How David Forged a Unique
Relationship with God
by Harvey L. Diamond
David is known as the man after God’s own heart. What was unique about David, was his strong desire and relentless pursuit to know and understand the heart of God, carry out the will of God, and experience the glory of His very presence.
David had a strong measure of trusting faith. He learned how to relate with God. He experienced vibrant life in God through the art of devotion. He learned the value of actively engaging with God.
David’s strong active faith came from his fear of the LORD, and a heart that yielded to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that I will seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the delightfulness of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
Learning the Way of the Shepherd
David meditated on God’s goodness and character day and night. He truly kept God’s word in his heart, and on the forefront of his mind. He valued God’s presence. He knew the Holy Spirit. He was grateful for God’s grace and learned the way of mercy. He learned to trust God in all his endeavors.
Therefore, he continually reminded himself of all God had done for him. He identified with God as his LORD and shepherd. Read Psalm 23 slowly and let its richness minister to your soul.
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not lack.
He makes me to lie down
in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
David clearly maintained an experiential, heart-to-heart relationship with God. He knew Him as friend, shepherd, provider, and LORD. He received the comfort of God’s Spirit, relishing in His presence, experiencing His rest and refreshing. He found peace and gleaned wisdom from God’s word.
Dwelling in the Lord’s Presence
David experienced the precious presence of the LORD. He knew His habitation was a place of glory, joy and peace. “LORD, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells.” (Psalm 26:8)
David had his share of difficult times. Through many trials he experienced God’s love and intervention. Over the process of time, he experienced God’s justice. He came to understand how the LORD brings life into balance, and sets His people in an even place—a place of level ground. “My foot stands in an even (level) place; in the congregations I will bless the LORD.” (Psalm 26:12)
David experienced the LORD’s peace in times of distress. He experienced God’s security and goodness—broad places. “He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:19)
David, therefore, expressed his gratefulness for God’s unending mercy. “I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy, for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities, and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a wide place.” (Psalm 31:7-8)
David understood that the special places of the LORD are also holy. They are places of intimacy with the LORD where we separate our self to God to experience the heart of our heavenly Father. “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place?” (Psalm 24:3)
David experienced special times with the LORD in special places because he had a special place in his heart for God. He had a heart for the will of God to be done, above his own.
Fighting With a Passion for the Cause of God
David’s strength was his passion for the LORD. That passion came to light, as he exhibited boldness and courage to stand up for the cause of God.
When the army of the Philistines came against the people, their champion, Goliath, advanced, mocking God and scorning the people. David’s heart swelled with passion. “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? Is there not a cause? Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:26-32)
Goliath retorted, scorning David’s boldness and confidence. He threatened to kill David, leaving his carcass for the birds. David further responded with conviction and courage, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with 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 defied....that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:45)
David prepared for the battle, not in conventional armor or with conventional weapons—but with simple trusting faith and weapons he had—a sling and a stone. They approached each other, and God gave David the victory.
Walking in Compassion for Man and
Reverence towards God
David enjoyed the sweet presence of the LORD. He hoped others would experience the same nearness to God. “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no lack to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.” (Psalm 34:8-10)
David valued God’s sovereignty, and gave Him due honor. “The earth is the LORD’S, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalm 24:1-5)
Building Character through Relentless Trusting Faith
David had his share of trials and tribulations. He had to learn, like all mankind, that God fashions character in the furnace of affliction. He knew the feelings of betrayal and abandonment. He experienced the scorn and bitter envy of others close to him. He also knew shame and humiliation.
Through all his trials, David persevered in his relentless struggle to find peace in the inner man through trusting faith in God. He wrestled in his heart with God, and through his unceasing worship, experienced the joys of God’s salvation. David’s prayer diary is preserved in the Psalms to give us a glimpse of the passion of his heart and interaction with God.
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; lest my enemy say ‘I have prevailed against him’; lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13)
What faith, what passion! God was truly the source of David’s strength.
I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I will trust; my shield and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. The pangs of death encompassed me, and the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears. (Psalm 18:1-6)
David truly allowed God to nurture his faith. “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be shaken. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” (Psalm 62:5-7)
David continuously experienced God’s faithfulness. Such cultivated courage, which gave him strength to continue the course of life. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait in faith on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:13-14)
Receiving the Key to God’s Favor
David learned that the key to God’s favor is a surrendered, yielding, humble heart. “The LORD near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
David welcomed God’s correction. He valued and sought the Lord’s examination and correction. “Examine me, O LORD, and try me; try my mind and my heart.” (Psalm 26:2)
When he sinned, David allowed his heart to receive the conviction of the Holy Spirit, seeing the ugliness and effect of sin. David knew the LORD was His source of forgiveness. “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)
David, therefore, could come clean before God, maintaining his covenant position with God. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight-- that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge.” (Psalm 51:2-4)
In fact, David understood that seeking purity of heart was the key to maintaining an active relationship with God through fellowship with the Holy Spirit. He was so close to God, that he could sense when he grieved the Holy Spirit. He actually felt the presence of the Holy Spirit; and likewise, lack thereof. He continues in Psalm 51, verses 10-12 with such meditations.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
What David came to understand is that God requires a heart of integrity; one that leans towards continuous change in the direction towards righteousness and purity before God. “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of much transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:12-14)
David, therefore, allowed God’s Spirit to condition his heart and progressively cultivate measures of trusting faith as he journeyed along diverse pathways in the wilderness. He grew from a shepherd boy into a king—a true servant of the LORD. It’s no wonder many Jewish people looking for the Messiah-King repeatedly called Jesus, “Son of David.”
Paul carried forward such a perspective—or framework as he taught what it meant to live, “being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:2) in union with Christ.
Paul truly embraced the essence of the greatest prayer the Lord prayed in John 17…”that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
May the Lord bless you as you cultivate such union with Him.