Integrity of heart
1 Kings 9:4-5
“As for you, if you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I command and observe my decrees and laws, 5 I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.” NIV
As Solomon was about to begin his reign, the Lord set before him a premise and a promise – if he walked before God like his father David had done, in integrity of heart and uprightness, God would establish his throne forever. In other words, if he had his father’s heart, God would bless him.
God made David His benchmark for integrity and uprightness!
But wait a minute – wasn’t David the man who conspired to kill Uriah so he could have Uriah’s wife? How could God make this man His benchmark for integrity and uprightness? Surely there were others better qualified for this honour.
There is something very revealing in all this. First, the Lord is merciful. When David cried out to the Lord for forgiveness (see Psalm 51) after the whole sordid matter with Uriah and Bathsheba, the Lord forgave him and cleansed him of all unrighteousness. The Lord really does wipe the slate clean and then declares over the repentant heart: “I will remember [your] sin no more” (Jer 31:34). David’s transgression was forgiven and forgotten.
How wonderful to know that when we cry out to God for forgiveness, He not only forgives us but He really does wipe the slate clean. In His eyes, that sin is never again held against us! We might remember it. Satan certainly tries his best to lay a burden of guilt on us over it but the Lord does not remember it anymore. He even holds us up as an example of righteousness!
The second thing was that although David sinned against the Lord in a moment of weakness, He loved God like no other person in the Bible. He never turned against God and he never bowed down before another god. It was eventually said of Solomon that his heart “turned away from the Lord.” It was said of Jeroboam and others that their “heart was not fully devoted to the Lord.” Of David alone was it said that he followed the Lord with all his heart. Some served God out of duty or a sense of righteousness but David served God because He truly loved the Lord. God calls that “integrity of heart.”
God must value “integrity of heart” a great deal to single out David and hold him up as a benchmark for all who followed after him. He did not hold up Abraham or Moses or Joshua or Gideon or even Samuel, but He held up a shepherd boy who rose to greatness on the strength of his integrity of heart toward God.
David is surely an example to us: we may stumble and fall but by God’s grace, we too can walk before God in integrity of heart and uprightness.