During those 15 years, David is hailed as hero after his defeat of Goliath, loved by the people and the army, as well as the king's own son and his daughter, but also becomes a fugitive when King Saul through jealousy and fear seeks to kill the young hero.
David's life as a fugitive molded him into the king he needed to be, but as Gene Edwards in his book, "A Tale of Three Kings" points out, during those years he spent on the run from the mad King Saul, when he was hiding in caves, "These were David's darkest hours. We know them as his pre-king days, but he didn't, He may have assumed this was his lot forever. Suffering was giving birth, humility was being born. By earthly measures he was a shattered man; by heavenly measures, a broken one." (emphasis mine)
David had justifiable motive, opportunity and means to kill Saul twice, but he does not.
Why was David called a man after God's own heart?
It wasn't his victories that caused him to be so loved and chosen by God.
It was his heart, or more accurately, the state of his heart.
David chose to honor God by honoring a king - even one as mad as Saul - God had placed upon the throne through his anointing.
We often face or witness injustice in our lives toward us or toward those around us. We are tempted to "help God out" by taking action to right the wrong, defend the wronged, let justice be demonstrated.
But Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19-21:
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Nothing in our lives happen by coincidence. To acknowledge His hand in every facet of our lives - whether good or bad - is to demonstrate our faith and trust in Him who is in control.
Do you desire a heart like David's?
Then let God be God.
Let Him be your Defender. Let the days in the cave of your hardship brought on by another be a moment to mold and shape your heart so that it will be just like His.
And from such heart, praise as this can be lifted up to God in His honor and glory.
--from Nov. 12, 2006 Sunday worship service