For many years I was puzzled reading several verses in Scripture. What the Lord said about King David was one of those: “Then they demanded a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin. After forty years, he deposed him and made David their King. Of whom he approved in these words, I have selected David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, who will carry out my whole purpose” (Acts 13:21-23).
What was so special about David that the Lord would say that about a premeditated murderer, adulterer, warrior boy/king, poet, musician, sinner, saint, lowly shepherd boy, and giant slayer? Why was it that God Himself would call David “a man after my own heart?” The writer of Acts is merely quoting from 1 Samuel 13:14 on attributes that Yahweh was looking for in His future King of Israel “who will carry out my whole purpose.”
The key to understanding David is in many places of Scripture, but in I Chronicles chapters 15 & 16, David gives detailed instructions and preparations for moving the Ark of the Covenant. They are very specific on the general care and procedures to move the Ark to another location. It is clear that King David took great joy in doing this and he makes sure it is a very festive time for the people of Israel. There is music, logistics, food, and a procession. Much of the traditions and rubrics of Judaism can be seen here in what evolved over time to become the practices of the Catholic faith surrounding the altar. The OLD became a NEW Covenant established by the Incarnation and the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, and we have our elder brothers in the faith to thank for laying the groundwork.
I Chronicles 15: 14-16 speak of “approaching Him in the right way, with the duties of the kinsmen as cantors, with their various instruments of music, harps and lyres and cymbals, to play joyful tunes.” In I Chron. 15: 28-29, the Ark is brought to Jerusalem and King David is dancing with joy in front of it as it is being processed to the Citadel of David. His wife is Michal the daughter of King Saul, who is now deceased. As Michal watches David from a window dancing and exultant, she despised David in her heart.” David is dancing wildly exuberant, caught up in the joy of the Spirit of God, and Michal is critical of him dancing in front of his servants only with a loincloth half- naked. As a result of her derision, mocking David’s actions of joy (2 Samuel 6), David cursed her womb and she remained childless.
The Key to Understanding the Heart of David’s Many Characteristics is His Joyful Praise. Here is the way to the heart of God and David knew it. It is the absolute key to understand who David was to carry out “my whole purpose.” David was not the type of person to be affected by what others thought of him if he felt God demanded something from him. In essence, peer pressure was not something that concerned Him. His goal was to please one person — and that was God.
We get a little more understanding of just how profound and important praise is to God when we see how important praise was to King David, “a man after God’s own heart.” Several chapters ahead in Chronicles, there is detailed information given about the Temple, the Ark, and its rules. King David is now an old man and is bequeathing his kingdom to his son, Solomon. In chapter 23, verses 1-5 provide more instructions to give God His due. “A census was taken of those Levites thirty years old and upwards. On a count of heads their number was thirty-eight thousand; twenty -four thousand of these were responsible for the service of the house of Yahweh; six-thousand were scribes and judges; four-thousand were keepers of the gate; four-thousand praised Yahweh on the instruments David had made for that purpose.” Then David divided the Levites for specific tasks servicing the temple.
Four thousand praised Yahweh on the instruments David had made. With the world still precisely not understanding how the Great Pyramids of Giza were constructed in Egypt, I can’t think of any structure that had this many people involved with just administration. This number is mind numbing for those in the Temple just praising God. We are dealing with a jealous God who wants no others before Him — He demands it. Honoring God is also the very first Commandment. Jesus is clear: the way to inherit the Kingdom of God is to have the heart of a little child. A child will sing no matter what they sound like regardless of what others think of them. Youth does some tender things compared to the so-called sophistication that comes with older age.
Winston Churchill writing in his History of the English Speaking People, said of Joan of Arc, “she finds no equal in one thousand years.” Joan of Arc as a young woman led an army into battle with a simple three-pronged approach: 1. She did exactly as the Lord instructed her under strict obedience with no interpretation of her own, 2. She made her army go to confession before battle, 3. She made the army sing hymns of praise and worship in battle. Joan of Arc was easily conquering in every battle no matter the odds altering the landscape of France and Europe until the politics of the dauphin got involved.
The greatest we can do in our age of the New Covenant is worship in the form of Adoration. Saint Mother Teresa said Adoration was the single most important thing she ever did in her order. Once they started Adoration as a part of a daily regimen, she said the Sisters of Charity grew.
As Jesus said in His hour of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, “could you not watch with me for one hour?” When was the last time you had an hour of Adoration to worship Jesus? There are 168 hours in a week, 672 in a month, and 8,064 hours in a year. Can you not waste one hour with Him?
The greatest thing we can do to change the culture is to change ourselves. Praising God as if no one is watching will be a remedy for the cultural descent to Gomorrah where we are sliding. It will transcend the daily battles and bring joy and peace of soul in an increasingly fallen world.
As King David wrote, “One thing I ask of Yahweh, one thing I seek: to live in the house of Yahweh all the days of my life, to enjoy the sweetness of Yahweh and to consult in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).
Jesus, I Trust In You