Developing a heart for God means wanting to live to please God for the rest of your life. You can find out what pleases God through his Word. The Bible contains stories about real people like us. David is one of those biblical examples, and we will observe in this study how he became a man after God’s own heart. At every turn, there is rich application for women of our time.
This first lesson centers on David’s youth. We see the prophet Samuel’s call to find a replacement for disobedient King Saul. The Lord directs Samuel to a shepherd boy named David, whom he anoints as the future King. David is called to serve as a musician in Saul’s court. He dramatically slays the giant warrior, Goliath. Throughout this message, Mrs. Kraft interweaves teaching about the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Saul and David, as well as in our lives today.
The second lesson follows the cultivation of the covenantal friendship between David and Jonathan. We all long for self-sacrificing friendships such as theirs. Mrs. Kraft pulls principals of a godly friendship from the story of David and Jonathan, and offers wise counsel on ways in which we can cultivate faithful friendships that mirror God’s loyal love toward us. She refers to Titus 2 to show us a biblical model of inter-generational friendship and mentoring among women.
1 Samuel 18-20
1. Read 1 Samuel 18:1-4. What do you think Jonathan and David have in common that attracted Jonathan? In what ways did he prove his loyalty to David? (19:1-7; 20:1-42; 23:16)
2. What did Jonathan believe about David’s future? How would this affect his own future? What covenant did he make with David? Why did he ask this? Describe Jonathan’s character.
3. Why do you think we need friends? What is special about the friendships of women? List the qualities that you look for in a friend? Are you that kind of friend to others? What are you willing to do or sacrifice for a friend? How do you need to improve?
4. Read 1 Samuel18:5-30. What made David popular with the people and the army? What effect did his popularity have on Saul? What did he begin to suspect? (15:27-29)
5. Read 1 Samuel 13:8-14; 15:2-3, 17-23. Why did God reject Saul? What do Saul’s responses tell us about his character?
6. Read 1 Samuel 17:25; 18:17-30; 25:44. Did Saul keep his promise? How did he try to use his son and daughters to get rid of David? Why did he give Michal to another man, even though she was married?
7. Have you ever tried to avoid or escape what you knew for certain was God’s will for you? What was the result? Do you need to confess this as sin and submit to God’s will in a specific area?
In this lesson, David is a fugitive pursued by King Saul, who seeks to kill him because of jealousy. David’s vulnerability produces panic and prompts him to act in uncharacteristic ways—making wrong decisions and taking wrong actions.
Mrs. Kraft cautions us not to let troubles set us up to succumb to terror. Follow by faith as God leads, step by step. When bad things happen to us, it does not mean that God has left us or is not caring for us. God is loving and forgiving with us, just as he was with David throughout this dangerous period of life.
1 Samuel 21-24
1. Read 1 Samuel 21. What was David’s emotional state when he escaped from Saul? How did this contribute to his deception of Ahimelech? How did Ahimelech help him?
2. Read 1 Samuel 22:6-23. How did Saul appeal to his men? What did he accuse David of doing? Have you ever been in a situation where you were the one at fault and yet were able to twist it so you made yourself into the victim?
3. What were the consequences of Ahimelech innocent help? How did David respond when he heard the news?
4. Read 1 Samuel 21:10-15; 17:4. What was ironic about David’s flight to Gath? What did his terror cause him to do? What has he not done so far?
5. Read 1 Samuel 22:1-5. How many and what kind of men gathered around David? How many more came (22:13)? Why do you think they came to him? How did he respond to God’s instructions through the prophet?
6. Read 1 Samuel 23:1-29. Before he defended Keilah, what did David do? What did Saul do when he heard David was in Keilah? When he heard, what did David do again? How does this contrast with Saul?
7. Read 1 Samuel 24:1-22. Why did David refuse to kill Saul? What does Saul’s response to David tell us he knew? What lessons do you think David learned through his experiences as a fugitive?
8. Do you depend on God for guidance in the decisions you must make? Are you willing to wait for God’s timing? Have you ever taken matters into your own hands when God wasn’t fast enough? What was the result?
One of the most disappointing and devastating circumstances that faces women is to be unhappily married. In this lecture, Mrs. Kraft draws many wise applications from events in the life of Abigail (whose name means “source of joy”). She was a beautiful, intelligent woman married to a mean, miserable, selfish man, Nabal (whose name means “fool”). She lived to please God, and God made her life significant. Abigail provided food for David and six hundred men through her wise and resourceful actions, also saving the lives of all the men in her household from David’s murderous rampage. Upon Nabal’s death, Abigail became David’s wife.
Mrs. Kraft counsels women not to let difficulties control their life and retard their spiritual growth. The effect on your character will be determined by your response. Anger that leads to impulsive actions is destructive. Rely on God to take retribution for an offense or to bring about good from the bad situation. Draw strength from the Holy Spirit, feed on God’s Word, and keep in constant communion with God through prayer. By faith we develop a heart for God.
1 Samuel 25-26
1. Read 1 Samuel 25:1-44. Why was David’s request reasonable? What did Nabal’s answer indicate about himself? About his view of David? About his concern for his household?
2. Was David’s reaction reasonable? What did he intend to do? (v. 13, 33, 34) Why do you think he was so angry?
3. Do you think Abigail was unsubmissive and rebellious when she did what Nabal refused to do? What was her reason for her actions?
4. What did it take for Abigail to face an angry warrior and his 400 men? How would you describe the way she appealed to David? What does she focus on? What could she have said instead?
5. What does she say to encourage David’s faith? What does David’s response to a woman’s counsel tell us about him? Why did she wait till the next morning to tell Nabal?
6. Do you think submission means not giving advice to your husband? What do we learn from her about giving advice to a man?
7. Read 1 Samuel 26:1-25. In view of 1 Samuel 24:20, why do think Saul still sought to kill David? What principle controlled his actions towards Saul? What did that imply?
8. What did David try to prove by going down into the camp to take Saul’s spear and jug? What was Saul’s response? Do you think David would have been safe if he had gone back with Saul?
9. Do you have the courage to do what you know is right in God’s eyes even when your closest friends advise otherwise?
When we allow fear to discourage, demotivate, and paralyze us, we quit trusting God and go out on our own. Our wrong thoughts lead to wrong actions. In this lecture, Mrs. Kraft directs our attention to such behavior by David, as he (like us) fluctuates between great faith and panic. Panic led him to worldly strategies, which led him away from God. In association with Saul’s consulting the witch at Endor, Mrs. Kraft strongly cautions against dabbling with the occult.
When David turned back to God, God sustained him, welcomed him, and encouraged him. Each of us must examine our hearts to see whether we have gone our own way and need to turn back toward the Lord. We must turn back if we’re going to develop a heart for God.
1 Samuel 28:3-31; 31:1-13
1. Read 1 Samuel 28. What was Saul’s emotional response when he saw the Philistine army? Why do you think the Lord would not answer him when he asked him for guidance? (Isaiah 59:1-2) When you sense that your fellowship with God is broken, what should you do?
2. What did the Law say about mediums and spiritists? (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27) What was the penalty? What had Saul done with them previously? Why did he turn to one now?
3. Why do you think the medium cried out when Samuel appeared? Why did Saul say he called for Samuel?
4. What message did Samuel give him? How did that news affect Saul? How did the medium show compassion for him?
5. Read 1 Samuel 31. How did Saul’s sons die? How did Saul die? How did the Philistines mutilate and display their bodies? How did the men of Jabesh Gilead show them honor and respect?
6. Read Deuteronomy 18:9-22. What does God consider every occult method of determining the future? Who were his people to get guidance from? How would they be able to tell a false prophet from a true one?
7. How does God guide His children today? How can we be sure we are doing what is right? If someone calls himself a prophet, how do we test whether he is genuine?
8. Have you ever been involved or dabbled in the occult, e.g., Ouija boards, fortune telling, astrology, séances, psychics, games, etc.? It’s a very serious thing for a believer to do any of these things, because it gives Satan a foothold in your life. If you have done so, confess it as sin and never do it again.
As the book of 2 Samuel opens, Saul is dead and David learns that his dear friend Jonathan is also dead. David composes a beautiful lament in their honor, which was to be taught to the men of Judah. David enters a period in which he developed his heart for God while waiting to hear from God. David was then anointed king—first of Judah, and then of all Israel—at the age of thirty. He was the king to which all the future kings of Israel would be compared. He made Jerusalem his capital city, and God gave the Israelites victory over the Philistines. Even though battle was familiar to David, he inquired of the Lord before each battle and depended on the Lord’s aid in the battle.
In her lecture, Mrs. Kraft instructs us that a heart sensitive to God seeks God’s will and obeys it. A godly heart seeks God for refuge and trusts God to keep his promises. Those of us who are his children by faith can trust God to keep his promises, including all promises regarding this life and the next. All of life should be our ministry, and we must depend on the Lord so that our efforts are fruitful and glorify God. God can use even our ordinary efforts to make an eternal impact on those in our sphere of influence. Let the Holy Spirit develop in you the character of Christ. That is the secret to developing a heart for God.
2 Samuel 1-4
1. Read 2 Samuel 1. What did the Amalekite messenger expect David to do when he heard of Saul’s death? Why did he credit himself with killing Saul? What reward did he get?
2. What do you think is unusual about David’s lament in view of his last ten years? What does that tell us about his spirit? What do you think verse 26 meant?
3. Read 2 Samuel 2:1-7. What attributes did David display as he waited to become king over all Israel? What did he trust God for?
4. Read 2 Samuel 3:6-21. Why did Abner transfer his loyalty to David? Why did David insist that his wife Michal be returned? How did Abner keep his part of the agreement? Why do you think Joab killed Abner?
5. Read 2 Samuel 2:8-4:12. What is impressive about David’s sense of justice regarding the deaths of Saul, Abner and Ish-Bosheth? Joab was the son of David’s sister, Zeruiah. What do these chapters suggest about his character and the problem he would be to David?
6. Read Romans 5:3-5 and James 1:2-4. What does suffering accomplish in our lives? Do you remember this in your trials? Have you ever experienced waiting for God to answer prayer? What helped you to endure without losing faith?
7. Read 2 Cor 1:8-11. What is a major reason for God to permit us to suffer? How can we help each other? What will the result be?
Both King David’s territory and the wealth of Israel had expanded. David desires to build a permanent house for the Ark of the Covenant. God tells him that not he, but his son, will build the house. God promised to establish David’s house forever, which is accomplished through Jesus Christ (sometimes called the Son of David in Scripture). The Star of David still appears on Israel’s national flag. David’s covenantal grace toward Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, reflects God’s grace toward us.
Steadfast faith is not for cowards! It requires courage and perseverance. Bold, aggressive faith takes God at his word.
2 Samuel 7, 9
1. Read 2 Samuel 7. What did David want to do that demonstrated his heart for God? What were the reasons God didn’t let him? (1 Chronicles 22:8; 28:3)
2. Read 2 Samuel 7:8-11a. Why does God remind David of what He did for him in the past? Why does He want us to remember His past works for us? What of His attributes does He want us to trust? How does encourage your faith?
3. Read 2 Samuel 7:11b-29. What does God promise David for the future? Who would build the temple? (1 Kings 5:5) Since Israel has had no king for over 2500 years, what does “forever” (v. 16) refer to? Why is it significant that Jesus is called the “Son of David” fourteen times in the Gospels?
4. What does David’s response indicate about his relationship with the Lord? What did David understand God had made with him? (2 Samuel 23:5) What was conditional? What was unconditional?
5. What kind of king was he? (2 Samuel 8:15) How was he used as a standard by which God measured the kings of Judah who succeeded him? (1 Kings 11:6; 14:8; 15:3, 11 and 2 Kings 14:3; 18:3)
6. What do you think it means today to be a woman “after God’s heart”? What did Jesus say was the requirement for friendship with Him? (John 15:5) Do you need to obey Him in some area?
7. Read 2 Samuel 9 and 1 Samuel 20:14-17, 42. What covenant had David made with Jonathan? How did David try to keep his promise? Why did he do it?
8. What did Mephibosheth fear David would do to him? What was Mephibosheth’s perspective on his life? How did David show “God’s kindness” to him? How did he go above and beyond what was required in the covenant?
9. Do you only do what is required or do you ever go beyond in generosity and love?
10. How does this story illustrate God’s provision of salvation for us? Find and list the parallels.
Even men and women who love and serve God can yield to temptations that result in bitter consequences to themselves and others. At about the age of fifty, David’s lust for women and his idleness contributed to his committing adultery with Bathsheba. In doing so, he violated not only her, but also her family, who had loyally served David. Rather than confessing his sin, David executed a murderous cover-up process that led to more sins, holding God and his Word in contempt. For the rest of his life, David bore the scars and consequences of this sin; however, in grace, God forgave him.
Mrs. Kraft warns us that if David, a man after God’s own heart, could succumb to such a sin, so might we. Freedom comes from taking accountability for our actions. In confessing sin to God, we don’t escape consequences, but God forgives and forgets our sin forever. The Word of God counsels us to flee temptation the moment we recognize it.
2 Samuel 11-12
1. Read 2 Samuel 11:1-5. Where should David have been? What should he have done when he saw this beautiful woman? Do you think she had a choice in this situation or not? What was David’s predicament when she sent word she was pregnant? (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22)
2. Read 2 Samuel 11:6-27. What was his purpose in sending for Uriah? How did Uriah prove to be more devoted to duty than David? What traits does David display in sending Uriah back carrying his own death warrant?
3. What character traits did Joab display in this sordid episode? How many of the Ten Commandments did David break? (Ex 20:13-17) What does verse 27 prepare us for?
4. Read 2 Samuel 12. What did Nathan appeal to when he approached David by telling him a story? What was David’s penalty based on? (Ex 22:1) Why do you think he was so angry?
5. Why did God recount what He had done for David? What was God’s view of David’s sins? What was the extent of his punishment? What do we learn about what’s wrapped up in the package of sin?
6. What was David’s response when confronted with his sin? What does Psalm 51 tell us about him and his relationship with God?
7. What did he do when his son became ill? How can 2 Samuel 12:23 comfort those of us who have lost a young child? How did God demonstrate what his forgiveness is like? (2 Samuel 12:14)
8. What is your response when confronted by a sin? Do you blame someone else for provoking it? Do you accept responsibility and make restitution or apologize if necessary? Do you see it as sin against God? How would that be a deterrent?
David was a great king, but a poor, passive parent. This lecture focuses on the tragic relationships David had with his children, and the consequences of David’s weak leadership of his family.
In this lecture, Mrs. Kraft offers wise applications from these passages for parents and for those who are experiencing trouble. She contrasts love vs. lust, and advises us on forming godly friendships. She concludes her lecture with this application: “Developing a heart for God means submitting to his will, whether it seems good or bad to us—whether it’s a consequence of our own sin, or just the suffering of life in a fallen world. It means waiting for his help, his comfort, encouragement, while being confident, as David was, of his goodness and his love for us.”
2 Samuel 13-19
1. Read 2 Samuel 13. How would you describe the “love” Amnon had for Tamar? Define true love. What kind of friend was Jonadab? Since Amnon followed his advice so readily, what did he lack?
2. Describe Tamar’s character. Was she responsible in any way for what happened to her? How did this crime affect her life and future? What should David have done? What did he do?
3. What was Absalom doing for two years? Was he justified in avenging his sister? Why didn’t David send for him after three years since he longed to see him?
4. Read 2 Samuel 14. Was David completely reconciled with Absalom when he let him return? What do we learn about Absalom in these two chapters? What qualities (good and bad) do you see in David as a father?
5. Read 2 Samuel 15. What strategies did Absalom use to prepare to seize the throne from David? What do you think of David’s response to news of the rebellion? What demonstrates that he was still a great warrior?
6. Read 2 Samuel 18-19. What adjectives would you use to describe Absalom? Why do you think David wanted Absalom’s life spared? What was more realistic about Joab’s view? What contributed to David’s grief over him?
7. Have you been unfairly, even brutally treated by a family member or friend? Or have you ever felt betrayed by someone you trusted? How did it affect you? Did you retaliate? Did you withdraw? Go into depression? What alternative do we have when we suffer? (1 Peter 2:21-23)
8. Why is it so hard to forgive? Who benefits most when we do? What is our basis for forgiving others? (Eph 4:29-32)
Stricken with guilt after pridefully counting his fighting men, David confessed. A deadly plague ensued among the Israelites, which ended at the threshing floor of Araunah. David purchased the threshing floor on Mount Moriah for an altar and sacrifice, but it is also the site on which Solomon would build God’s house. David prepared exquisite materials and plans for Solomon’s use in building the temple, and then encouraged Solomon for the task.
Stricken with guilt after pridefully counting his fighting men, David confessed. A deadly plague ensued among the Israelites, which ended at the threshing floor of Araunah. David purchased the threshing floor on Mount Moriah for an altar and sacrifice, but it is also the site on which Solomon would build God’s house. David prepared exquisite materials and plans for Solomon’s use in building the temple, and then encouraged Solomon for the task. At the end of David’s life, his eldest living son, Adonijah, attempted to snatch the throne from Solomon, but David restrained Adonijah and installed Solomon. Before all the assembly, David expressed praise to God and faith in his covenantal promises. David reigned for forty years, and then “rested with his fathers.”
Mrs. Kraft teaches that pride always lurks within us to steal credit away from God. There is a difference between satisfaction and joy in a job well done and pride that makes us feel superior or self-sufficient. Just as David liberally contributed lavish materials for God’s house, we should liberally invest in God’s work, for a future we will not see. Train children to understand their spiritual heritage of faith, and to understand that they will be truly prosperous if they live to please God.
2 Samuel 24 and 1 Kings 1-2
1. Read 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21. Compare 2 Samuel 24:1 with 1 Chronicles 21:1. How would you explain this? What do you think David’s motive was for taking a military census? Why would this displease God? (2 Samuel 22:2-4; 47-51 )
2. When David was conscience-stricken, what did he do? Why did he choose the punishment he did? What does 2 Samuel 24:17 reveal about him?
3. Seventy thousand men died because of David’s sin. What does that teach us about the fallout of the consequences for our sins? Can you remember a time when your sins affected others or their sins affected you?
4. What attributes of God are revealed in this incident? Why did He command David to build an altar? Why did David insist on paying for the threshing floor? What principle is here for us?
5. Read 1 Chronicles 22. What did David choose as the site of the temple? What preparations did he make for it? What does that tell us about him?
6. How do you handle disappointment? Do you get mad at God? Become bitter? Give up? How would 1 Thessalonians 5:18 help you gain the right perspective? Do you need to do this now about some situation?
7. Read 1 Kings 1. What plans did Adonijah make to usurp the throne before David died? What does 1:6 confirm about David as a father?
8. Read 1 Kings 2:13-25. How do we know that Adonijah still thought he should be king? What did Solomon realize that Bathsheba didn’t? When Adonijah died how was David’s own judgment fulfilled? (2 Sam 12:6)
9. What have you learned from David’s actions and responses in our study that demonstrate he was a man after God’s heart?