Book Review for “A Heart Like His”- Christian Non-Fiction

What the book is about: “We all go through times when we feel insignificant or times when we feel certain that we have experienced a degree of failure from which there is no return. This is not a reality we experience alone, but is one that a man after God’s heart experienced as well. From shepherd, to refugee, to king of Israel, David exhibited the purest virtues and the most heinous sinfulness, but through it all his relationship with the Lord continued to grow.

A Heart Like His looks at this bond of mutual love and admiration between a man who was not unlike any of us and the one true God who is all good and all powerful. Beth Moore walks us through an exploration of David’s incredible life, drawing spiritual insights from a man who boldly fulfilled his divine destiny not merely by what he did, but who he loved and served. Bringing lessons from David’s life to bear on your own, this picture of a man who loved and followed God will help you to serve with a heart focused on Him no matter the circumstance.”

My Review: This is a great book on the life of David. His faith, his love for God, his sins, and his redemption. We all go through some stuff on our path. If you need some encouragement this is a good book for you. Beth Moore is an inspiring author. I can recommend for teens and up. I give it five stars.

Get it here.

 

Chronicles of the Kings

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God called David, “A man after my own heart.” He made a promise to this young shepherd-turned King, to always keep one of David’s heirs on the throne. This line started with David’s son Solomon and went all the way to Jesus (who still happens to occupy the throne and hold the title of “King.”) Starting with Solomon, David’s heirs were not faithful to continue in their father’s footsteps. During Solomon’s reign he worshipped false Gods and led the people astray. So God separated His Chosen People into two groups, Judah who kept the throne of David and ruled in Jerusalem and Israel who ruled in Samaria. Israel had a string of leaders who mostly fought for the throne, while Judah continued to have David’s seed as their kings.
Read Kings and Chronicles as well as the prophets and you will quickly see that the very people that God had chosen to have as His own, turned their backs on Him. They built altars to foreign gods, worshipped and sacrificed to false gods; they even profaned the temple that David had dreamed of building for the Lord. They went as far as even sacrificing their own children to Molech, by throwing them into the mouth of the idol, which was a fiery furnace. Over and over through the lineage of those kings from Judah and Israel we read how they “did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and led God’s people to do the same.
Every now and then there was a light in the darkness, a prophet who really heard from God, a king who “did good like his father David.” They were few and far between and all but one, never removed one hundred percent of the idols and temple of the false gods, or restored the temple worship, sacrifices and the law. Only Josiah, who was only eight years old when he became king, did. He tore them down, pulled the altars to false gods out of the temple, crushed them into dust and let them wash away in the river. Then at the ripe age of sixteen he is given the book of the law that had been sitting unused in the temple. Once again God’s children renewed their faith in Him and they repented and followed the practices set up by God.
At his death, the next king, his very own son, “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” I read all of this and the one thing that stands out the most (no, not the stupidity of the people) is God’s patience! If I was Him, I would have given up after Solomon…So why did He keep trying? Why did He come when they remembered to call on Him? Because of the promise He had made to King David, all those generations ago, generations of unfaithful, hard hearted, stiff necked and rebellious people, that a son of David would always sit on the throne.
So even in His anger, when He used other nations to chastise the people and scatter them from their own land, He preserves the seed of David and a “Remnant” of His people. God was faithful to an unfaithful people. He preserved the line from David all the way until Jesus, the Son of David.
So what has God promised you? He is faithful. If He said it, He will bring it to pass. It might not always look like its coming, or come when we want it to, but it’s there. He is always watching over his word to perform it, (Jeremiah 1:12). Beware- don’t sin as the children of Israel and Judah did and expect God to move on your behalf. He clearly states in Zephaniah 3:12, that the remnant He preserved were, “A humble and lowly people and they will take refuge in the name of the Lord.” Those are the ones who inherit the promises.

Consider Solomon

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Solomon was given the royal title of King. He wasn’t his father, King David’s, firstborn son. He was the son of Bathsheba. David and Bathsheba committed adultery while she was married to Uriah the Hittite. David had him murdered in battle and married Solomon’s mother. David and Bathsheba conceived a son in their sin. After the man of God corrects David and he repents, the child dies. Then along comes Solomon.

David’s desire was to build a house for God. But due to his “bloody hands” and because he was a “man of war”, God couldn’t allow it. In his place, Solomon spent seven years with literally hundreds of thousands of men to build the temple, using the finest stones, lumber and precious metals. If you read I Kings and II Chronicles you can see the splendor. David designed it. Solomon built it.

When Solomon was to become King, God asked him to ask for whatever he wanted. As a new young King, with big shoes to fill, he asked for wisdom to rule the people. God was so pleased that He gave him the wisdom as well as riches and honor. In all time, Solomon was the wisest and richest man ever to live. A great beginning.
So what happened after his coronation and the building of the temple that takes us to Ecclesiastes 1:1-11, Where he exclaims “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the teacher. “Utterly Meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

I believe chapter 11 of I Kings explains the heart of the matter.”Solomon loved many foreign women.” It’s not just that he married them, when it was forbidden by God, “You must not intermarry with them, because they surly will turn your hearts after their Gods.” No, the real issue was his heart. He “held fast to them in love.” And sure enough, “as Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to God, as the heart of David, his father had been” (verses 1-5). He ended up following other gods, including Molech who demanded they sacrifice their children by fire.

It’s pretty simple, really. God knows what is best for us. When we listen, things are good. When we don’t things aren’t so good. Sure bad things happen to all of us; after all we live in a fallen world that is under Satan’s control. But do you want to face them alone, or go through them with God on your side. It’s kind of a no-brainer.

What do you love more than God? Who do you love more than God? You might not have 700 wives and 300 mistresses but what takes your attention away from Him? What comes first? Whatever it is, you better get your priorities straightened out. Otherwise you’ll end up like Solomon screaming, “Meaningless! Meaningless!” We’ve all been there, hind-sight and all of that, thinking “that was a waste”. Solomon went from dedicating the temple where God showed up in such a way, physically, that the priests couldn’t even stand in his presence, to building places of worship for false gods, and he was the wisest man ever…

I like to think that I am pretty smart. I like to think that I have a pretty good relationship with God. But if Solomon in all of his wisdom and glory could fall so far…

Priorities. We all love our families, our Churches, our hobbies, interests, some of us our jobs, etc. But we need to love God best, or as my granddaughter used to say “the most-est”. Now, we don’t do that by “working” ourselves up like an actress getting ready to film the big love scene. Instead it’s something we work at, and work towards. Build a relationship that nothing else can replace or compare to. Choose God, first and foremost.

By the way, Solomon recognized his error and set his priorities straight, but how much time was wasted? What kind of example did he set for his son’s who were destined to rule? Read the rest of Kings and Chronicles. Things didn’t work out too well for his descendants, most of whom “did evil in the sight of the Lord”. What example do you want to leave?

Lessons from the Life of David

I love reading the Psalms. Many of which were written by David. His is a “Man after God’s own heart” according to God himself-mine too. David is real in his worship to the Lord. He isn’t perfect and tells us all about his faults, fears and sin. After committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband (along with several other soldiers) murdered, he writes Psalms 51, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love: according to your great compassion blot out my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” He remembers his days as a simple shepherd boy in Ps. 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me to lie down in green pastured; He leads me beside quiet waters.” David lets us know when things got tough for him, Ps. 69, “Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters and a flood overflows me. I am weary with my crying, my throat is parched; my eyes fail while I wait for my God,” and then David always hopes, expects and declares God’s salvation, “O God, in thy greatness of thy loving-kindness answer with thy saving truth.”
David may have begun his life as a simple seventh son of a shepherd, but his heart of thanksgiving, his desire to see God, his determination to magnify the Lore, were all things that God could use. Was David perfect? Obviously no, ask his multiple wives, his concubines, his children…but God used David mightily. He wrote songs and praises to his God. He conquered the enemies of God as a mighty warrior, and he ruled as King over God’s people for 40 years.
Another lesson to learn from David, he didn’t work his way to the top. He humbly watched his father’s sheep and when asked came and sat at the feet of Saul, who was tormented by evil spirits, to play his harp and bring relief to his king. Before he fought his first real battle, if you disregard the lion, bear and the Giant, Goliath, God anointed the simple shepherd boy with the heart of worship as King. Even after Samuel anointed David, he was content to wait for God to place him on the throne. He steadfastly refused to harm Saul in any way, contrary to the advice of his own men. He repeatedly said, “Touch not God’s anointed” and even killed the messenger who came to proclaim the death of Saul and take credit for his undoing.
We are all human, including the great men and women of faith that we find in Scriptures. They feared, sinned, got weary and sad. They lost heart, friends, family and some even their lives. But like David, they loved God, and were willing to be used by him. So to me, the most important lesson to be learned from David is to keep your passion for the Lord white hot, fan the flames of love that is in your heart by praising Him, even when things aren’t going as planned or as hoped for. Wouldn’t you want to hear the Lord say, “That’s a man after my own heart” about you?