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Understanding the True King David

King David is a complicated leader. Many Christians remember him as the shepherd boy later anointed king, who killed Goliath, and regrettably committed adultery. Yet, Dr. Mark Rutland wants to show us that there is so much more to this man after God’s own heart. This complicated and multifaceted leader was also a genius of war who killed tens of thousands, a musical prodigy and the poet responsible for the Psalms, a meditated murderer who not only lusted after Bathsheba but planned a deliberate attack to have her innocent husband killed, and also a father who didn’t discipline his sons which led to Absalom and Adonijah trying to claim the throne for themselves. Dr. Rutland explains, “For every Goliath in the story of David, there is a Bathsheba around the corner. For every soul to whom he showed compassion, there were a hundered he was personally responsible for slaughtering.” So why should we examine David sins and not just his triumphs? Human beings mess up and sometimes find it hard to believe that God will still forgive them. Being transparent about David’s life—both good and bad—reveals the key ingredient to understanding why David was still a man after God’s own heart: REPENTANCE. Dr. Rutland explains, “We dare not underestimate the power of David’s capacity for repentance. We dare not use David’s sins to justify or rationalize our own but we must allow the power of his repentance to fuel and inform our own.” A good example of God’s compassion is allowing Solomon, the second child of Bathsheba and David (the first child died as a consequence of their sin), to be the rightful king to follow David’s reign. “Someone once told me, ‘It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that God would do following an adulterous affair...’ To me, it seems exactly like the kind of thing a God of grace would do… It is so like God that the one whom He disciplines the hardest is the one He loves the most.”

Dr. Rutland also believes that in looking deeper into the life of David we see the importance of waiting on God instead of taking matters into our own hands. After David was anointed King of Israel, he had to wait to function as king. David’s tenacity to persevere through King Saul’s jealous attempts to have him murdered shows his strength but we also see his weakness when he got tired or waiting on God and took things into his own hands. When we allow our failures to become learning experiences that we refuse to repeat, we too can overcome great obstacles and fulfill the call that God has on our lives.

Dr. Rutland accepted Christ as a teenager.  After college and graduate school, he climbed the corporate ladder of his church denomination (Methodist) to advance his career.  But feeding his selfish ambition, pride and ego did not bring him contentment.  Twice in one month, he tried to commit suicide.  The turnaround came when he and his wife attended a conference to learn about the Holy Spirit.  Once Dr. Rutland spiritually saw how ungodly he was, he felt tremendous conviction and thought God was going to kill him.  When the conference speaker prayed for Dr. Rutland, he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This was a true turning point that renewed Dr. Rutland’s faith.

Mentioned in the Video



Guest Info


New York Times best-selling author, latest: David The Great: Deconstructing the Man After God’s Own Heart (Charisma House, 2018)

Founder and President, Global Servants

Former President, Oral Roberts University (2009-2013)

Former President, Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL (1999-2009)

Director of the National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL), Former Pastor, Calvary Assembly of God in Orlando, FL

Education: University of Maryland (BS)

Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta (M.Div.)

California Graduate School of Theology (Ph.D.)


3 children and 9 grandchildren


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