It didn’t happen on purpose. When I started the blog, I had no intention of writing a post every day (except Sundays) but it just worked out that way. Neither did I intend to write as much about our imperfection as I did. Maybe it’s the time of year. Isn’t January always the month of New Years Resolutions? And is there anything that drives home our imperfection as much as New Years Resolutions? It’s simple, really: if we weren’t imperfect, we’d never have New Years Resolutions, would we? Whatever the reason may be, here we are, conscious of our imperfection, but reminded that God is totally unfazed by any of our imperfections.
And we need that reminder, don’t we? We somehow believe God is waiting for us to achieve a state of beautiful perfection before he opens his filing cabinet to retrieve his plans for our lives. Isn’t our imperfection the reason why we’ve been so use-less so far? The answer is no, that’s not the reason. God’s plans for our lives have already been taken out of the cabinet. They’re spread out on the table, and God is waving us over to come and take a look and a listen.
Why have I taken so long to punch in and get to work in God’s kingdom? Yep, it’s that perfection thing. I’m not perfect, and therefore God has to take a deep sigh, sit down heavily, roll his eyes, pour Himself a cup of coffee and drum his fingers on the table, wondering when.ever.is.this.doofus.going.to.get.his.stinking.act.together??? At least that’s what I think. Is that what you perhaps think?
Think again. Who in the Bible are the giants, the ones through whom God accomplished the most? David is close to the top of that list, isn’t he? I just finished the history of David in my through the Bible journey, and I am struck by his, well, imperfection. We all know about Bathsheba-gate, and that’s not what I’m talking about, bad as it is. There’s a whole lot more where that came from. David’s oldest son raped his half-sister, and David did nothing about it. He didn’t protect Tamar (incidentally, named after a forebear who was also maltreated) and he didn’t punish Amnon. Not good. This opened the door for Absalom to exact justice, and David didn’t punish him for that either. Not good. When Absalom was allowed back in the palace, David was passive-aggressive and wouldn’t talk to him for two years. Not good.
Lest someone be tempted to pin these events to the punishment God promised David, let’s look at David’s earlier days. When he fled from Saul the first time, he stopped at Nob and lied to the priest to get food. Not good. He then continued his journey to the land of the enemy. There, he pretended to be crazy when they investigated him further. Not good. While his actions toward Saul certainly were noble, his reaction after the second time he saved Saul’s life wasn’t. First, he accused God of not being true to His promise (“Saul will certainly kill me”). Then he went (again) to the land of the Philistines. Not good. There, he murdered entire villages, women and children included, and lied to his ruler about it. Seriously not good. When he eventually was made king, he betrayed his cousin, Joab, who served David faithfully and competently, by giving his job to Abner while he was away, serving David. No integrity there. Integrity would have dictated that he talk to Joab first, but David simply was a wuss in personal relationships. He did the same thing again a few years later. After Joab rescued David from Absalom (who only dishonored him and wanted to kill him) David gave his job to another cousin, Amasa. Again, no integrity, and certainly no gratitude. Those were but a few examples to prove the point: David is down there in imperfection with you and I.
And yet, as we all know, God called David a man after his own heart. And God certainly gave David a lot of success, militarily and as a ruler. Why is that? David’s heart was after God when he was a shepherd in the field. His heart was after God when he fled from Saul. His heart was after God when he became king. And his heart was after God when he messed up. His heart was always after God. Anyone doubting this need only read a few Psalms. That was the key. That is what God wants more than anything else: a heart after Him.
God, to achieve the purposes of His kingdom, needs hearts after Him. That’s all. He does the rest. No perfection required, only pursuit after Him. In fact, the purpose of our imperfection is to drive us closer to Him. It’s the enemy who wants to use our imperfection to put distance between us and our Father. Who do we listen to?
When we pursue God, our hearts are after Him, after His own heart. And isn’t that what God called David: a man after His own heart?
It only took me 60 years to get this. How long is it going to take you?