David: A Man After God’s Own Heart
By Ron DiCianni
Sept. 30, 2012
Most of us know David as the shepherd boy who courageously fought a 9-foot-tall giant named Goliath. Even though just a boy, David had already slain a lion and a bear with God’s strength. Recognizing God’s power to deliver him from any enemy, David had the courage to face the giant when he overheard the taunts Goliath made to the army of Israel.
Armed with only five smooth stones and a sling, David defeated Goliath and became a national hero. But he didn’t let his heart believe his “press,” as the saying goes. His heart continued to be humble.
King Saul could not tolerate David’s fame, and he began to think of David as a potential usurper to his throne. Saul’s evil heart concocted plans to kill David, but God spared David each time. Eventually, Saul’s fear came true. David, a mere shepherd boy secretly anointed by Samuel years earlier as king in place of Saul, finally took the throne.
Throughout David’s life, he sought to honor God and rule the kingdom of Israel with righteousness, but he was not perfect. He failed miserably many times. The most notorious failure was when he stood on a rooftop and lusted after a woman named Bathsheba, who was bathing within eyesight.
David committed adultery with Bathsheba, got her pregnant, and then conspired to have her husband killed, thus becoming a murderer. David tried desperately to hide his sin, until a prophet named Nathan brought it out in the open.
How, then, could God have considered him a man after His own heart? Humanly, it makes no sense. However, spiritually, God looks at the heart of a person. It was not the size of David’s heart that impressed God, but the depth of his heart. If we could have peered into David’s body with a spiritual X-ray, we would have seen a large capacity to love and serve God. That is still what God looks for today. God doesn’t look for perfect people because, outside of Jesus, there are none.
Throughout David’s life, he maintained that huge capacity to love God and others, even though he knew what it was like to be honored, served, hated, mistreated and betrayed even by his own wife and son. David resided in palaces and in caves. He slept in the king’s quarters and in the fields.
More than once, David ran for his life, and was even forced to pretend he was out of his mind to keep from being killed. But David knew God’s anointing was forever, and he served his God and his people until his death.
As I began to think of how to portray David in the mural, my first instinct was to show him as a king but with a twist. David is one of three royal figures in the mural that I show kneeling before Christ. These earthly “royals” recognized that their exalted human status is paltry when contrasted with the true royalty coming out of the cave tomb. (Esther and Daniel are the other two.)
David is also showing humility. Wearing blue, the royal color of Israel, trimmed in gold, he bows his head and holds out his crown to Jesus. All of us will someday get the chance, like David, to lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus in recognition that He deserves what we were temporarily entrusted with. Even kings know the right posture when confronted with Christ. How I wish that many who are now in leadership would be so wise as to bow their knees here, because they will later on, when they stand before God.
David, a prophetic writer, had once written, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1, NIV).
Sound familiar? Jesus cried out those words while on the cross, when His Father had to turn away because of all the sin Jesus willfully took on himself. David even described this scene of Christ at the cross: “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (Psalm 22:16-18).
Kneeling at the tomb, David now sees with his own eyes the other half of the story — the risen Christ!
The world-famous artist Morgan Weistling consented to pose as David for me. Morgan has been a longtime friend and has a relationship with Christ. I guess he reminds me a bit of David, not only physically, but also in his heart for God. Morgan fell into posing for David so naturally that for a second or two we were transported back to biblical times; it felt as though we were watching David himself. Artistically, it might be the best pose in the painting for me.
From Sacred Art by Ron DiCianni (Temecula, Calif.: Tapestry Productions, 2012). Excerpted with permission.
RON DiCIANNI is an internationally recognized artist. His paintings depicting the four cardinal doctrines of the Assemblies of God are on permanent display at the Fellowship’s national offices in Springfield, Mo. For more information visit TapestryProductions.com.
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