“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them” (Psalm 78:72).
“Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).
Pastor John Ortberg shared these thoughts about David in a recent publication: David’s heart was characterized, right down to the core, by stubborn love. In Psalm 78:72 we read that David shepherded the people with integrity of heart. The idea here is that his heart was undivided. It’s the opposite of fickle. He loved people with the loyal heart of a shepherd who kept loving the sheep, even when they were obstinate.
Think about how David loved Saul, even when it was hard. King Saul became increasingly corrupt and tormented by pathological jealousy of David. Saul was constantly deceiving David and on several occasions he tried to kill him. What’s most amazing is how, through it all, David loved him.
Twice David could have killed Saul — and he would have been justified in the eyes of most people — but he refused to do it. When Saul finally died, David wrote one of the most beautiful poems ever written as a lament for him, “How the mighty have fallen! . . . O daughters of Israel, weep for Saul!” How could David find tears for a man like that? He knew all about Saul’s faults, better than anybody, and he knew about Saul’s possibilities, and he loved him to the end.
At the end of Psalm 23, David declares, with a passionate heart, “I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” He loved God with a stubborn love that would not relent. He didn’t say, “I hope that I will dwell in the house of the Lord.” He didn’t say, “It may be that I’ll dwell in the house.”
David had the heart of a racehorse. He declared for all to hear, “I’m staying in the house. I know I make a mess sometimes, and I may spill on the rug, and knock down the lamps, and break all the expensive stuff. I know what a pain it is to have me in the house, but I’ll tell you what: You’re going to have to drag me out of here kicking and screaming. I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” That was the heart of David and it can be our heart as well.
Think of how David loved people and loved God with a stubborn love.
Thank God for a person in your life who has exemplified stubborn love for you. How has their life taught you about the heart of God? Think of a person whom you can love more stubbornly.
Thank God for opening his house to you through the life, love, and sacrifice of Jesus. Thank God for loving you that much. Declare to God that you love him and that you will joyfully dwell in his house forever!
As I come to the close of my time here at Hope Church, I pray that these passages exemplify the love I have had for each of you and perhaps even the love you have had for Brenda and I. Of course, it hasn’t always been “sugar and spice and everything nice” but we have managed to make it through the hard spots and still love each other.
We really appreciated and enjoyed having lunch together yesterday after worship with a number of you and it caused me to think of the love a pastor has to have for the people under his care and the love that those same people have for their pastor. Brenda and I will always be thankful to God for allowing us the privilege of serving here with you for these last 11 years and please know that we will continue to pray for each of you even when we are in our new home.
However, I will still be here for 2 more Sundays and I look forward to seeing you in worship. This coming Sunday we will conclude our series on “The Holiness of God” using Revelation 4:1-11. I hope you can be with us.
Until then, HAVE A GREAT WEEK WITH JESUS!
Sincerely His then yours,
P.S. I wanted to let you know that Shirley will be on vacation beginning this Friday, July 21, and continuing through Monday, July 31. She will be back in the office on Tuesday, August 1. I will be in and out during the week of the 24th -28th taking care of movers and house closing. So, if you call the church office, please leave a message and I will be checking messages several times during the day. If you need to talk to someone sooner, please call my cellphone @ 813-579-8994.