Having a Heart Devoted to God
It has been a very busy week for me so I have decided to quote a section of Robert Mclaughlin’s commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes. This particular quote about King David caught my eye last week and provides me with a lot of comfort. Before I provide the quote I feel like I need to provide some background information on what I was brought up to believe regarding rewards in heaven.
Colonel Thieme always taught that there are going to be large differences in heaven between those believers who led a victorious life that glorified Christ and those believers who blew it and failed (Christian losers). Many dispensational teachers will teach this doctrine and it should never be interpreted to imply that believers can lose their salvation. At times Colonel Thieme would teach that rewards in heaven were an all or nothing proposition: we either execute the Christian Way of Life in time and receive full rewards in eternity or that we blow it and are eternal losers. This could be very stressful since I certainly do not want to be an eternal loser.
Robert McLaughlin has pulled together a nice write-up on the Judgment Seat of Christ (aka the Bema Seat) where all believers receive their “performance evaluation” by Christ and receive their rewards. Here is a quote:
Gain comes from the exploitation of positive volition toward doctrine hence advancing in predestination. Loss comes from cosmic living hence failure to execute the spiritual life. At the judgment seat of Christ it is performance not salvation which is the issue, 1John 2:28.
At this point there is a temporary shame which will be experienced by loser believers who did not take advantage of all that God had provided for them. Therefore because of the judgment seat of Christ there is no equality in heaven. The exercise of our free will in time leads to varying decisions on the part of all hence some will use their freedom to choose for God’s plan and others will use their freedom to ignore God’s plan.
So this all leads up to the quote I mentioned from Bob Mclaughlin’s commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes regarding King David (the commentary can be ordered here). King David was a great man and he also messed up in truly tragic ways. If King David could be a man after God’s own heart after all of his mistakes then there is hope for me too.
Having a heart devoted to God does not mean sinless perfection. It simply means that in spite of any failures or sins, you continue to go forward in the plan of God and not let these things stop you. This passage says that Solomon’s heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of his father had been. The scriptures testify to David’s devotion to the Lord.
- First Kings 14:7-8. “Go, say to Jeroboam, Thus says the Lord God of Israel, Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over My people Israel, and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it up to you – yet you have not been like My servant David, who kept my commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only that which was right in my sight.”
- First Kings 15:5. “Because David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.”
- Acts 13:22. “And after He removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’”
Let’s note quickly some of the failings of this man who the Bible says kept all of God’s commands and followed God with all of his heart to do only that which was right in God’s sight;
In 1 Samuel 21:1-10, David willfully sinned and lied. The result of his lie was that an entire city was wiped out (city of Nob). Then he faked madness and made the enemy believe he was crazy, and as a result hundreds died (1 Sa 21:1-15). In Deuteronomy 17:17, the Bible says, “A king shall not multiply wives for himself,” yet we read in 2 Samuel 5:13, “David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem.”
Then David failed in his responsibility as the King in 2 Samuel 11:1. He should have led his troops in battle, but he stayed home in Jerusalem instead, and as a result, there was disaster on the battlefield. There was also disaster on the home front in Jerusalem. While he was in Jerusalem in 2 Samuel 11:2-27, he ended up in certain shocking sins. He committed adultery, he got a man drunk, he committed murder, and he willfully lied. In 2 Samuel 6:1-13, he did not honor the Word of God. He purposely disobeyed God’s command about the ark. He ignored the Word of God and men were killed as a result. In 1 Chronicles 21, David rejected the promises of God and even questioned the faithfulness of God by numbering the people. Joab, his chief of staff, warned him about this unbelief, but he did it anyway. As a result seventy thousand people died. He also failed to completely forgive his son Absalom. David, who was oriented to grace better than almost anyone in life, failed to use grace with regard to one he loved dearly.
This, my friend, is the story of the man who the Bible says “kept all of God’s commands and followed God with all his heart to do only that which was right in God’s sight, who never turned aside from anything that God commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite, and did all of God’s will.” What does this reveal to all of us? God did not expect Solomon to be perfect; however, He did expect him to have a heart devoted to God. The same principle applies to all of us believers. Sadly, Solomon pursued other gods, as do many Christians today
The Eight Experiments of Man
A Commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes
By Robert McLaughlin