If we want to be like David and be a man or woman “after God’s own heart,” then shouldn’t we be asking what’s most important to him? Using marriage as an example, if I want to please my wife, then I need to know what’s important to her. If she doesn’t care about flowers (or even worse, is allergic), then my brightest move would not be to give her a bouquet everyday. If she loves sappy love notes (i.e., they’re important to her), then I need to know that.
In order to explore this, a little detour might be necessary. One of the most important aspects of philosophy (literally the “love of wisdom”) is distinguishing between ends and means. Means are what we use to get to our proposed end. If your ultimate aim (end) is more money, then your means would presumably be working harder, starting your own company, or possibly stealing it.
We can use this method to decide on what’s most important to God. Some people might say that our salvation is the most important thing to him; obviously, he paid a high price to be able to forgive and restore us. Some might propose that it’s a relationship with him: We were saved not merely to keep us out of hell, but to have a personal relationship with the Lord, both now and forever.
These aren't bad suggestions, but I still think that they are means to an end, not the end itself. Ephesians 1:3-14 is Paul’s great description of God’s incredible gift of salvation in all its aspects, past, present, and future. Three times in this passage he declared that this is all “for the praise of his glorious grace” (or some variation thereof). The Westminster Catechism declares that “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever,” and although this isn’t a direct quote from Scripture, I believe it’s a nice summary of it.
Today’s passage confirms this. The people, after all that God had done for them, cowardly refused to enter the land that God had promised them, and showed utter disregard for his grace, mercy, power, and faithfulness that he'd shown up to that point. His response basically was “I have had it with these ingrates! I’m going to destroy them, and start over with you.” The man of God wisely didn't just appeal to the Lord’s mercy and grace, but to his honor and reputation-- in biblical terms, his “name” among the nations.
What does this mean to me? Simply put, it’s not all about me. I was not saved mainly for my sake, but for the glory of my Lord. In fact, everything I am and do is supposed to bring glory and praise to him. Also, when I pray for the salvation of a lost person, I shouldn't just appeal to God’s desire not to see anyone perish, but also to his desire to his Son glorified. God could choose to glorify himself simply through the destruction of sinners, but he has chosen to glorify himself through their salvation. Aren’t you glad?
Father God, I want to glorify and please you with everything I am and do. I fall so far short of that. Please change me.