A Man After God's Heart


King David

When you think about really important figures in history, we tend to think about really important leaders, mighty conquerors, and powerful kings.
We like stories wear heroic warriors fight against evil and brave fighters save the world through amazing feats.
Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Star Wars, just to name a few, are some of the most viewed movies and most read stories.
If there was a William Wallace of the Bible, one could make a pretty good argument for King David being the man.
He took down the giant Goliath.
He ran from a corrupt and power-hungry King Saul who wanted him dead.
He conquered armies, built a powerful kingdom, and was the greatest leader of Israel in history, before Jesus.
And one of his most well known titles was “A man after God’s own heart.”
Acts 13:22 CSB
22 After removing him, he raised up David as their king and testified about him, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse to be a man after my own heart, who will carry out all my will.’
We are going to spend the summer looking at one of the Bible’s most interesting, engaging, and, even, controversial figures.
And through this series we are going to be looking is what is means to be “a person after God’s own heart.”
What we will find in the life of David is not a perfect man, far from it actually.
We won’t find someone who always makes the right choices, he actually makes some really horrible one along the way.
We won’t find a flawless leader, that’s the beauty of David’s story, it is full of the good and the bad, the strengths and the flaws, and the successes and mistakes.
“This is perhaps the place to note that the story of David isn’t set before us as a moral model to copy. David isn’t a person whose actions we’re inspired to imitate. In the company of David we don’t feel inadequate because we know we would never do it that well. Just the opposite: in the company of David we find someone who does it as badly as, or worse than, we do, but who in the process doesn’t quit, doesn’t withdraw from God. David’s isn’t anideal life but an actual life. We enter the company of David not to improve our morals but to deepen our sense of human reality.” (page 62) — Eugene Peterson
What we will find in the story of David is someone a lot like us, which means being “after God’s heart” isn’t to far outside our reach, by God’s grace.

A bit of a back story

Before we get to our text today though we need to catch up a bit to the story.
1 Samuel is named after the prophet Samuel who is born at the beginning of the book.
Samuel is born during the time of the Judges, which the book of Judges is named for.
After Moses led God’s people out of Egypt and through the 40 years in the wilderness, God raised up Joshua to bring the people into the Promise Land.
Once Joshua accomplished this and he died, there was a void of leadership, and so God raised up “Judges” from the people to lead them.
By the time Samuel is born and begins to serve as a priest, the Israelites have begun to look at the other nations who have kings and begin to demand that Samuel raise up a king to rule over them.
There motivation is poor and sinful, but God decides to give them what they want.
So in 1 Samuel 9, Samuel comes across a tall, handsome, strong, and impressive man named Saul. He checked all the boxes of what anyone would expect of a king. So in Chapter 10, Saul becomes the first king of Israel.
Though he is an impressive hunk of a man, Saul has a problem with pride and obedience to God.
He has 2 major screw ups in chapters 13 and 15 that lead to God rejecting Saul as king.
This is where David’s story begins, when God has decided that Saul’s reign must come to an end.
1 Samuel 16:1–13 CSB
1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected for myself a king from his sons.” 2 Samuel asked, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me!” The Lord answered, “Take a young cow with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord directed and went to Bethlehem. When the elders of the town met him, they trembled and asked, “Do you come in peace?” 5 “In peace,” he replied. “I’ve come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, “Certainly the Lord’s anointed one is here before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” 8 Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either,” Samuel said. 9 Then Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either.” 10 After Jesse presented seven of his sons to him, Samuel told Jesse, “The Lord hasn’t chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel asked him, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” he answered, “but right now he’s tending the sheep.” Samuel told Jesse, “Send for him. We won’t sit down to eat until he gets here.” 12 So Jesse sent for him. He had beautiful eyes and a healthy, handsome appearance. Then the Lord said, “Anoint him, for he is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.
This scene reminds me of an African wedding I went to several years ago.
I was doing the “Western Wedding” a few weeks later, but the African traditional wedding was a cultural tradition that means a great deal to the families.
After we ate a really delicious meal, the host gets up to begin the ceremony, but the bride isn’t even in the room.
After some words, the host asks the brides family to bring out the woman.
One by one, the daughters of the family come out to present themselves to the groom, but he politely rejects each of them.
Then, the final daughter comes out, who is the one he has chosen to marry and after an exchanging of gifts (which serves as a dowry) she takes her seat next to her groom.
What makes this girl more precious then all the rest isn’t her beauty or her personality, it is that she is the one the groom has chosen, the one he desires.
I want to point out 2 really powerful truths about what it means to be a person after God’s heart that we can see in God calling David to be king.

A person after God’s own heart is:

The first, I pray, is a really encouraging and refreshing truth for you to hear.

Someone CHOSEN by God. (16:1-13)

We are not really told why Samuel is grieved over Saul, but God does seem to rebuke him for mourning over Saul’s failure.
And then he tells him it is time to go find the next king, the one will “provide for Himself”, not for the people.
He sends him to the little town of Bethlehem (sound familiar?) and to the house of Jesse.
Jesse had 8 sons, and the minute Samuel sees his oldest son, Eliab, he knows this has to be the one. He is tall, strong, and handsome.
But God rejects Eliab and says what is, perhaps, the most important statement in the entire book of 1 Samuel.
1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
John Woodhouse argues that the end of verse 7 is better translated ““For the LORD sees not as man sees, for man sees according to the eyes, but the LORD sees according to the heart.”
“That is, when God sees, he does not just see things with the eyes, as we do, taking in only impressions. God sees according to his heart. That is, God’s point of view is determined by his own will and purpose. He sees according to his own intentions, his heart.”— John Woodhouse
He then goes on to say: ““A man after God’s own heart” has been taken in popular Christian jargon to mean a particularly godly man, a man with a heart like God’s.
But a better understanding would mean, “A man after God’s own heart” means a man of God’s own choosing, a man God has set his heart on. “A man after God’s own heart” is — if I can put it like this — talking about the place the man has in God’s heart rather than the place God has in the man’s heart.” — John Woodhouse
Eliab doesn’t seem to be a bad guy, nor was Abinadab, or Shammah, or the other 4 sons not named.
They just weren’t David, the one God’s heart was after.
David was the youngest, probably the shortest, and likely the least experienced when it comes to being a king.
But God didn’t see what David had accomplished or who David was at the time.
He saw what He would accomplish through David, and who He will shape David into as His chosen King.
The ditches we often fall into when we think of what it means to be excepted by God are either:
We think we are beyond the reach of God’s love and grace. Too messed up, too much baggage, too many mistakes.
The oddly encouraging truth about David is that his mess ups in many ways were even bigger than Saul’s, but his biggest mess ups served as opportunities for his heart for God to show more vividly.
God worked conviction, repentance, and discipline into the heart of David…a man after God’s own heart.
The other ditch we often get caught in is thinking we have some quality about ourselves that makes us worthy of God love and acceptance.
No doubt David was a brave, hardworking, and strong teenage boy, but God saw beyond who David was or who he could be left to his own abilities, He saw who David would be, through Him.
Why did God call Saul, because the people wanted a king. He was one they would accept.
Why did God call David, because God wanted a king for his plans and purposes.
We know David wasn't perfect. He was good, but not perfect.
What we will find in his life is a cycle of screw ups and sin, but then glimpses of God's hand, God's spirit, God's discipline, God's judgement, God's grace and God's power.
He didn’t choose David because David was something special, but because He saw according to His heart and into the heart of David.
If you are in ear shot to this message this morning, there is a good chance that God is in pursuit of your heart, because you are on His.
That’s what is means to be chosen
Ephesians 1:4–6 CSB
4 For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. 5 He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.

Someone FILLED by God. (16:13-14)

The Spirit of the Lord comes “powerfully” on David in verse 13. But Saul had a similar experience in 1 Samuel 10:9-10
1 Samuel 10:9–10 CSB
9 When Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed his heart, and all the signs came about that day. 10 When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a group of prophets met him. Then the Spirit of God came powerfully on him, and he prophesied along with them.
And again in 1 Samuel 11 6
1 Samuel 11:6 CSB
6 When Saul heard these words, the Spirit of God suddenly came powerfully on him, and his anger burned furiously.
The difference between the two was in how David recieved the Spirit.
1 Samuel 16:13 CSB
13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.
“From that day forward”- Saul was filled with the Spirit at certain times for certain purposes, but David was filled with the Spirit from that day forward.
David would screw up along the way, but what kept him close to the Lord’s heart was the presence of God in him, not something special about his character or strength.
It is the same with us.
What separates a Christian from a non-Christian isn’t a good family, a strong work ethic, gifts and talent, or a propensity to make better decision.
No, it is that we have the Spirit of God working in us, teaching, guiding, convict, convincing, and counseling us as we seek to follow Jesus.
The question to ask ourselves today is “Do I have the Spirit of God in me?”
Do you feel conviction over sin and a desire to know and follow Jesus more closely?
Are the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 actively growing in you?
Do you love Jesus and His word more than you did before you became a Christian?
To be after God’s heart, we must have God’s Spirit.

Someone POSITIONED by God. (16:14-23)

We are going to flesh this idea out more next week, but I want to leave you with it to ponder this week.
After David is anointed to be the next King of Israel, it was 15 years before he actually became King.
In the mean time, David kept on shepherding sheep, and not long after God’s Spirit departed from Saul, David was called up to play the harp for Saul when he was having a bad day.
That is quite humbling isn’t it.
But God had a purpose even in this.
God put David into Saul’s service. He put David into a position of influence.
God had given David a talent, made other aware of his talent, provided a need that David could meet, and gave him the opportunity to meet that need.
God put David in that position and it was David’s job to be faithful, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to the position God gave him.
It wasn’t the most prominent of positions, as the eyes of man would judge it, but in God’s eyes it served a very important purpose.
What position or positions has God placed you in and equipped you for?
Don’t overthink it or under value it.
Where you work, where you live, your family, friends, and circles of influence are all places God has placed you to serve His plan.
David had been anointed as the next king of Israel, but now he was just a harp player in the king’s court.
But God was positioning Him for something greater and was using him in a mighty way where he was.

Closing Thoughts

If you came here today feeling rejected, lost, or broken, hear the truths so clearly shown in the life of David.
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