So, let’s continue our series today entitled “God’s Own Heart” by looking deeper into the heart of our Creator!
Again, we are camping on this series in order to learn more about our God—what is important to Him, what He is focused on, what He loves, etc. And we are looking at this because we want to learn more about Him, which should in turn change us into the same image we are beholding. But we are studying God’s heart by looking at the man who was said to be “after God’s own heart”—King David. In other words, we are studying God’s nature by looking at David’s nature. And what we have learned thus far is that David’s heart for God, His love for Him and His desire to know Him reflect God’s heart for us. We have also seen that the honor that David had in his life likewise reflect God’s honorable heart.
Then, last week, we looked at something else that has a big place in God’s heart—the grace that He is said to be rich in and the mercy that He is said to be full of. So, we looked at that phrase given to describe the everlasting covenant we now have with our God—the Sure Mercies of David. We saw that these “Sure Mercies of David” are found in First Chronicles chapter 17 where God said, “And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.” (First Chronicles 17:11-14).
We saw how grand of a promise this must have been to David seeing that the last king of Israel, Saul, was cut off due to his failures (See First Samuel 15:22-23). I can just imagine that a concern David might have had would be: “What if my son makes the same mistake that Saul did? Will he be cut off like Saul was?” So, the Lord promised David that his son would sit on the throne forever, and He would not take His “mercy” away from him as He did with Saul, who was before him. Therefore, you could say that David was guaranteed mercy. No sin or shortcoming would undermine God’s unconditional promise of an eternal house from David. It was for this reason that Isaiah called this everlasting covenant, the “sure mercies of David.”
We saw how the word “sure” here denotes that these are faithful, concrete, stable promises of God’s mercy, not the kind of mercies that one might ask of God, not knowing whether or not He will grant them the mercy they are requesting. No, the mercies of David are “sure mercies”—that is, they are established and we can be sure of them in our own lives. Amen!
But we saw that David was obviously ahead of the curve. This revelation of God’s grace and mercy was not a common revelation amongst the people of the Old Covenant. But David had gotten a glimpse into the covenant that you and I are living in today.
We then looked at Psalm 32:1-2 where David said, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Then we saw how the apostle Paul gave us his divine commentary about this particular passage of Scripture in Romans 4:6-8.
In these verses we saw how Paul brought up David as another example of the basic “spiritual math” he was teaching: Grace + Faith = Righteousness. We saw how the terms Paul used in these verses in Romans 4 were accounting terms, meaning “to count, calculate, count over, to make an account of.” And I love how this is the terminology Paul used because, again, it’s basic math and spiritually logical.
Therefore, we learned that these sure mercies of David and God’s grace that does not impute sin to our account any longer is God’s own heart. No, He has not made this everlasting covenant available to us because He felt some sense of responsibility as our Creator; He has bestowed this grace & mercy on us because He purposed in His heart to do so.
We looked at Ephesians 1:3-14, where the apostle Paul simply breezes through all of these exceedingly great and precious promises of what Christ has done for us and all we have in Him. He says that He did it “according to the good pleasure of His will” (vs. 5) and “according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself” (vs. 9). This taught us that all that the Father sent Christ to accomplish was done because it was His good pleasure to do so. Yes, He wanted to do it. Therefore, He “sentenced” you to it!
So, no, His heart is not to judge and condemn. Although He certainly has to be the Judge and all sin must be judged, that is not because He enjoys doing it. It is simply that He has the responsibility of doing it. But God’s heart is to abundantly pardon, to show mercy and forgive. That is what He would rather do. Yes, being gracious and merciful is a big part of who our God is.
Like we have seen in the life of David, God’s heart is a heart of mercy. Even though David certainly brought God’s judgment to certain individuals, it is obvious that David did not prefer to be this way. He liked to honor, love and show mercy. And this is God’s nature.
So, we learned that showing mercy and sowing mercy is God’s good pleasure! His heart is to both extend these sure mercies of David in our lives, but also to see us turn around and extend the same mercy into others. Yes, He loves giving us grace, but He also loves when those whom He has been gracious to are gracious to others! If we get closer to God, mercy just rubs off on us, because it is His nature. Church, grace and mercy are a big part of God’s heart!
So, this week, let’s move into looking into another example that even reflects God’s heart more than the great King David does. This week I want us to look at the best example we have ever had of a person who revealed the heart of God—the Son of David Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ!
Now I suppose that we all have heard by now the reference to Jesus being “the Son of David.” This was, of course, a title given to the Messiah by the Jewish people because of the promise that God made to David that his son’s throne would be established forever (see First Chronicles 17:11-14).
We see Jesus being addressed as the Son of David throughout the Gospels by those who recognized that He was more than just a normal man, but was their promised Messiah. Yes, those with physical needs would cry out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” and as the people received Jesus in Jerusalem, they would cry out “Hosanna to the Son of David.” In all of these cases, this was their confession of His Lordship and a recognition that He was their promised Messiah.
But the point I want to make this week is that since Jesus is the Son of David, then it is understandable that we can not only see God’s heart in David’s life, but also in the life of David’s Son, who is truly the Son of God. So, that is what I want us to look at today--Seeing the Heart of God in the Son of David.
THE SON OF DAVID IN THE PSALMS
In fact, one thing that we see throughout David’s psalms is that there were many times where his words were prophetically inspired, and became the words of Jesus during His life and ministry. Let’s look at some of them:
In the first example of this, I want us to look at something Jesus said in Matthew 22:41-45. It says, “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.’ He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’?’ If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?”
Here, Jesus was making the point that the promised Son of David was really the Son of God because why would David refer to his son as his “Lord.” And He quoted from Psalm 110, which was widely recognized by the Jewish people of Jesus’ day as one of the greatest Messianic Psalms.
And in this psalm, not only is the Messiah seen as a King and Ruler, seated at the right hand of God, but he is also called a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4). This Scripture is used by the writer of Hebrews to make the point that Jesus comes from the line of priests that is superior to the Aaronic one. Therefore, the Lord Jesus is both King and Priest—as King at the right hand of God and as priest from a divine priesthood!
But although David prophesied of the glories and triumph of the Christ, he was best known for speaking of His sufferings:
In Psalm 41:9, David speaks of Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples who would betray Him, saying, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
In Psalm 69:9, David says, “Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me…” Here we see a reference to the zeal for God’s house that consumed Jesus when He cleansed the temple of the commercialism that had infected it (see John 2:17). And even the second half of this verse is mentioned by the apostle Paul in reference to the reproaches of Christ (Compare Romans 15:3).
In verses 19-20 of this same psalm, David continues to describe the reproach of the Messiah, and in verse 21 says, “They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” So, David here even prophesies of Jesus’ experience on the Cross when the Roman soldiers offered Him “gall” and “sour wine” (vinegar) to drink to ease His suffering.
In the 22nd Psalm, which is widely considered one of the greatest Messianic psalms that David wrote, we have many references to Jesus’ sufferings:
In verse 1, David writes, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?” (Compare Matthew 27:46). Then in verses 6-8, he says, “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!’” And did the religious leaders not say almost these exact words as Jesus hung on the Cross? (Compare Matthew 27:43). And David goes on to say in verses 16-18-- “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” And these verses give obvious references to Jesus’ hands and feet being pierced with those nails on the Cross and the Roman soldiers gambling over His garments (Compare Matthew 27:35).
So, all in all, this psalm is chalk full of things that would come to pass on the Cross of Christ. But again, they are written by David like he personally went through these things.
Even as Jesus drew His last breath on the Cross, His words are a quote of yet another Davidic psalm--Psalm 31:5—which reads, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit…”
So, after Jesus gives up the ghost, we know that Jesus did not stay in that place of death, darkness and torment: In the Psalm 16:10, David prophesied— “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” This was, of course, quoted by the apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost when he testified of Jesus’ resurrection (Compare Acts 2:31)
But glory to God, this was all part of God’s plan—for as we see in David’s 118th Psalm, David prophesies of this day that the Lord has made. In Psalm 118:22-26, he says, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.” All of this pointed towards Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem when the people cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” and Him being established as the chief cornerstone that the religious leaders of His day rejected. In fact, one gospel writer says that the people said, “Hosanna to the Son of David.”
So, what have we seen here? We have seen how what seemed to be the words of David would wind up being truths concerning the Son of David. In other words, while some might think that these were realities from David’s life, they were really prophetic utterances forecasting the sufferings and glories of the His Son, the Son of God. Amen.
Finally, let’s look at the 2nd Psalm, which is not specifically referred to as being a psalm of David in the psalm itself, but was attributed to David by the group of Christians in Acts 4:25-26: In Psalm 2:7-9, David says, “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
Now as we’ve seen by now, there were obviously times where David prophesied things in his psalms that were not necessarily things that were examples from his own life. In this case, perhaps the Lord God really did say this to David, or perhaps he was just prophesying of something that God the Father was saying to His Son just as Jesus said that Abraham saw His day and rejoiced (see John 8:56). Either way, we know that this is referring to the Son of David. However, now that we are in Christ, we know that the Lord is saying this to us today. And what is He inviting us to do? To ask Him and He will give us the nations for our inheritance!
Regarding this, Minton received this word for our church and shared it with church leadership. The Lord said to him, “What is My body @ HPC asking for?” So, we spent some time talking & praying about this and determining what we are going to start specifically asking Him for. And I challenge you to both ask along with us for these things for the church (see handout in the foyer), but also to figure out what you truly desire for your own life and ask Him for that.
GOD’S HEART MADE FLESH
But the fact is, since Jesus is called the Son of David, and David and Him were obviously tracking in things, it is clear that Jesus was also a man after God’s own heart being the Son of God Himself. In fact, it is an undisputed fact that Jesus more clearly represented God’s heart than even David did. Yes, as much as David was a man after God’s own heart, Jesus’ life & ministry was even a purer example of the heart of God. Let’s look at a few verses that verify this truth.
First, let’s look over at John chapter 1 where we have a good summarization of what Jesus came to both do and declare: John 1:14-18 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, ‘This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
Here we see Jesus again being referred to as “the Word”—or, the Logos. The word “logos” basically describes “a statement, the expression or transmission of a thought, or a divine revelation or declaration.” The Bible is oftentimes what is being referred to when the word “logos” is used in the Word of God, but the fact is that both God’s Word and Jesus are one and the same in that they both reveal and express God’s love, goodness, grace and truth.
But here we see Jesus being described as the Mighty Logos, and John goes on to say He became flesh and dwelt among us. The word used for “dwelt” here literally means that He “tabernacled” among us. So here, I see Jesus as being the One that even the Tabernacle itself was a type and shadow of. Glory! (But that’s a whole other sermon right there)
Then the apostle John goes on to describe how we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father. And as we are about to see, the glory we see in Him is actually the glory of His Father, the true nature of God Himself.
Notice then that John said that Jesus was “full of grace and truth.” This is important to understand when we see what he went on to say in verse 16— “And of His fullness we have all received…” What is He full of according to verse 14? Grace and truth! Therefore, what we have all received is the fullness of the grace of God and the truth of God. Amen!
But then John goes on to say, “…and grace for grace.” Notice that now truth is left out—not that truth is not relevant or important—but now we live in a New Covenant characterized by grace. Regarding the phrase, “grace for grace,” most expositors agree that this literally describes “grace upon grace.” In other words, while we have received the fullness of truth, the grace is an ever-growing experience of God Himself.
So, the bottom line is that Jesus has brought us the fullness of God—that is, the full expression of God Himself—unlike Moses, who simply brought us the Law. And I’m glad that John brought this up in verse 17 because many people try to see God by the way He had to do things under the Law. In other words, people see God as quick to judge and harsh, critical and condemning like He seemed to be under the Old Covenant. But the truth is, God was not different under the Law than He was through Jesus. Yes, He never changed; we were the ones who changed! God had to deal with mankind differently in the Old Testament but He was always love, then and now.
No, the Bible teaches us that the purpose of the Law was simply to bring to light what is sin and to hopefully draw people to their knees recognizing their need for a Savior. But the law was never God’s heart. His heart was to have a relationship with His creation by restoring us to Himself. Therefore, you do not see God in the Law. That is simply how God had to deal with mankind—His heart was the Garden. In other words, His original design of putting sinless man in Paradise and walking with Him in the cool of the day was His heart.
But someone might say, “Yeah, but look at how God kicked them out of the Garden and removed them from His presence when they sinned!” I’m glad you brought this up, because if you look at the end of Genesis chapter 3 you will find the true reason why God had to banish them from the garden after their sin: Genesis 3:22 says, “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’- therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
You see, God’s heart in sending them out of the Garden was not to punish them; He sent them out of the Garden to protect them! He knew that the tree of life was inside the garden and if they were to partake of the fruit of that tree after partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would live forever in a dead and cursed state. In other words, if they were to eat the fruit of the tree of life then they would live forever physically in a spiritually dead condition. And God loved them too much to let that happen. Therefore, He sent them out of the garden and guarded its entrance.
So, this is how much God loves us! He loves us enough to protect us. Ultimately, this is why God gave us those commandments, statutes, and ordinances. He is not saying, “Thou shalt not…!” from the standpoint that He is trying to control us and keep things from us. It is ultimately His protection! He, as any good father, will give His children boundaries, not just because He is trying to get us to do what He wants us to do, but because He wants the best for us! We don’t tell our children to look both ways before they cross the street because it brings us pleasure to see them obey us. No, we give them those types of commandments because we are trying to protect them and because we want it to be well with them. So how can we believe that God is any different when He loves us infinitely more than we love our own children?
No, this is the heart of God, church: He is love! He is merciful! He is full of grace! And He only gets to a place of anger and judgment when His great longsuffering is tested. So, don’t ever let the devil or religion tell you otherwise! He is for you, not against you!
THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF GOD’S HEART
But I believe this why John went on to say in John 1:18 that no one has seen God at any time, but the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared Him: It is because you cannot truly see God’s nature by how He operated in the Old Testament—particularly under the law. That’s right— You do not see God in Moses because heck, not even he saw God’s face & fullness, just a part of Him. Now we see God the Father in God the Son. He (Jesus) has declared Him fully. Amen.
So, what does it mean that Jesus “declared Him (God)”? It means that He not only declared Him in Word, but He also declared Him in action. In other words, Jesus’ life—both words and deeds—reveal the true nature of the Father. Therefore, if you see Jesus, then you see God.
Sounds like that should be in the Bible somewhere…??? Oh wait, it is!
In John 14:7-11, we see how Jesus said to His disciples, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him. Then Philip responded with-- “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ to which Jesus responded-- “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.”
So, what this means to us is, if you want to see God the Father, then just observe God the Son. And then Jesus went on to speak of both His words and His works—both of which “show us the Father.”
Jesus also said in John 12:49, “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak,” equating His words to what “Thus saith the Father.” Then, in John 5:19, He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” This means that whatever Jesus did in His ministry was exactly what the Father would do.
In fact, the writer(s) of Hebrews even described Jesus as the “brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3). By saying that Jesus is the “brightness” of God’s glory means that no other example shines brighter, and yes that includes David. The phrase “express image” comes from the Greek word where we get our English word “character” from. It describes an engraved or stamped image like of one of the presidents on one of our coins. Therefore, Jesus’ life was the “express image” of God’s personality and character. Yes, the Last Adam was the express image of His person just as the First Adam was also the express image of His person. Amen!
Therefore, we have more than enough witnesses that clearly show us that Jesus fully expressed the true nature of God while He was here with us. So, if you truly want to see God’s heart, just look at the life and ministry of His Son—Jesus.
FOR GOD’S HEART WAS WITH HIM
Now while we do not have time to go through the myriad of examples we have in the life of Jesus that perfectly reflect God’s heart, let’s just look at some general things:
First of all, can you show me one time where Jesus turned someone away who came to Him for healing and deliverance? No, you cannot! And do you know why? It is because He didn’t. His reputation was that everyone who either touched Him or that He touched got healed. This is why you see examples like with Jairus, who came to Jesus asking Him to just come and lay His hands on his daughter and heal her. Where did Jairus get his faith for the laying on of Jesus’ hands? He got it from the things he heard—that whoever Jesus laid His hands on got healed. How about the woman with the issue of blood? Where did she get the faith that if she could just touch the hem of His garment, that she would be made whole? You got it! She got her faith from what she heard about those who touched Him: they all got healed as well.
So, my point is that since Jesus only did the things that He saw His Father doing, then 100% of the people that came to Him for healing received their miracle because this evidently was and still is God’s heart!
How about how Jesus had the reputation of always meeting people’s other physical needs? So much so, that He had a treasurer that had to keep up with their ministry’s monies. And even on the evening of His betrayal, Jesus sent Judas away and some thought that one of the reasons he might have told him to go do what he must do was because He was giving to the poor. And this happened in the evening time! Well, why do you think they might have assumed that? It was because Jesus evidently had a reputation of meeting people’s need all the time!
This is why I love how Peter described Jesus’ ministry to Cornelius’ household in Acts 10:38. He said, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”
Here we see what Jesus’ ministry basically consisted of— “doing good” and “healing all.” Glory to God! And again, why was this His pattern? It is because He only did what He saw His Father doing and only said what He heard from His Father. As Peter said, “for God was with Him.” We might say it this way as well—for God’s HEART was with Him! Amen!
You see, Jesus is not “just a man” after God’s own heart. He is not “just a prophet, a good man, etc.” No, Jesus being the Second Person in the Godhead is the express image of God’s own heart. And here is where the good news gets even “gooder”: Since Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forevermore (Hebrews 13:8) and while God is called “no respecter of persons” (Romans 2:11), that means that God is still willing to show us His heart today! In other words, God’s heart that we saw in Jesus 2,000 years ago is also God’s heart today and will be forevermore—for He is no respecter of persons. Amen!