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God’s Own Heart Series Part III – A Code to Live By


brad1Off the top of my head, I can think of several “codes.”  Here are some popular ones — see if you can name the code that contains them:

  1. Double Tap
  2. A contract, is a contract, is a contract… but only between Ferengi.
  3. To guard the honour of fellow knights
  4. 00001 0011111 00110000
  5. The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf. He may do what he will;
    But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill.
  6. You can’t ‘hook up’ with a friend’s ex-boyfriend.
  7. Never steal another man’s horse. A horse thief pays with his life.

The answers are below.

Many societies have a moral code; a set of rules that garner society.  ‘Moral integrity’ describes the state of sticking to the code with behavior.  We’ve been loosely following some of the events from the Biblical account of David because God describes him as a “man after God’s own heart.”  To become such a person, or to raise our kids to be such people, we need some help.

Codes can help.  Think about the Old West.  Lots of people moving out into territory unexplored by European immigrants from many different parts of the Eastern United States.  There needed to be some sort of standard to keep a general sense of moral integrity.  Hence, the Code of the West.  (Which, incidentally is represented in the last -7- code in my code quiz above.)

The Knights had a Chivalric Code (number 3), the Ferengi from Star Trek have the Rules of Acquisition (number 2), the Jungle has a Law (number 5; credit to Rudyard Kipling) and even computers have Binary Code (number 4 – LOL!).  But what about Christians?  What about people like David that followed God?  There must have been a code of behavior.  In the last article we highlighted one of the events from David’s life, where he showed a standard of honor toward King Saul, even when his life was in danger.  Another one can be found in 1 Samuel 26.

These situations go against what we see on TV and view in popular culture today.  The contemporary standard is ‘If an enemy is delivered into your hands, show no mercy!’  Honestly, this seems reasonable.  Saul was actively trying to kill David, why would David show him mercy?

This is another one of those attributes that isn’t innate or instinctual, and definitely isn’t logical.  Someone has to be taught this kind of moral standard.  Where can we Dads go to learn this kind of moral code?

My first inclination is to go to the book of Proverbs to find something that resembles a code or standard of behavior David could have learned.  Proverbs is all about wisdom and wise behavior. But, since most of Proverbs was written by David’s son after David was dead . . .  well, then that is probably not what David used as his behavior standard.  We also need to remember that people in the Bible couldn’t go down to their local LifeWay and buy a Bible easily, so knowledge of God’s word in David’s lifetime would come from hearing it, and repetition.

Which guides us to surmise that the code David used to ‘live by’ and manage his interaction with Saul is:  The 10 Commandments.

It would be difficult for anyone to memorize and live by the entire Old Testament set of laws, but the 10 Commandments (listed in Exodus 20) are a good overview of a code to adopt and conduct relationships with God and with other people.  David is routinely depicted as putting God first (Commandment #1), and in these situations in the book of Samuel he is reframing from murdering Saul (Commandment 6).

David made rules and standards for the entire nation of God’s people during his leadership, but I believe this Code, these 10 Commandments, were the most important to forming his moral standard.   As Dads, we can do the same thing for our family.   Do you know the 10 Commandments?  Yeah, I bet most of us could do about . . . 5 . . . that’s why I’m linking to this cool Commandment memorization technique my kids learned in church:

There will always be a moral code for our houses:  “Don’t put the milk back into the fridge with just an ounce left” or “only Dad holds the TV remote” but, one of the most important ones for our kids and family is the standard that guided a whole nation of God’s people and was key in forming the Code King David used to guide his life.

Ok, answers to the other two codes from my list.  The first one, is one of the key rules to survive in Zombieland, and number 6 is to show you that I’m not totally sexist with my Biblical stories about fighting and living in caves; it’s the primary rule from the Girl Code.  Every female knows them.

And speaking of females, the next topic in the Series of “God’s Own Heart” is …  Part IV:  Emotion, not just for Girls anymore!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Washburn is a father, husband, and Director of a Christian counseling center in Tampa, Florida. He has helped hundreds of people over the last 15 years. In particular, he desires to see fathers be “men after God’s own heart” — a description of King David in the Bible who was a lover, fighter, sheep herder, and harp player . . . .
Find out more at

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