And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.
On April 28th, 1988, Aloha Flight 243 set off from Hilo, Hawaii, bound for Honolulu. It never arrived. As it reached its cruising altitude of 24,000 feet, suddenly the left side of the roof near the front of the plane ruptured then exploded off from the plane tearing a huge gap in the roof and damaging the right wing. Miraculously the Captain was able to perform an emergency landing at Kahului Airport on Maui but not before one flight attendant had been instantly sucked out of the place to her death and 79 seriously injured.
Air Crash Investigators concluded that the crash was "caused by a breach in the aircraft's integrity". Their official NTSB report noted that Gayle Yamamoto, a passenger, noticed a small crack in the fuselage when boarding the plane but did not tell anyone. Maintenance workers had failed to insert several pop-rivets near the left side passenger door which had placed this small section under extraordinary pressure.
This small breach in Aloha 243, was no more than a few centimetres long, but it was the basis for a breach in integrity. There is a life application here.
Integrity comes from the word: integer, which is the word used in mathematics to describe 'a whole number' (as distinguished from a fraction or number with a fraction). Being a person of integrity involves being a person who is one. They have one identity which is aligned with reality (the truth about themselves and the world in which they live). It is this latter aspect which makes moral uprightness (character) integral to integrity. When most people use the word integrity they are most often referring to this latter aspect to describe a person who is honest, trustworthy, and reliable. But this is more to do with character than integrity - although good character (moral uprightness) is an essential quality of integrity - integrity also involves the absence of any breaches.
And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.'
King David is described as 'shepherding Israel with integrity and skill' (Psalm 78:79). But this description applies to David toward the end of a long process of becoming a man of integrity. It seems that God saw David's potential to become an extraordinary man of integrity because his heart was soft before God. This was despite the Lord also seeing the existing breaches in David's integrity. But the qualities of David's heart, such as (i) humility, (ii) correctability, (iii) reverence for God, became the very qualities that enabled him to become whole - a man of integrity. These qualities are very close to God's own heart. Thus, integrity in a person's heart is, in one sense, the means by which a person can come close to God's heart. David became such a man and earned the most honoured description as a man after God's own heart - a description not given to any other man in the Scriptures. Here is an overview of David's journey to integrity. We begin with his battle against Goliath which reveals both his heart and his integrity breaches which would need to be exposed, confronted and dealt with for him to become a man of integrity.
The scene is set with the Philistine's champion, Goliath the Giant, challenging the nation of Israel to send a man to represent them to fight against him. No man is prepared to take up this challenge - not the least of all their king, King Saul. The young 16 year old shepherd-boy, David, is sent to the battle front to deliver supplies to his brothers. He hears that the king is offering riches, honour and his daughter to the man who will overcome Goliath. This piques David's interest. But it also sheds light on what would later become the obvious small breaches in his integrity.
It is no mere cliché that the downfall of many a man has been the girls, the gold, and/or the glory. In essence, King Saul's reward appealed to each of these human weaknesses. Yet, it was one of these rewards which particularly attracted David.