“But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:14).
King David is described in Scripture as “a man after God’s own heart.” I assumed that God was referring to David’s heart of worship — what David is famous for. He wrote many of the psalms and established a rotation of worshipers to play and sing in the tabernacle every day, year around. But in 1 Samuel 13, God is not highlighting David’s heart of worship. God is highlighting David’s heart of obedience.
In 1 Samuel 13, where God first mentions seeking a man after His own heart, it is war, not worship, that is brewing. Saul, the first king of Israel, had disobeyed God. He had told Saul — twice — to wait for the prophet Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice. Saul got impatient in the waiting and offered his own sacrifice.
In God’s eyes, to obey is better than to sacrifice (15:22). That is why God was seeking a man who totally obeyed Him. Shortly after this tragic event, God instructed Samuel to anoint David as king of Israel. He sought a man to lead His people His way. God cannot trust a man who does things his own way. God is looking for an obedient heart.
The New Testament reference to David being a man after God’s own heart does not mention worship either. God said, “I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). God’s decision to promote David to king was based on David’s desire to do God’s will instead of his own. David’s heart of obedience attracted God’s favor and blessing.
Was King David perfect in his obedience? No! He made some major mistakes in his life. He committed adultery and murder. He failed to discipline his sons, which led to more adultery and more murders.
Yes, David missed the mark many times, but he was also quick to confess and repent. David’s heart was to do God’s will, even in his moral failure. That is the heart God is searching for.
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9). God searches the whole earth looking for obedient hearts so that He can support them. God wants to promote “His man” into positions of authority, influence, and favor.
All this inspires me to ask these questions: Am I a woman after God’s own heart? Is my heart completely His? Do I have a heart of obedience? How about you?