23).
    5. He prayed very humbly about his inability in high matters and his conduct as a child (Ps 131).
    6. He prayed and obtained the Lord’s mercy through a broken and contrite heart (Ps 34:18; 51:17).
  2. David loved peace and unity.
    1. God loves peacemakers and the pursuit of unity (Matt 5:9; Rom 12:18; Eph 4:3; James 3:17-18).
    2. He wrote the well-known Psalm 133 and its great promotion of men dwelling together in unity.
    3. David patiently waited for Abner to bring Israel to him and made peace with him and Amasa.
    4. David was committed and dedicated to peace, even with those at enmity with him (Psalm 7:1-5).
    5. He taught his children and Israel that a good life was based on making peace (Psalm 34:11-16).
    6. David desperately wanted peace while others wanted war (Psalm 55:19-21; 120:6-7; 144:11).
  3. David hated the wicked and wickedness.
    1. God hates all workers of iniquity, regardless of what most teach today (Ps 5:5; 11:5; Matt 7:23).
    2. David told the Lord plainly that he hated God’s enemies with perfect hatred (Psalm 139:21-22).
    3. In contrast to his hatred of evildoers, he had special affection for the righteous (Psalm 119:63).
    4. David hated the vain thoughts of men in contrast to his great love for the Scriptures (Ps 119:113).
    5. He was intensely committed against the compromise and evil of wicked men (Ps 97:10; 101:3).
    6. He trusted Scripture as absolute truth on all subjects and hated other thoughts (Ps 119:104,128).
  4. David was friendly.
    1. For a man to have friends, he must show himself friendly to them (Prov 18:24; John 15:14-15).
    2. David was committed to being a friend and companion to good men (Ps 119:163 cp Titus 1:8).
    3. He took care of Nabal’s sheep and shepherds and elders of Judah (I Sam 25:15-16; 30:26-31).
    4. He was so fair in dealings even with Philistines that they followed him (II Samuel 15:18-22).
    5. Hiram, king of Tyre, was ever a lover of David and rejoiced to assist Solomon (I Kings 5:1,7).
    6. Whether Mephibosheth or Barzillai, David took care of his friends (II Sam 9:1-13; I Kings 2:7).
  5. David loved holiness.
    1. God is holy, and He has called on His children to be holy (Rom 12:1; Heb 12:14; I Pet 1:15-16).
    2. David promoted worship of God’s holiness (Ps 29:2; 30:4; 93:5; 96:9; 97:12; 99:3,5,9; 145:17).
    3. David made one of the most definitive statements of holiness about his house (Ps 86:2; 101:1-8).
    4. David knew the means for cleansing the way of a young man was by God’s word (Psalm 119:9).
    5. David often referred to God’s holiness in approaching Him (Psalm 5:7; 11:4; 15:1; 24:3; etc.).
  6. David was gentle and tender.
    1. God is gentle and benevolent, even in treating His enemies (Matt 5:43-48; II Cor 10:1; Gal 5:2).
    2. When 200 men could go no further, he let them rest and still share in the spoils (I Sam 30:21-25).
    3. Though a bloody man of war, he resented the harshness of his nephews (II Samuel 3:39; 19:22).
    4. He cried and mourned greatly for Saul and Jonathan, when they were slain (II Samuel 1:17-27).
    5. When he heard what Rizpah, Saul’s concubine had done, he gave nine burials (II Sam 21:10-14).
    6. Joab knew he could use the woman of Tekoa to bring Absalom back to David (II Sam 14:1-10).
  7. David was zealous.
    1. God inspired Paul to write that it is good to be zealous in a good thing (Gal 4:18; John 2:17).
    2. When keeping sheep, he killed a lion and a bear, when he could have run up a tree or home!
    3. When meeting Goliath, he ran to meet the giant, rather than wait for the dog to come to him.
    4. When meeting Goliath, he took five stones, just in case they planned a family reunion that day.
    5. When Saul asked for 100 foreskins for Michal’s hand in marriage, he brought 200 (I Sam 18:27).
    6. If God would not allow him to build the temple, he collected for it (I Kings 8:18; I Chron 22:14).
    7. If he would collect for it, he would collect for it to be “exceeding magnifical” (I Chron 22:5).
    8. When he moved the ark, he danced with all his might and fed the whole nation (II Sam 6:12-19).


  1. Much more could be written on this subject. Take this as a foundation and build on it. God exalted David very high and wrote more about him than any other man. Read all about this man and purpose to be like him.
  2. What will you do with this information? Will you forget it? Neglect it? Or ponder and practice it? Yes!
  3. If you had to pick just one of these seven points to remember and practice, make it the spiritual exercises!

For further study:

  1. Sermon Outline: “Delighting in the Lord,” which details the meaning and application of Psalm 37:4.
  2. Sermon Outline: “Exceeding Magnifical,” shows David’s zeal for the Lord in preparing for Solomon’s temple.
  3. Sermon Outline: “A Pure Heart,” provides the description, importance, and methods of having a pure heart with God.
  4. Sermon Outline: “The Last Words of David,” is an exposition of David’s trust in the Lord and hatred for scorners.
  5. Sermon Outline: “When Things Seem Hopeless,” draws practical and helpful antidotes for fear from David at Ziklag.
  6. The entry for David from Nave’s Topical Bible collects and organizes many of the references about David in the Bible.
  7. Read Psalm 119 as a lesson in David’s affection and commitment to the word of God for every aspect of his life.