To get a heart that God treasures will require you to see things through his eyes; to see things as a father watching over his children. And at times that means you will have to rejoice with those who rejoice, even if you don’t particularly appreciate them, while at other times it will require you to mourn for those who deservedly suffer for their sin. To get that kind of heart, you will need to often pray, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
Going Deep // Focus: 2 Samuel 1:11-12
David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news of Saul’s death. They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.
David was a deeply flawed man, but he was organically good. His heart was right—it overflowed with uncontainable praise at appropriate times, it humbly repented at appropriate times, it expressed outrage at appropriate times, and it expressed unmitigated grief at appropriate times. David’s heart, though imperfect, was never inauthentic. That is why God loved and favored David so highly; that is why God himself said, “In David, I have found a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22)
As we come to 2 Samuel, King Saul and his son Jonathan, along with the Israelite army, have suffered a devastating defeat. The king has been killed, along with his loyal son Jonathan. The godless Philistines, enemies of Israel and enemies of God, have heartlessly taken the bodies of the king and prince (along with two other of Saul’s sons), decapitated them, nailed their bodies to the walls of the city of Beth-Shan, and placed Saul’s armor in the temple of their god, Ashtoreth as the ultimate insult to Israel and to God. (I Samuel 31:10)
But remember, David had been Public Enemy #1 in Israel by King Saul’s decree. On numerous occasions, Saul had tried to kill him, in spite of David’s loyalty and effective service as a captain in the king’s army. David had lost his reputation, had been separated from his family, surrendered his wife, and sought refuge among the horrible Philistines—all because of Saul’s maniacal jealousy and unwarranted hatred. Saul had abandoned God, and God had abandoned Saul, and as a result, the king was dead and the Israelites were under Philistine occupation.
So why would David mourn so deeply for Saul? Why memorialize the king and his son in a song that will forever be remembered as “How The Mighty Have Fallen?” Why? David had a heart after God, that is why. He cared deeply for the things God cared for, and God cared for Israel and Saul, even though Saul had long ago left the Lord. As the prophet Samuel had grieved for the backslidden Saul (1 Samuel 16:1) so the Lord surely grieved for the man he had chosen as the first king of his people, a man whom he had promised a never-ending dynasty (1 Samuel 13:13). As God’s heart was touched, so was David’s.
And David mourned. He and his men mourned the death of Saul and Jonathan because Jonathan was David’s closest friend. They mourned because Saul, although corrupt, was nonetheless their king. They respected his anointing and the office he represented. They mourned because the death of even a corrupt king meant that even the innocent in the nation of Israel would suffer—which they did under the brutal occupation of the Philistines. They mourned because the routing of the Israelite army and the loss of the king and his sons meant a humiliating defeat for God and his people at the hands of the godless. David mourned because David cared for the things God cared about.
So here are the questions: Do you? Do the things that break God’s heart break yours? Or do you gloat when the other teams loses, when people get what they deserve, when someone’s misfortune means advantage to that which you are loyal? It is certainly natural to take pleasure in the defeat of those who had abandoned God and opposed his way.
Yet there is a higher way—one that God treasures. It is to see things through his eyes; to see things as a father watching over his children. And at times that means to rejoice with those who rejoice, even if we don’t particularly appreciate them, while at other times it means to mourn for those who are utterly broken, even when they deservedly suffer for their sin.
David has a heart after God. So can you. But one of the things that will require is to allow the things that break the heart of God to break yours. Willing to do that? If you are, you will get a heart that God treasures.