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  David Was A Man After God's Own Heart
by Anne Coyle

      David Was A Man After God's Own Heart (Acts 13:22)

What kind of a man  would that be? How can we too be men and women after God’s own heart? Perhaps as we look at David’s life we will see and understand.

David was born  in Bethlehem, our Lord Jesus  was also born there. In Micah 5:2 it says: But thou Bethlehem Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Bethlehem means House of Bread.

David was the youngest  son of Jesse ,the Bethlehemite.

Samuel the Prophet  was told by God to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the King of Israel. Seven sons came before Samuel but  none  received the blessing from God, there was one son left- David who was in the hills shepherding the flock. He was sent for and when he came Samuel saw that David was ruddy and of a beautiful countenance, and handsome. The Lord told Samuel “Arise anoint  him, for  this is he”. So David was anointed  and the Spirit came upon him from that time on.

  I have read a great book called “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm” by Philip Keller. It opened windows of imagination  and knowledge to me since I am a city woman  and know nothing of sheep. Philip Keller was a shepherd at one time of his life and so he writes with know-how and authority. He took me into a unknown wonderful world , my heart has yearned  to mingle among the flocks so many times to learn  the Shepherd’s ways  and the sheep that humbly follow.

David was a shepherd, he wrote Psalm 23  from his own experience, what he learned  as a shepherd  he applied to his relationship with his Lord  and Shepherd. All the ways  of the sheep can be applied to our own ways, they are stubborn, easily frightened, fight among themselves,  are attacked by mountain lions, foxes and even birds.

  The shepherd is there always on duty to guard them, nourish and tend to their every need.

David  said:
The lord is my shepherd I shall not want” 
He knew  how he took care of his sheep ,  they didn’t need anything, he supplied it all. They never wanted for anything.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.. David  knew the sheep would only be happy and peaceful  if the pasture was safe and lush, otherwise the sheep get agitated and frightened and will stampede. It was his work to make sure everything was  in good order  for his sheep. He was totally responsible for their well being. They couldn’t do a thing for themselves.

He leads me besides still waters. Sheep are very anxious and nervous, a rapidly moving brook can frighten them and they will race away, perhaps fall and hurt themselves. So the shepherd  finds a quiet brook that is peaceful  and  where the sheep can get nourishment  and be calm

He restores my soul. Sometimes a sheep will be “cast down”  which means  it loses its balance and tips over .Once it is down  it can easily flip over to its back  particularly when the wool is heavy  before shearing time. When this happens unless the shepherd finds the sheep within a short time the sheep will die or   the ever present lions will devour it. So the shepherd seeks out his lost sheep. Since he knows them all by name he knows who is not in the flock. When the shepherd comes  he lifts the sheep back onto its feet, rubbing  its legs , perhaps even carrying it back to the flock. How many times has Jesus lifted  us up , even carrying us  until we can get back on our feet?

He leads me in the  paths of righteousness for His name’s sake..  The shepherd’s reputation depends on the wellbeing of his flock,  other shepherds look  at the flock and judge  the shepherd. Therefore  he guides his sheep in paths that he has scouted out leading them to safety and wellbeing. Again  if we depend on our Shepherd He will lead us in right paths for his name’s sake.

Though I walk through the valley shows another challenge for the shepherd. This relates to the seasons changing when the shepherd takes his flock to the high mountains for the summer , the journey there is fraught with dangers, thru valleys and  troubling brooks, animals  close by day and night. The shepherd sleeps with his flock, never leaving them as they go through the dark valley. No matter how dark our journey may be at times, know that the Shepherd is with us, his power and concern never leave us, day or night.

They rod and staff comfort me. This really gets to me.  Picture David with his staff and rod under his arm. The rod is like a bully stick ( that policemen use)  David was an expert at throwing  it  to ward off predators at all times. No wonder he could use a sling to kill Goliath, he had practiced hundreds of times while guarding his sheep. At that time in Israel every shepherd had his own rod, he made it  from  a  young tree trunk, shaped it for his own hands. The shepherd would also toss the rod to break up a spat between the sheep, yes, they annoyed each other at times. The staff was a great walking stick and a sign of his authority. I love this picture, the author says some well loved sheep would walk next to the shepherd and the shepherd would rub his staff along their bellies as they walked. Ah, to walk so close to our great shepherd. His rod and power are with us  as He guards us against the enemy.

Thou prepares a table before me. The shepherd went up to the plateau before the sheep came to make sure everything was in order for his sheep. There were certain wild plants that were poisonous , he would find  those and  destroy  any. He made sure the pastures were lush  and there was amble room to move to another area. He placed a supply of salt and minerals  around at various spots on the range. Predators were numerous watching  for a stray sheep, the shepherd   was constantly on the alert to take care of his sheep. Though it was a great time for the flock , the shepherd never stopped  providing for them. Just like Jesus with us, we don’t realize how much He cares for us and has our welfare in His heart..

Thou anoints my head with oil. I love this image, up on the plateau the flies and gnats are horrible, they get in the sheep’s noise and eyes, they drive the little one crazy. He cannot help himself very well so the shepherd prepares a ointment, a mixture of oils that ward off the bugs. He rubs each lamb on the head with the oil and it immediately calms the lamb and gives him peace. I often think how the oil of the joy and the Presence of the Holy Spirit has given me peace in many situations.  Also it signifies   the battle of the mind is under control of the Spirit  when applied to our soul, thoughts and emotions.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me--   ah, the shepherd has taken care of his little flock, all is well,  they are fed, watched over,  provided for ,they are a happy little flock. Everything  goes very well. When the Shepherd  provided  the flock  grows, is calm and happy and knows  it is loved. So too  when we realize  what our Shepherd has done for us, how He has provided we are at peace , all is well , He is on guard and we are safe.

David had a true shepherd’s heart and love for his flock.  He was a shepherd, He called his Lord his shepherd and Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We are blessed.

No wonder God loved David, his heart was gentle and humble, courageous, caring, tender just like the true shepherd, Jesus.

We pray to be like him in all things and take care of the flock God has given each of us, to the honor and glory of Jesus our Shepherd.

Thank God for David the shepherd

Thank God for Jesus, the good Shepherd

Thank God we are the sheep of His flock

Let’s enjoy !!!!!!!

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