Today, I want us to continue looking at “God’s Own Heart”—that is, His divine nature and what is important to Him. Again, what we have been doing is looking at God’s heart by studying the heart of the one who was said to have a heart like His, David. And in doing so, we have seen some amazing things!
Last week, we looked at how the Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ, also reflects the heart of God. We learned this by going first through several of David’s psalms and seeing how his words ended up becoming both a fulfillment of many of the things we see happening in the life of our Messiah and even were the very words He would end up speaking. So, we saw how since Jesus is called the Son of David and He and David were obviously tracking on things, it is clear that Jesus was also a man after God’s own heart—especially considering He is the Son of God Himself.
But we also learned 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: For example, we saw how the writer of Hebrews said that Jesus was “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.” And we looked at several Scriptures that validated this further: First of all, Jesus said to Philip, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.” We saw that He also said that His words were given to Him by His Father and He only did what He saw His Father doing. 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, we learned that if you truly want to see God’s heart, just look at the life and ministry of His Son—Jesus. We saw this in John chapter 1 where he said, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” So, we saw from this that we cannot truly see the express image of God’s heart in any other example other than His only begotten Son.
Then, we ended in Acts 10:38 by seeing a perfect summarization of the life & ministry of Jesus that declares His Father’s heart. Yes, Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with Him. And again, why was this Jesus’ pattern? It is because He only did what He saw His Father doing and only said what He heard from His Father. And as Peter said in Acts 10:38, “for God was with Him.” Based on what we’ve been learning, we might say it this way—“for God’s HEART was with Him!” Amen!
So, we saw that 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 better: 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 manifest 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!
ACTS OF GOD’S WILL
So today, let’s begin what I believe the Lord wants to show us this week by opening up our Bibles to the 13th chapter of the Book of Acts: I want us to look at another one of the verses that describe David as a man after God’s own heart because this particular passage is going to lead us into seeing another side of God’s heart.
You know, the Book of Acts has been traditionally called “The Acts of the Apostles.” You will find that as the title in just about every kind of Bible, but that is not an appropriate title because you see more than just apostles being used by God to perform His “acts.” On top of that, it was not any “man” who did these acts; it was the Holy Spirit doing these acts through men and women who cooperated with Him. Consider Stephen, who was simply a deacon in the church, but because he was “full of the Holy Spirit” (among other things), he did great signs and wonders. He was not considered an apostle, yet the Holy Spirit worked through him in a mighty way. Therefore, a more appropriate title for this Book of the Bible would be— “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Church”, and not “The Acts of the Apostles.”
And that is exactly the point I believe the Lord wants to reveal to us today about His heart: His heart desires for His Church to rise up and do all of His will in this lost and dying world we live in. Amen?
In Acts chapter 13, we see the apostle Paul being invited by the rulers of the synagogue located in Antioch of Pisidia to share a word of exhortation. So Paul, of course, took this opportunity to share with his countrymen the gospel of Jesus. And in his message, he makes this other reference to David being a man after God’s own heart. Acts 13:22 says, “And when He had removed him (Saul), He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”
Now notice that Paul, after saying that David was a man after God’s own heart, also described him as a person “who will do all (His) will.” So, the point I want to make this week is that both the kind and the militant things that David did for God was God’s will—not just the kind, loving, and merciful things he did. In other words, not only was David’s tender, merciful side a part of God’s heart, but even his militant side was evidently another side of God’s heart.
THE WARRIOR WITHIN
You see, David was known in his life for not just being a “good shepherd” and a “kind king”; David was also known for a good portion of his life as being a “militant warrior”—being anointed by God to bring vengeance on God’s enemies such as the Philistines. Amen? We see this at the beginning of David’s life—that he gained his popularity by being the captain over King Saul’s troops and slaying multitudes of Philistines. Yes, David was a killing machine with zero tolerance for the enemies of God. He was God’s anointed warrior.
So, my point is that just as much as all of the kind, loving things that David did were certainly a reflection of God’s own heart, likewise the absolute intolerance for the wicked and the militant attitude he possessed was also another side of God’s heart that we can see in David’s life.
And while the enemies of David were indeed flesh & blood, we are not advocating making flesh & blood our enemy here. Why? Because under our new covenant, we are clearly taught that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (see Ephesians 6:12). However, there is an enemy that we have out there that we as God’s church certainly should not let our anger sleep regarding, and that we should live our lives with the intent to destroy (see Ephesians 4:26-27). Who is that, you ask? That enemy is satan and his cohorts.
You see, church, there is a place for mercy, forgiveness and forbearance, but not with the devil. He is to be judged, condemned and not tolerated in the least. But if another human being is being used by the enemy and is unrepentant, it is sometimes appropriate to cut them off. We see this in the example of the young man whom Paul turned over to satan for the destruction of the flesh (see First Corinthians 5:5).
But here is my point: God desires us to also have that heart of a warrior that David possessed and be completely devoted to destroying all of the works of the devil and seeing those in captivity set free. As we have been learning, His heart is certainly for us individually; but we also need to be aware that He loves and cares for other people just like He does us. Therefore, His heart is for us to deliver the same freedom into other people’s lives that we are coming to see that we possess in Him ourselves. And this is always God’s pattern: for us to know we are loved and then to exhibit that love to others, for us to be comforted and then to share that same comfort with others, for us to be healed and then to deliver that same healing to others, etc., etc., etc. People are what are important to God, and we are what are on His heart. But we need to think outside the box of our own lives and begin to bring God’s salvation, deliverance and healing into other’s lives just as He has brought it into our lives.
Let’s now look at some of the things that David wrote in his Psalms that express this different side of his heart. But again, what we are looking for is God’s heart in these things that David expressed, not just what David’s own personal heart-cry was.
You see, we see this all throughout David’s psalms; we see him crying out to God to destroy his enemies. And yes, all of those psalms where David is crying out for God to deliver, vindicate, and save him is God’s heart for us. His heart cries out for us to go deliver, vindicate, save and heal His people! Let’s look at a few of them:
First off, in Psalm 58:6, David said to the Lord, “Break their teeth in their mouth, O God! Break out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!”
What an interesting petition to God, to break their teeth in their mouth!?! This certainly does not sound like something a good Christian would pray, right? But again, when we apply it to our real enemy—satan—it is certainly a reasonable request. And all of these Philistines and other “ites” were simply types and shadows of our real enemy. Therefore, we ought to certainly pray to the Lord to “break the fangs and teeth” of that lion, the devil, who walks about seeking whom he may devour (see 1 Peter 5:8). Amen? One reason that we know this is a reasonable request is because this is evidently God’s heart for David to even be requesting it.
Sure, we are to love the sinner. That is our duty—to love the world as God so loves them. But at the same time, we are to hate the sin that is both hurting them and those around them. That is what we are to be intolerant of.
Let’s back up and look at the 55th Psalm: Psalm 55:9-15 says, “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues, For I have seen violence and strife in the city. Day and night they go around it on its walls; Iniquity and trouble are also in the midst of it. Destruction is in its midst; Oppression and deceit do not depart from its streets. For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng. Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.”
Here, we see David crying out to God, asking Him to destroy the violent and strifeful people who trouble, oppress and deceive. Again, this is a far cry from the merciful David that we have seen thus far, amen?
But then David goes on to describe that this was his companion and acquaintance that was living in hypocrisy and practicing this wickedness. What this teaches us is that God’s heart is even against those who might appear godly on the outside, but on the inside are full of wickedness. Therefore, His heart desires for us to deal with the leaven that tries to leaven the whole lump. In other words, if another so-called believer is hurting other parts of the body and is unwilling to repent, then the Lord wants them removed. Someone might say, “But I thought God is love!” Sure, and that is exactly why He wants them removed—because He loves the body so much that He doesn’t want the cancer destroying the body. So He has it removed. God does not tolerate the self-righteous and unmerciful.
In Psalm 59:1-9, David says, “Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; Defend me from those who rise up against me. Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloodthirsty men. For look, they lie in wait for my life; The mighty gather against me, not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord. They run and prepare themselves through no fault of mine. Awake to help me, and behold! You therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to punish all the nations; Do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah. At evening they return, they growl like a dog, and go all around the city. Indeed, they belch with their mouth; Swords are in their lips; For they say, “Who hears?” But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them; You shall have all the nations in derision. I will wait for You, O You his Strength; For God is my defense.”
Now this is one of those psalms where I listen to hear God’s heart in David’s words. Can you hear the Lord appealing to us— “Deliver Me from My enemies”? Now, of course, we are not delivering Him personally, but what I do see His heart crying out for is for us, His church to rise up and deliver those who are created in His likeness and image from their oppressors—for whatever we do for the least of these, we have done it unto Him.
Notice that in Psalm 68:1-6, David says, “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; Let those also who hate Him flee before Him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; Let them rejoice before God; Yes, let them rejoice exceedingly. Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, by His name Yah, and rejoice before Him. A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”
This is exactly what we want—for God to arise! When this occurs, His enemies are certainly scattered! This is why I believe the Lord told His disciples that when they go out to heal the sick, cast out demons, and give to the poor, to always accompany those good works with the following declaration— “the kingdom of God has come near to you!” What that means is that when God’s representatives go about doing good and healing all who are oppressed of the devil, this is God’s kingdom in manifestation!
And I believe that is why these verses of God arising and driving away the wicked are immediately followed by the righteous rejoicing and praising God. Didn’t David say in Psalm 22:3: “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel”? The original King James version says that God “inhabits” the praises of His people. The Hebrew word describes God as being “seated” where God’s people are praising Him—seated like a king is enthroned. Therefore, I see this as saying that where God is praised, His kingdom comes. And where His kingdom comes, there His will is done—the sick get healed, the demons flee, and blessings abound! Glory!
Then I love how David goes on to describe that God is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, and how He sets the solitary in families and brings out those who are bound into prosperity. In case, you haven’t realized this, taking care of the orphans and widows is a big part of God’s heart. We see time and time again in His Word how God shows how a failure to care for those who are destitute and helpless is one of His biggest pet-peeves. And the awesome truth is this—God has already practiced what He preached! Yes, He Himself has provided and cared for the orphans and widows. Someone might say, “No pastor, I see plenty of orphans and widows still with needs. How has God practiced what He preaches?” YOU are the orphan that He has provided for! And not only did He provide for you; the Bible says He actually “adopted” you. And YOU are the widow that He has cared for—not just by meeting your spiritual needs once or twice, but by marrying you and making you His bride! Glory to God!
And this is exactly what the Lord desires for us to do—imitate Him in being a father to the fatherless and a defender of the widows! Yes, He desires for us to bring those in solitude into the family of God and those who are poor into prosperity! This, my friends, is the heart of God!
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING ON?
Therefore, I hear the Lord saying to us the following words that David uttered: Psalm 35:17-18 says, “Lord, how long will You look on?” You see, the truth is God is not the One who is sitting back and looking on at all the evil we are seeing in this world. He has called His church to “Go therefore” and set the captives free. We are called to occupy and bring light to this dark and perverse generation. Yes, the keys have been put in our hands to bring the kingdom of God to this generation. So, the Lord would ask us: How long will we look on?
Then He goes on to say to us, “Rescue Me from their destructions, My precious life from the lions…” Again, not that God Himself is in danger of destruction, but His creation that He loves dearly needs rescuing. Amen!
And then He goes on to give us one of those exceedingly great and precious promises of what things will be like at the judgment seat of Christ: “I will give You thanks in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people.” Glory to God! Can you imagine that day—when the Lord will thank you for setting His people free and will praise you among the hosts of heaven for those you ministered His love to? That is going to be an awesome day!
In verses 22-24, David goes on to say, “This You have seen, O Lord; Do not keep silence. O Lord, do not be far from me. Stir up Yourself, and awake to my vindication, to my cause, my God and my Lord. Vindicate me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.”
Saints, the Lord’s heart is that we do not keep silent concerning the injustices we see! He wants us to be near His heart, and to stir ourselves up and awake to His vindication and cause! It’s high time we wake up, church, and stir ourselves up to deliver, vindicate, and minister to God by doing this for those He has created in His image and likeness. Amen? The Lord is waiting on us!
As David said in Psalm 110:1-2— “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!”
This is, of course, prophesying of the day we are living in, where Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God, waiting for His enemies to become His footstool. Now your foot is not on your head, is it? No, your foot is a part of your body. Therefore, what the Lord’s heart desires and expects is the day when all of His enemies go exactly where they belong—beneath the feet of His body. Amen!
Oh, and saints, God’s heart is for us to know this very thing. We see this in Ephesians chapter one when the apostle Paul prayed over this church a prayer—not that God would give them something they didn’t have, but that they would see what God had already given them!
After praying these things in Ephesians 1:17-19, Paul goes into greater detail as to why they needed to see these things, and it was for the very reason David prophesied in Psalm 110. Notice he says in Ephesians 1:20-23— “which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
So, in the end of his prayer for the Church of Ephesus, Paul was praying for them (and us) to have revealed that all things have already been put under our feet and all authority in heaven and on earth have been given to us, His church. Amen!
Yes, Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 that all authority was given to Him in heaven and on earth and that’s what Ephesians 1:22 is teaching us. But Jesus didn’t stop with that. In Matthew 28:19, He says, “Go therefore.” Jesus received all authority from the Father and then turned around and delegated that authority over to the church. Mark 16:17-18 is more specific on what He’s delegated His authority to us for: “And these signs will follow those who believe: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.”
You see, this is how the Gospels ended, and it is also how the Acts of the Holy Spirit through the church begins. Therefore, it is in our hands to go and do these works in His name. Also, it is totally unscriptural to pray that God would get rid of the devil for us. He won’t do it. And there are no scriptures in the New Testament that tell us to ask God to do something about the devil. Jesus has delegated His authority over to us by giving us His name, which is above every other name. He gave us the authority and told us to take care of the devil, both in our lives and in the lives of others. He has figuratively given us His checkbook and signed His name on every check. We are the ones that fill in the rest to cash in on His kingdom being established on the earth. Yes, He is waiting on us—the Body of Christ—to put the devil under our feet!
In conclusion, let’s look at the example of David & Goliath—which perfectly illustrates to us God’s heart in defeating His enemies. One thing that is important to remind ourselves of is that although these Bible stories are certainly real-life, historical accounts of things that actually happened, they are also types and shadows of things which are to come. And as we learned last week, King David and the Son of David are one in the same by many of the things they said and did.
So, if David was a type and shadow of Jesus here, then where is the church found in this story. I believe that we are the stone that David hurled into the forehead of Goliath. Yes, the church of the Lord Jesus—the rock, not Peter himself, but the confession of Jesus’ Lordship that Peter made is what Jesus said He would build His church upon. This is what the Son of David would use and the gates of hell shall not prevail against this rock.
Now it is noteworthy that these five stones that David gathered were “smooth” stones. Well, what made them this way? It was that they came from the brook where the waters and flowed over them for some time and molded and shaped them making them more aerodynamic.
So, that is exactly what needs to happen with us. We need to allow those living waters of the Holy Spirit to flow over and through us and also let ourselves be washed by the water of His Word so that both the Spirit and the Word mold and shape to be more effective weapons for the Lord against His enemies.
Yes, church—you and I are being fashioned into the living stones whom the Lord Jesus Christ will use to knock the giant off of his feet and make the Lord’s enemies His footstool. This is our heritage, church—that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, for our righteousness is of Him.
As Psalm 149:6-9 says, “Let the saints be joyful in glory; Let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute on them the written judgment— This honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord!”
Yes, church—this honor have ALL His saints! We all have the privilege of executing on those Philistines the written judgment with the sharp two-edged sword of the Spirit in our hands. Let’s do it! And in so doing, we will give God His heart’s desire. Amen!