[Based on the re-revelation I had on 12-11-15]
1 Chronicles 29:28
Then [David] died in a ripe old age, full of days, riches and honor; and his son Solomon reigned in his place.
Quite an unexpected ending for a young shepherd boy from a poor family. Why was David handpicked from every other person in the whole country and lavished such blessings upon? What was that shepherd boy doing that should catch the eyes of the Lord?
2 Chronicles 16:9 says “the eyes of the LORD run throughout all the Earth looking for one whose heart is perfect toward Him,” and David was said to be “perfect in heart” (1 Kings 11:4). But what is it to be perfect in heart?*
I think God Himself answers this when Jesus was asked which commandment was the highest priority:
“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength:” this is the first commandment.’” Mark 12:29-30
In the books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Psalms you can clearly see that David truly, authentically, passionately, unabashedly loved God with all his heart, fulfilling the greatest commandment and counting him as “perfect in heart” in God’s eyes. Perhaps David kept that first commandment better than anyone else in Israel, which is why when the LORD said he was looking for a man perfect in heart (and the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole Earth), he picked David over everyone else in Israel.
Further than that, when you look at his words and actions toward God throughout his life he had a more passionate love for God than can be seen in anyone else in the whole Bible. If the Bible highlights the greatest people in history, and David displayed more love for God than anyone else in the Bible, perhaps David loved God more than anyone else in history. This must be why God blessed him so much, possibly blessing him more than anyone else in history. I mean, a poor boy with zero credentials for royalty is anointed king overnight and singled out to be the ancestor of the Messiah; what could be more of a blessing than that? God honored David further by picking his hometown of Bethlehem to be the one God as the Messiah would be born in, and God even inspired the prophets to write about the coming Messiah under the name “David,” and Jesus (God Himself) was called “son of David.”
Is that really all God wants of us and all it takes for God to lavish His blessings on us? Simply loving God? David and Jesus seem to agree. That is the #1 thing God is longing for and searching for, in fact, the specific thing He created us for. And most would say that they do love God, but then why aren’t they receiving blessings like David did? The crux here is loving the Lord with ALL your heart.
Who do you know that is actually loving the Lord with all their heart? All their heart. As in, the love of God is the top priority in every choice they make, the source and goal of every decision, from the time they wake up to the time they go to sleep. Living like that would look like how David lived: expressing your intimate, unabashed, uncontainable love for God visibly – in his case with singing and writing and dancing. He didn’t care what anyone else thought; people’s opinions were less a concern to him than God’s opinion. And his love for God was unshakeable, even in the most overwhelming of times, such as in the midst of war.
David orchestrated every aspect of his life around keeping that greatest commandment, and possibly kept it better than anyone else in Israel, so that when the eyes of the Lord ran to and fro throughout all the Earth looking for a perfect heart, he found one–David. Then God re-orchestrated all David’s unlikely surroundings to raise him up as his instrument.
Acts 13:22: “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who shall do all my will.”
After he was anointed by Samuel, God providentially orchestrated things to get David into the palace as a court minstrel, then to get him to come to the battle and fight Goliath which won him the favor of the whole country and got him into the army.
After killing Goliath, 1 Samuel 18:14 says, “David was prospering in all his ways for the Lord was with him. When Saul saw that he was prospering greatly, he dreaded him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, and he went out and came in before them…David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed.”
David perhaps loved God more than anyone else and thus “behaved himself more wisely than anyone else,” and so God blessed David more than anyone else, giving him an entire kingdom and riches and protection, and most importantly a covenant that the Messiah would come through him. I don’t think God will use anyone exactly the same way he used David, but God raised him up as an example for all the world to see how much He’ll bless the person who simply loves Him with all his heart and mind and strength. God blessed David in specific ways that would bring Himself maximum glory–in obvious, tangible ways (like riches and royalty) so that the Secret of David could be clearly understood by Israel and the surrounding pagan nations, as well as all following generations.**
Isaiah 55:2– “Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, according to the faithful mercies shown to David. Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.”
I’m not talking about loving God in some mysterious, intangible, impalpable, philosophical, theological sense. We need to love the Lord with a love that’s just as visceral as any other kind of love in existence. This is what God wants from us. Not just the kind of love we have for a friend or a father or a mentor, but if we truly love something with all our heart–actually love something with all our heart–then that means it’s the strongest love possible, as strong as the love of a blinding romance which every single aspect of one’s life channels into.
GK Chesterton points out that the extreme display of St. Francis’s love for God had all the same signs of romantic, puppy love: losing appetite and sleep, looking for every opportunity to tell someone of their Lover, relating every experience of life back to their Lover, doing embarrassing things for their Lover’s sake, sacrificing everything for their Lover, even life itself. Perhaps St. Francis was one of the few humans that realized the Secret of David — ie, what the Greatest Commandment really entailed — and maybe that’s why he was one of the most blessed of Christian saints in history, even being the initial recipient of stigmata.
So if this is what loving God with all your heart looks like, then who of us is even close to being perfect in heart? What pastors or priests out there have that kind of visible love and trust? I don’t see them. Do they show the signs of puppy love? Sure they love God, but not as much as they love their families or using their talents. What would happen if we actually loved God more than being an artist or a writer or a pastor or a missionary or a social worker? Would the very fabric of our natural realm be ripped open allowing the supernatural to reign freely through us? Is it even possible for us to have that kind of love? Yes, at least one man has already done it, and he was also an artist, writer, pastor, missionary, leader, warrior, etc.
If the greatest commandment really is to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and strength, and your blessings from God are on the line, then why aren’t we throwing everything else out the window? We should throw out anything that could possibly hinder us from loving God. Throw out even the things that could lead to the things that hinder us from loving God. Why aren’t we re-orienting every single, minute detail of our lives to all be for the sake of keeping that commandment?***
We need to stop what we’re doing right now, sit down, clear our minds, humbly open our hearts, and ask God to show us how we can best love Him. What does He want us to do for him to show Him how much we love Him? If we don’t feel love for Him, what things can we do to stimulate and cultivate the feeling of love for God? Yes, we must humble ourselves and ask God to guide our minds to analyze every single detail of our lives with painful scrutiny, being willing to change anything that God brings to our heart and mind that seems opposed to the love of God.
Throw out all your desires and ways of life– career, security, romance, sex, pleasure– until only He is left, and then ask what is genuinely for His best. Only do according to that which loves the Lord to the maximum. If being in a romantic relationship waters down your love for God you should end or change that relationship and stop settling for a watered-down affection toward God. We need to do everything within our power to love God.
There’s no way to escape this being a scary exercise, for as soon as you’re willing to “throw out all your desires and ways of life” you’re instantly risking them not coming back into your life, which means potentially hurting people. But take heart! You’re throwing them out in order to love God to the maximum, and loving God to the maximum is simultaneously loving His world to the maximum. But it’s almost certain that in order to truly love other people and do what’s honestly best for them (and you) you will need to alter some relationships, because almost everybody has unhealthy relationships. It’s just the truth, and the hard, honest, but rewarding, reality of loving God with all your heart.
And as we proactively take the necessary steps every moment of every day to cultivate that feeling and mindset and action of love (heart, mind, and strength), God will take care of every single thing we need. Our responsibility is to love Him with all our heart and mind and strength; God will take care of the rest. [Matthew 6:33- Seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will fall into place.]
1 Chronicles 29:28: “And [David] died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honor.”
I’m not saying God is going to reward our love in the exact same way he did David, or that anyone will be blessed exactly the same way. God blessed David in specific ways for a specific purpose that brought Him maximum glory–in obvious, tangible ways that would be understood by Israel and the surrounding pagan nations, as well as all following generations (Isaiah 55). But I am saying that God will bless us as much as he blessed David if we love God as much as David did; He’ll bless us in the way that brings Him the most glory (as can possibly be seen in the life of St. Francis).
So what’s stopping you from living a life like David and being used by God to the maximum? What’s holding you back from experiencing God’s providence as He supernaturally opens doors, brings people into your path, and orchestrates the world around you to produce the maximum fruit from your life? Why are you withholding from yourself the best life possible?
Oh what would happen if even one of us truly sacrificed every self-seeking pursuit to love God as much as is humanly possible? To put His interest at the forefront of every decision, becoming a true instrument in His hand? I have never seen it. People always compromise the love of God for romance or career or self pleasure of some sort. When in reality all they’re doing is sacrificing the greater pleasure of feeling the euphoria of God’s love and providence for a lesser euphoria of romance or entertainment or comfort. But romance or entertainment or comfort won’t fill you with a love that transcends this world, nor can they miraculously orchestrate the world to bless you and use you to your maximum.
What could possibly be better than being at the center of God’s will, feeling Him in the room with you, feeling His overwhelming love, knowing He’ll provide all your needs forever, witnessing Him orchestrating circumstances around you, and experiencing Him using you to do providential, supernatural things? What is there in the whole world that’s better than the feeling of being spiritually detached, that is, detached from the world and all its dangers and resting on a separate plain of existence with God in 100% peace, joy, and love? No temporal danger can touch that eternal bliss.
Again, I ask, what’s keeping you from having the best life possible? It’s because you aren’t loving the Lord your God with all your heart and your mind and your strength.
God probably won’t give you a kingdom and supernatural powers for battle like he chose to do with David, but He could! And you can experience just as much of the love and presence and providence of God. And if you are being used by God just as much as David, then it doesn’t matter what that actually looks like, it’ll feel the exact same inside.
Pt. 2 on Trusting God, as stemming from the love of a perfect heart.
1 John 4:18: “Perfect love casts out fear.”
If you really believe someone loves you, then you automatically really trust them, because you know that person wants your best. And if that person who wants your best is omnipotent, then nothing can stop Him from lavishing His love on you and taking care of every single need you have.
David is the perfect model of this understanding, and looking at his life just shows how far we have to go toward having a perfect heart. If anyone thinks he’s close to having the love and faith of David, he should measure himself against the story of David and Goliath. Can you really say you would single-handedly go up against a professional warrior with an army behind him, and boast about how God’s going to enable you to cut off his head and conquer their whole army–when you’re only holding a slingshot? That’s insane. Suicidal. No one in Israel’s army would even face Goliath, much less with a slingshot, much less boast about killing him with ease, much less conquering the whole army! He literally had the most trust in God of anyone in the whole country. And that trust was the result of a love for God just as outrageous. He was incensed at the enemy’s taunts against his God, whom he knew and loved so much, and he knew he had to fight for the honor of his Love. Insane, suicidal love and trust. That’s what it takes to be perfect in heart.
Is it even possible to get into a car wreck and not have a single worry, but only have trust and joy that that event is part of God’s plan for your good? Yes. I’ve personally done that. But is it possible to not have one single worry in the face of something as extreme as death? Paul said, when confronted with the threat of imprisonment:
“I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13)
And David didn’t seem to even have a slight doubt; if he had, he wouldn’t have been so matter-of-fact in his threats against the Philistines. David wasn’t saying something like, “Even if God doesn’t deliver us from the firey furnace we still won’t bow down to the idol,” he was saying “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45)
That seems like insane, unrealistic, illogical, suicidal trust in God. And trust that extreme shows just how extreme David’s love was. It shows what it actually looks like to love God with all your heart, and shows how we aren’t even close to really loving God. It also shows the intensity of love that God expects of us and is worthy of. After all, Jesus said it was the first and greatest commandment, which may seem like an unrealistic thing to command, but then again Jesus Himself commanded, “Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)
But this is the way the Christian life is supposed to be! No wonder the world is on a seemingly irredeemable course, exponentially imploding every second, when God’s agents in this world (commissioned with the restoration of all things, supposedly infilled with supernatural power) are still struggling with the same mundane trials as the world. Especially when we know full well the exponential restoration that could be happening, and is expected of us, as was clearly shown in the book of Acts.
We often look up to David and Paul and St. Francis and Mother Teresa more like legends than rolemodels. But the truth is that all of us are supposed to be living with the same amount of love they exemplified in their lives. All of us can (and are supposed to) live exciting, adventurous, miraculous, supernaturally-empowered, supernaturally-led lives that will be used by God as His means to save the whole world.
The Secret of David: If you prioritize to really keep the greatest commandment, to love God with all your heart, as David did, God will bless you like David.
So why is this a secret? I mean, God certainly wasn’t hiding the command “Love the Lord your God with all your heart”; it was the most central, most revered, most repeated commandment of the whole Law. And just for good measure, God told the people to keep those words on their minds and tongues day and night, even keep the words physically written on their doorposts and bodies. And if there was any doubt during the New Age, Jesus reinforced the priority of this first and greatest commandment. So how is it a secret? Because somehow I went 27 years through the American Evangelical church, loyal and devoted to the Christian cause, yet somehow, somewhere I was persuaded that the first and greatest commandment was to Love my neighbor as myself, or Do unto others as I would have them do unto me, or Go and make disciples of all nations. But not Love the Lord with all your heart. Maybe love the Lord in concept or service, or using your talents to make converts. Maybe love the Lord your God with all your mind and strength… but isn’t the heart the first thing mentioned? What lover would prefer being loved with someone’s mind or strength only? If you feel it in your heart it naturally trickles into every other area.
Right now, if you can feel this article in anyway resonating in your heart and sparking a little motivation, please don’t just finish it and move onto your next thing. The fate of the world is on the line! As soon as you go to sleep your brain will reset and you’ll lose all this conviction as soon as you wake up tomorrow, so you must set this new system into motion TODAY! The love of God is worth fighting for if there ever was something to fight for. Treat it like a job, like a marriage, like your life depends on it. The best life you could possibly live is on the line, and if you’re not living the best life you could possibly live the world is going to take a hit. You’ll be just one more person not living up to their potential or doing what they are supposed to. Stand out from your family, your town, your country like David did. Be intentional, strategic, professional, militaristic. After all, this IS the most important thing in life!
TIPS TO GET STARTED:
*Please stop right now and make a list of everything you can possibly think of to cultivate and grow love for God.
*Make another, simpler, concise list of the most pertinent things on there (maybe 10 to get you started), and print it out so you can post it some place that you have to see every day (but keep that exhaustive list also, so there are enough new things to keep you going and inspired every day).
*Put a note next to the things you should do every day, then mark the things you should do once a week, then the things once a month, and maybe some things once a year!
*Set reminders and alarms in your calendar to keep you consistently progressing so that the cultivation of love can become a habit that grows and gets easier.
Examples to add to your list:
-God-glorifying music, movies, websites, books, biographies, YouTube videos, etc.
-People you think would cultivate this love for God and ways to be around them on a regular basis.
-People who are going to pull you further from the love of God that you should avoid until your love for God is strong and secure enough.
-Things that will diminish your love from God or distract you that you should avoid at all costs.
-What things can jump start the first sparks of desire and conviction for the love of God? Set a reminder to read this article again in a month perhaps.
-What things can you do to keep your heart habitually detached from the church’s status quo peer pressure? Or internally detached from secular culture’s antagonism and hedonism?
*Establish an entire life system that revolves around keeping the Greatest Commandment as best as possible.
*You must keep a written record (easily accessible and readable) of all the experiences you start having with God, because there will come a day when you just wake up brain dead or depressed and can’t remember anything, and need something you can passively read to remind you of God’s providence and jumpstart you. Perhaps even take a photo of yourself, or record audio or video of yourself talking about your thoughts and experiences so all it takes is pressing “play” to be woken up inside. There’s really nothing that can shake off cynicism and skepticism like seeing your own, radiant face as you talk about your bliss and Providential encounters.
*It’s so hard to stay motivated to love God with all your heart if you’re relying completely on your own discipline and personal relationship with God. Some days you’ll wake up and just feel apathetic and exhausted and depressed. That’s why you need other people in your life to motivate you. Surround yourself with people that have a no-compromise attitude for the love of God. Maybe you can’t think of someone around you who totally emulates the perfect heart of David, and maybe you’ll never meet someone like that, but hopefully you know at least one person who exemplifies Davidic love in some capacity. Start with one or two people and begin creating a network of David-like people that can inspire you on a consistent basis.
God, if there is error in my thinking please reveal it to me. This seems to be logically and biblically correct and perhaps the solution to the world’s demise, as Jesus set into motion.
*I’m using the KJV phrase “perfect in heart” because it’s easier to use and sounds cooler, but modern versions more correctly translate it as “whole-heartedly” or “wholly-devoted” or “fully committed” or “blameless” or “faithful”.
**Even David’s great sins only magnified God all the more, putting His unfathomable grace on display for the world to clearly see. God has shown us that even the purest in heart can commit the wickedest of sins (like murder and adultery) given the right circumstances, and we are all in need of and at the mercy of His grace for salvation–which is able to cover even the worst of sins and is available to all just as it was for David.
***But if you are loving God with all your heart just for the purpose of getting the blessing, you’re not really loving God with all your heart!
***This is not to suggest anything about throwing out other commands of the Bible (obviously loving God as much as possible would entail obeying His commands). Also this essay in no way is suggesting that salvation comes from good deeds, for even David asks for salvation based on God’s grace in spite of his sins (Psalm 51). This is strictly about believers growing their relationship with God to the maximum while on Earth.The main issue I think people will have with this whole concept is that it’s bringing back a works-based mentality, that works is the catalyst for blessing. Which isn’t always the case for sure, but the Bible seems to indicate that this is true in the majority of cases. Surely, in this age of the New Covenant, God has not forsaken everything He said in the Law and Psalms and Proverbs and His recorded history about blessing people the more that they love Him.
The musical soundtrack to this essay can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/thesecretofdavid