A Man after God’s heart…

Can this be said of you?

A man after God’s own heart. What could be better than being after the heart of our creator? But why was David described this way? And what, exactly, does it mean? 

We first find this description for King David in 1 Samuel 13:14:

But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and The Lord has appointed him ruler over His people, because you have not kept what The Lord commanded you.”

To understand why David is described this way, we must first look at the circumstances that preceded this declaration from The Lord.

We have trials and temptations, they are not random

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from The Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created. James 1:13-18

‘And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ Matthew 6:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to Mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, God will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

A look back at His-story…

The First King of Israel

Saul was the first God-appointed King of Israel. He looked and acted the part. He was known for his courage and generosity. He was tall and striking in appearance. At first, Saul did well. But it did not take long for his pride to grow and his reliance on God to fade.

When Saul and his army were under attack and afraid, instead of waiting for Samuel to arrive and make a burnt offering to God, Saul took matters into his own hands and made the offering himself. There were several problems with him taking this action:

1. He had received an express command to wait seven days, and this had been confirmed by appointed signs.

2. He knew the stake of his kingdom depended on him waiting.

3. He chose impatience and distrust in God. He probably didn’t mean to purposely go against God’s command, but did so because of the pressure he was under. To continue waiting was tedious and uncertain. At any moment, his retreat to the mountains could be cut off. He chose what looked like the prudent thing to do: take matters into his own hands and make the burnt offering himself. 

4. When called out for this disobedience, he made excuses rather than taking responsibility for his actions. 

This disobedience by Saul was the beginning of his downfall. His pride, arrogance and disobedience continued to grow. Saul would try to make up for his lack of obedience and trust in God by making burnt offerings, but God knew his heart. In 1 Samuel 15:22, the prophet says:

“Does the Lord have as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than a sacrifice, and to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as reprehensible as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as reprehensible as false religion and idolatry. Since you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.”

Because of his disobedience, arrogance, lack of faith, and refusal to trust in the Lord, Saul was rejected by God as king, and David was chosen.

What Made David Different than Saul?

Interestingly, David was only a child who had not accomplished anything king-worthy at the time Samuel prophesized about a man after God’s own heart becoming King. But God knew David’s heart and what he could do long before David had any idea what his future held.

It is said that actions speak louder than words (see 1 John 3:18). Though David was a musician and wrote 73 of the 150 Psalms in the bible, it is by looking at the way he lived his life that we see his heart. 

1. David’s Faith

David’s first (and one of his most well-known) accomplishment was his defeat of the Philistine giant, Goliath. It took courage to face a sword-wielding giant with nothing but a sling and some rocks. Before throwing the stone that would take the giant down, David declared, “this entire assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will hand you over to us!” (1 Sam. 17:47). David gave God credit for defeating Goliath before the giant was hit by the stone. It was through his faith that God empowered him to be successful. This giant-killing faith remained with David his entire life.

2. David’s Trust

Even though Saul was a constant threat to his life, David had respect for him as king and spared his life on more than one occasion. When David had an opportunity to kill Saul in a cave, he chose not to. He said, “May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord take vengeance on you for me; but my hand shall not be against you. As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you” (1 Sam. 24:12-13). 

David showed complete trust in God, which meant it was not in his hands to strike down the king God had put in command. David knew that God had proclaimed him to be the next king, but unlike Saul with the burnt offering, he would wait until God removed Saul, rather than taking the matter into this own hands. He also was relying on God to save him from the wickedness of Saul, who sought to destroy him.

3. David’s Love

In all his dealings with Saul, David showed agape type of love toward the man who was determined to be his enemy. It is interesting that this man, chosen by God and described as being after his own heart, did this centuries before Jesus’s sermon on the mount and his command to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

4. David’s Humility

Even after experiencing remarkable success in battle, David remained humble. When Saul offered his daughter, Michal, to David as a wife, he responded, “Is it trivial in your sight to become the king’s son-in-law, since I am only a poor man and insignificant?” (1 Sam. 18:23). 

Later in his life, after David was crowned king and had conquered his enemies, the prophet Nathan told him of God’s promise to extend his dynasty forever, David prayed, “Who am I, Lord God, and who are the members of my household, that You have brought me this far?” (2 Sam. 7:18). At this point, David had known immense success at everything he put his hand to, yet he never took the credit or considered himself worthy of greatness. He gave all the glory to God. 

5. David’s Integrity

David admitted when he was wrong and took responsibility for his mistakes, which was a sign of his deep integrity. We see this when Saul is pursuing him, and David lies to Ahimelech the priest to get food for his men, as well as the sword of Goliath. David’s lie eventually led to the death of 85 priests, as well as the entire town of Nob (1 Sam. 22:9-19) by the command of Saul. 

When David learns of this, he admits it is his fault, and takes in the sole survivor of the priesthood settlement. This was one of many times where David took responsibility for his mistakes and did what was in his power to make it right.

6. David Forgives

Later in his life, David’s integrity took a drastic downfall and he slept with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered. David was distressed when the prophet Nathan revealed the terrible thing David had done. Instead of making excuses for his behavior, David said, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:2).

Though David made a horrible decision, he took responsibility and had remorse for his actions. He earnestly sought God’s forgiveness. David penned Psalm 51, “A Contrite Sinners Prayer for Pardon,” after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. In this Psalm, David brokenheartedly confesses his sin and asked for God’s forgiveness and restoration. 

7. David Worships God

Even though his poor choice with Bathsheba led to much heartache for many years to come, David never stopped worshiping God. It is believed that Psalm 32 was also written by David at about the same time as Psalm 51. In it, David wrote, “Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart.”

He realized his righteousness did not come from his actions, but from his love for and submission to God. At a time when others may have run from or hidden from God, David chose to praise the Lord. Many of David’s psalms were full of his heartaches and even questioning of God, but he never stopped serving and worshiping Him.

Reading about David’s life not only shows show us why he was called a man after God’s own heart, but also helps us see the characteristics that we should look for in ourselves, as followers of Christ who are also after God’s own heart.

Do we have faith? Do we trust the Lord in all circumstances? Do we have sacrificial love for others, even our enemies? Are we humble? Do we operate with integrity? Do we seek forgiveness from God for our sins? Do we worship the Lord no matter what our circumstances?

We may not face the same kind of giant that David did, or be called by God to rule a nation, but we can choose each day to seek God’s heart.

Published by Fellowship of Praise: ALL praise to God our Reason, Hallelujah!!!

To God be The glory. Let us praise God together for His ALL in our lives, Amen.

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