Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 4:1-6:23, John 13:31-14:14, Psalm 119:17-32, Proverbs 15:31-32.
Today, my mind is on the character of David. We know that David is referred to as “a man after God’s own heart”. We learned back in 1 Samuel 13, that this topic was the very reason Saul lost his kingdom.
14 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.
God saw his heart and it was not a heart after His. But then there was David, a young shepherd boy. The baby of the family. An unlikely choice. But God saw his heart. Even hundreds of years later, it was written about in the New Testament.
But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’
So what does being a person after God’s own heart mean? To understand, I think we can look at the word “after”. Webster says that the word after means following in time or place. Being after God’s on heart means following–following His ways, following His example. If something is modeled after another thing that means it reflects or looks like or is made in the image of the other thing. Following after God means we will look like God, act like Him, and reflect His image in our thoughts and actions.
We also can consider the word after in the expression “go after”. The thesaurus states that the term “go after” mean the same thing as these words:
Aggressive, chase, catch, bold, zealous, follow, hunt. Think of those words as we seek to understand the expression of being “after God’s own heart”—aggressively seeking His will and His way, chasing Him, following Him, being bold in our pursuit of Him and being bold in our faith in Him.
All of these insights in our word study are examples of the character of David. Was he perfect? Absolutely not. In fact, the most famous repentant verses are penned by David after his sinful encounter with Bathsheba.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
But even in his pursuit of forgiveness and redemption, we see a man after God’s own heart.
We also see that this description of him in his character revealed in today’s reading.
David was a strong leader who made tough decisions based on his loyalty to God. (2 Samuel 4:9-12)
David was forgiving, even toward his greatest enemy, Saul. (2 Samuel 1:11-12)
David was loyal, as seen in his friendship with Jonathan. (2 Samuel 1:26)
David was humble and realized that the Lord had confirmed him as king over Israel for the sake of the people of Israel, not for his own personal gain. (2 Samuel 5:13)
David consulted God and did not depend on his own understanding and wisdom. (2 Samuel 5:19)
David was zealous in his pursuit of God. (2 Samuel 6:12-15)
As is often the case, following after God’s own heart can be misunderstood and ridiculed. However, those who truly are after God’s own heart are so focused on God, they often don’t even notice the opinion of others. David is a great example of this. When he brought the Ark of God to the City of David, he did so with great celebration. He was so God-aware that he didn’t have the time or mental space to be self-aware. And so, he danced and leaped and worshipped the Lord, without any regard to what others thought of his behavior. He generously invited all the people to join him in this worship celebration, including the servants. He gave every man and woman in crowd bread and cake. And he joyfully returned to his home, ready to bless his own family after he had blessed the common folk. But his wife…his jealous, petty, snobby wife…she was disgusted by his undignified display of worship. She mocked him and sarcastically degraded him. And his response was a wonderful example of one who was after God’s own heart:
21 David retorted to Michal, “I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me as the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. 22 Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!”
2 Samuel 6:21-22
Do you want to be a person after God’s own heart? I do. But we must realize there is a cost involved. There may be times we have to be willing to look foolish or be humiliated. But during those times, we offer that situation as a gift to the Worthy One, remembering His Words of truth:
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy[a] when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
1 Corinthians 1:26-27