For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption Act 13:36
When David is mentioned, all heaven stands. That’s a fact. The praises of David in heaven are great and many. David is one of the greatest men we read of in the Bible. Why is he great? The Bible gives us the answer right here in this verse. It says that David “served his own generation by the will of God”.
What exactly does that mean?
The Swahili version of that portion of scripture says:
“Because David, after he had served the will of God in his generation, slept, and was laid to rest with his fathers, and saw corruption.”
David served the will of God! The reason that David is such an important figure in heaven is because in his lifetime, he served God’s purpose here on earth. On earth we revere men for many reasons. But God lauds men on account of only one thing – that they have done or are doing His will here on earth. Notice also how many times David is mentioned in the New Testament. It is for no other reason other than he served God by doing what pleased God.
In 1 Kings 15:5 we read,
“Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
If you put aside the unfortunate matter of Uriah’s wife, the Bible says that David did God’s will fully, and with all his heart.
Do you know how difficult it is for God to find someone who can do His whole will? It is extremely difficult. That is because man has a tendency to do his own will, not God’s. The man who can deny his own will and do God’s will is a truly rare gem. But this is the man who pleases God.
I can see God, in the days of Prophet Samuel, looking for a heart – a heart that trembled at His Word. God exalts Himself in the weak things. That is His nature. Before He ever sets out to do a task, the first thing that God does is to look for a humble heart. God looks for someone who does not exalt himself, for He can only work through such a person. And so, God looked all over Israel for someone with a humble heart. God looked and looked. Everyone was worshipping God all right; but God couldn’t find one person whose heart was humble enough to carry out His purpose.
But then God found David. David’s heart pleased the Lord. David probably did not even go to church, for he was busy tending his father’s flock. David probably did not do many things in the natural that are associated with religion. But in his heart he knew and worshipped God. He had a repentant heart. We can see that in Psalms 51.
And the minute God saw the heart of David, God knew He had found His man.
Many people think David was a great warrior. Yes, he was, but it was not in the natural. At no one time did David depend on his own strength in anything that he accomplished. In the natural, even his own brothers, who in all probability were not aware of his exploits with the lion and the bear, considered him a nobody (1 Sam. 17:28). He was so inconsequential that his father did not even think of him when presenting his sons to Samuel!
But God looks upon the heart, and He saw David had a humble heart. Even when he faced Goliath, we see that David did not depend on his own strength. He depended on God. These are the kinds of people that God is pleased with.
If we want to be used of God we must first examine our hearts. We must make sure there is no pride there. That is the very first step. God cannot deal with a man who has a haughty spirit. That also is God’s nature. In fact, since many impostors are popping up all over the church claiming to be men of God, I can show you right here how to tell a true man of God. A true man of God is humble to the core.
Did I say he is perfect? Hardly. But he is humble. And there are many things to tell you if he is humble. One of the greatest that I have found is that he is a man who easily merges with those that surround him. He does not consider himself more important than they. When you read about David in the Old Testament, you will find he had that quality. Our Lord Jesus also was so simple that you couldn’t tell Him apart from His disciples.
The quickest red flag to finding a person who is not a true servant of God today is a preacher who has bodyguards. A person who walks about with bodyguards is a person who has no idea what the gospel of Jesus Christ is about. If our Lord did not need bodyguards, why should a modern preacher require them?
But someone will say, “But David had his mighty men.”
The answer to that is that we are not living in the Old Testament. If we did so we would be required to go to war as David did. But we are living under the New Covenant. Notice that David “served his own generation by the will of God”. We must serve God in the Spirit of the New Covenant. The Spirit of the New Covenant is a Spirit of love, and of self-denial. Hence the need for the church today to understand the cross of Jesus Christ. It is only through the crucifixion of the old man, self, that we can walk in the perfectness of God, which is LOVE.
That is why Paul would tell the Corinthians,
“And I, brethren, when I came to you… determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).
There are great men according to this world. But there are also great men according to God. We must choose the right path to true greatness.
[Below: A young Nyaturu boy in rural Singida]