Many are unimpressed with David. They look at his history of adultery and murder and wonder why God would say he was a man after His own heart. To gain a true view of David's heart, you need to include in his history, a view of the Psalms. They bring out the true flavor of David's heart.
The following is a listing of the Psalms known to be written by David: Psalms 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68, 69, 70, 86, 101, 103, 108, 109, 110, 122, 124, 131, 133, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145.
For a total of 72 out of 150 Psalms in the book of Psalms. Some of the other Psalms are uncredited and are probably written by David. David essentially wrote half of the book of Psalms. It's interesting to note that only one of the Psalms (Ps. 127) might be credited to having been written by Solomon. Solomon is reported to have written many Psalms, but his are not included in the national hymn book of Israel. This is probably due to his last days apostacy. David remained faithful to God, so his have been retained.
In these Psalms you'll see a humble heart. David declared his righteousness, but he also declared his sinfulness. He had a view of himself in a biblical perspective. David truly knew the God he worshiped. He knew the true character of God. That kind of knowledge only comes about through God's revelation.
From David's history, we see how he deals with his enemy, King Saul. He could have slain him, but the fear of God was so strong in David, he refused to take vengeance on God's anointed. When Saul demoted David in rank, we're told David behaved himself wisely. He wasn't a power monger or filled with arrogance. He was a humble man. In fighting Goliath, he manifested pure faith, when his own family scorned his faith.
Now that I've mentioned some of his good points, let's look at those ugly spots. The Bathsheba/Uriah incident and the numbering of Israel.
These are obviously black spots. The accounts show David was brought to repentance. We know that after repentance, God accepts us as clean.
Notice that though David repented of both incidents (his repentance was real, for God accepted it), David still suffered consequences. With the Bathsheba incident, the consequences lasted until the day of his death.
When David fled Absalom's invasion, he was cursed by Shemei (2 Samuel 16:5-10). (The whole scene was part of the consequence of the Bathsheba incident.) Shemei's curse was unfounded, based upon what Shemei was saying, yet David accepted it. He was humble under the hands of God. God previously promised David the kingdom, yet David didn't arrogantly hold it as his own. He knew God's revealed will, yet wasn't demanding of God that He do as He had spoken. He was ready at a moments notice to have God change His will and destroy David, if that was God's will. What a humble heart! I love it! It showed David didn't serve God for personal gain, but because he loved God. It proved David had the same kind of heart Job had!
Looking at the numbering of Israel incident, notice the timing of God's judgment (2 Samuel 24:10-14). David came to repentance before the plague fell. God sent Gad, the prophet, to inquire of David as to what judgment he would choose after David had repented, not before. David humbled himself prior to when all out destruction came. Even in the very midst of this failure, this speaks well of David's heart.
Applying The Lessons of David, for Better New Testament Living:
It needs to be remembered, that David was under the Old Testament dispensation. God gave the Law for one real purpose, to show mankind he's incapable of living up to God's standard. The history of Israel shows the complete and utter failure of a nation under such a system. Even for an individual man of the quality of David, failure comes. Very few have a spotless record in the Old Testament (Joseph is pretty good and so is Jeremiah). The point is, though David had the Holy Spirit UPON him, he didn't have Him dwelling IN him after the New Testament fashion.
The kind of victorious, overcoming life that God wants for His people cannot come by the Old Testament system. Under the New Testament, we have a better way provided. Unfortunately, most Christians never receive it. That better way is pure grace through and through. Being crucified in Christ, He lives out His perfection through us (NOTE: Does not assist us, lives through us!).
Hopefully we're attentive to the Old Testament failure, so forsake the old way of trying to live for God. Failure comes that way, even for the people with hearts that please God. Even if the failures aren't big like David's, the failures still come. Even down to having short tempers! Now we're provided the fruit of the Spirit. It's a free gift, if only we'll quit trying to live right, just give up and let God take over by faith.
Under the Old Testament, we appealed to future grace for forgiveness through the sacrifices. We did our best to live according to law and suppress sinful desires. Hopefully we succeeded more than failed, and hopefully no failures reached the Bathsheba scale.
Now the picture changes, we don't live by suppression, we live by exchange! When our temper wants to flare up, we (under law) bite our lip and put a smile on. We look like we did God's will, but really didn't. We still failed. We still lost our temper. We just hid it. The New Improved Exchange Program, initiated by God in approximately 33 A.D. says, "out with the old and in with the new". Here are some verses to help see the way:
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
Did you notice who the doer is? Look again for the same thing and through whom it's done:
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen Hebrews 13:21
Notice the "divine power" supplying all the ability and the "divine nature"being shared with us in the following:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:3,4
Paul, himself, declared he was working under the new improved system. He was allowing God to work through him:
Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Colossians 1:29
I've got one last beauty to end this on:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Paul outlined his abiding in the cross of Christ and experiencing Jesus' power of life living through him. He also named the power by which he maintained such a victorious life - FAITH. Not feeling or effort, but simple faith.