What Made the Difference?
Have you ever thought about how small the Bible was which was read by the man after God’s own heart? He had access to those first five books, the books of Moses. Perhaps he had access to the book of Job. He would have known of the books of Joshua and Judges. The book of Ruth was more than a record of a woman from Moab—it was a story about his own great-grandmother. There were thirty other Old Testament books which would eventually complete the revelation God gave the Jews, but David never had access to them. Only nine books—yet, the truths contained in them were enough to change the shepherd boy into being a man after God’s own heart.
God knew the importance of the Bible in changing rebellious hearts and making them like His own heart. Listen to the words God gave to David (and to all the kings) hundreds of years before Israel had a king. “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and shall read it all the days of his life…that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren that he may not turn aside from the commandment…” (Deut. 17:18-20). There was enough in those first five books (those which Moses described as being the one the Levites had in Moses’ day) to change the heart of any man. Yet, hearts were rarely changed. How could this be? What was the difference in the heart of David and the hearts of almost all of the other kings? What was the difference between him and those high officials who crucified Jesus?
It was not that godly men read the Bible, and the ungodly leaders did not read the Bible. James, the Lord’s brother, said, “For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21). The ungodly Jewish leaders knew the Sabbath, the law, circumcision, punishment for adulterous women and washing of hands. The Jews preached Moses and read the law, but it only changed the heart of a few of them. Why?
Hear the words of the man whose heart was like God’s heart. “His delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night…My voice shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up…In fear I shall worship toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness…Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight…Lead me in Your truth and teach me…” (Psa. 1:2; 5:2, 7-8; 19:14; 25:5).
What was the difference? When David read the Bible, he longed for it to change him. There is a vast difference in reading the Bible every day and reading it like David did!