Edith Sadlier - David's Character - Guildford Special Meetings - October 1953

During the year Dulcie (Gibbs) and I have been reading through the life of David. No wonder the testimony of God of him was, “he is a man after Mine own heart.” This may not have been the opinion of others but what does it matter what others say, it is what God says that carries weight. The thing that made David the man he was, was how he spent his time in the wilderness.

We have a saying, “A man is known by what he does when he has nothing to do.” I suppose David had quite a bit of spare time when he was looking after the sheep. During this time, he learned to play on the harp. There are different ways of playing on the harp and, at first Saul was taken with the evil spirit, but as David kept playing, the evil spirit departed. It is a wonderful thing to be able to soften the hardness in another’s heart.

David learned to use a sling and encourage others to do the same. He killed Goliath but, beforehand, he chose five smooth stones. I am not going to say what they were but I think two of them could have been confidence and courage. His confidence in the living God was wonderful. He completely trusted God’s power and only looked at the giant as an enemy of God, an uncircumcised Philistine.

Then he had courage. How many times through God’s word are His people exhorted to have courage? It has been said, “A brave man is one who goes forward despite his fear.” In the wilderness David also killed the lion, the roaring lion in his own life, the human nature that would destroy the lamb or the Christ. We could say David thought more of the lamb than he did of his own life. He also killed the bear or those who would hug us to death and take the place God should have.

At the age of seventeen years, he was anointed king. Surely we can say the preparation of his heart was of the Lord. When God chose David, he said to Samuel, “He who ruleth over men must be just.” If anything could be said of David it is this, that he was just and he truly loved his enemy. He could have killed Saul twice and he did not glory in his death or in the death of Jonathan, but rather he mourned to think the Philistines were given such occasion to boast as to be able to kill God’s anointed. He respected his place and respected his family.

David sinned, as of course we all do, but he knew what true repentance was and after he had allowed the ark to be carried on the new cart the same as the Philistines did and saw Uzziah’s death and the mistakes he made, he turned and sought God’s counsel and had it carried in God’s way by the priests. It speaks of God’s servants handling the Gospel. The epistle of John says, “If any man sin, he has an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” But, “I write unto you that you sin not.”

Many years of toil and tears were worked into David’s life before he came into his own. Even Saul had to admit David was a better man than he was and that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to David. When David was going through some of his worst trials, it was said he behaved himself wiser and wiser; he was moulded and fitted for his place. He could have got proud knowing the position he would take but he didn’t, he always leaned the right way but it is important in our youth to be moulded. “The youth of today is the father of tomorrow.” For some years he had rest, then his son Absalom dealt so treacherously. Even his beloved son sought to wrench the kingdom out of his hand. David, when he heard Absalom’s plan, simply left Jerusalem. He said, “If I have found favour in the eyes of the LORD, He will bring me again and show me both it and His habitation.” As they went, Shemai stoned him but David would not let anything be done to him. I think that is a sad and beautiful picture. David, in his great depth of sorrow, went up Mount Olivet bare-footed and weeping as he went, accompanied by those very loyal men of his who stood by him all through the years. Perhaps why they were so loyal was because David was loyal to them. So much depends on ourselves and what our influence is, whether we would encourage others.

His final effort was to prepare Solomon to take over the Kingdom. No wonder he was called, “The sweet psalmist of Israel.” He also came of the tribe of the lion of Judah and would turn back for none. He had the marks of the Lamb of God, willing to be led, and his gentleness and his meekness worked into him caused him to say, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” This mark is seen in God’s faithful all down through the ages.