In the Old Testament, David is a man praised for serving God with a “whole heart.” As I contemplated what that meant, I saw something that helped me understand this concept when I looked at the life of Solomon in contrast to the life of David.
As David was getting close to death, he prepared Solomon to reign without him and to build the Temple. Notice how this scene is described in 1 Chronicles 28:10,
“And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. aIf you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.”
David charges Solomon to serve God with a whole heart and a willing mind. The word for “whole” is talking about the concept of an “undivided” heart. Solomon is to have an undivided heart in relation to his loyalty toward God.
The word “willing” is describing the expectation of “delighting in,” or “taking pleasure in” serving God. Solomon was to willingly and gladly have an undivided heart toward God and take delight in knowing and serving him.
Notice how this need is further described by David’s comments to Solomon in 1 Kings 8:61 which says,
“Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”
David taught Solomon to have an undivided heart in relation to his allegiance to God. David had a whole heart toward God and could say that to Solomon even though he made significant mistakes. How can that be? One other passage that shows a contrast between David and Solomon and helps to explain a “whole heart” is 1 Kings 11:1-4 which says,
“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the LORD had said to the people of Israel, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.”
The concept of a “whole heart” specifically relates to allegiance to God above any other gods. God wants no competition for my allegiance or for my ultimate affection and obedience. David had a whole heart even with his shortcomings. He maintained a loyalty to God that never waned. Solomon, though, allowed his heart to be turned away from God to other gods because of his disobedience in marrying so many foreign women.
Father, above all else, help me to have a “whole heart” toward you. May my choices not lead me astray from my allegiance to you above anyone or anything else. By your grace, this is something that can be true of me throughout my life even though I fail and sin. Thank you for the encouragement of this concept of maintaining a “whole heart.”
Following Jesus with you,