"But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee."
I Samuel 13: 14, King James Version
EXPLORATION: "After His Own Heart"
"You must keep all earthly treasures out of your heart, and let Christ be your treasure, and let Him have your heart."
C. H. Spurgeon
What does it mean to me to be a daughter of God who has a heart "after her Father's heart?"
"Godliness is nothing but God-likeness."
"My (daughter), give Me thine heart."
Proverbs 23: 26, K.J.V.
Ever since I was old enough to study the Bible, I heard stories about David. First there was David and Goliath. Then came David and Bathsheba. For certain, this Biblical hero had his ups and downs. How often have we heard David referred to by pastors and politicians when they have succumbed to moral temptation. It seems David becomes the "go-to" guy for lifting up the fallen with his prayer of contrition in Psalm 51.
But there's another point about David's life that I've heard tossed around a great deal, especially in Christian circles.
As a defense against improper behavior, inevitably someone says, "Well, look at David. He slept with another man's wife, got her pregnant and then had her husband killed. And yet God called him a man after His own heart." To this I say, "Hold on a minute!"
After recently hearing another politician refer to David when his messy love-life became public and he was caught lying and having an adulterous affair, I decided it was time to do some Bible study on the topic of what it means to be a "person after God's own heart." Was God really applauding David during the most sin-filled times of his life?
My answer came from an interesting phrase in our text today, "The Lord hath sought." I went straight to the Hebrew to find out what the word "sought" means. Here's what I found. This word really becomes a phrase of its own, meaning, "The Lord is searching for someone who is striving after," His heart. To assist in making this even clearer, I went to the New Testament to the words of Jesus who in Luke 13: 24 told His followers to, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate." In the Greek, the word "strive" in this context matches the reference in the Old Testament to God searching for daughters and sons who are striving or as the Greek defines, "struggling, fighting, and fervently laboring" after God's heart. In fact, in the Greek, the word strive has a characteristic associated with it which relates to the one who tries so hard they win the prize.
Now let's go back to I Samuel 13: 14 which is the first place we find where Samuel informs Saul that his rulership as king will not last. Instead, God is searching for someone whose goal is to strive to have a heart that goes after God. Let's be clear, a heart that goes after God is a heart of complete and total obedience. It's not a heart that makes excuses for mistakes. Just the opposite. A person striving after God admits failure, turns away from wrong and focuses 100% of their being on walking side-by-side with their heavenly Father.
One other thing that's important to note. At the time Samuel told Saul God would choose someone with a heart "after God," David hadn't even been anointed king. He was watching the family sheep, spending time in nature talking to his heavenly Father. At that time in his life, David did have a heart that was striving after God. He was seeking his Father which, I might add, kept him on his Father's path. He did have a heart after God. A heart that strives to do their Father's will. A heart that focuses on the Father's guidance. A heart seeking God. And our Father is still searching today for those whose hearts are striving after Him.
"Lord Jesus Christ; Let me see You by desiring You, and let me desire You by seeking You."
"Grant me, O God,
the heart of a child,
pure and transparent as a spring;
a simple heart,
which never harbours sorrows;
a heart glorious in self-giving,
tender in compassion;
a heart faithful and generous,
which will never forget any good
or bear a grudge for any evil.
Make me a heart gentle and humble,
loving without asking any return,
large-hearted and undauntable,
which no ingratitude can sour
and no indifference can weary;
a heart penetrated by the love of Jesus
whose desire will only be satisfied in heaven.
Grant me, O Lord,
the mind and heart
of thy dear Son."
Translated from the French by George Appleton
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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