Of all the remarkable things about David — and when you are talking about a king/poet/musician/giant-slayer/lion-escaper, there are many to choose from — what intrigues me the most is that God would describe David as “a man after my own heart.”
If the God of the universe, who made us and loves us, describes a person in such fashion, I want to know what it means. I want to be like that.
Could it be David’s riches? No. When God said that, David had nothing. He was a skinny pre-teen shepherd.
Could it be David’s appearance? No, because when God was choosing a king to follow Saul, and he paraded Jesse’s sons past Samuel one-by-one, he said not to look at the outward man:
Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Sam. 16:6-7)
Courage must have played a part (and the faith from which the courage came). The seasoned warriors in Israel’s army were too scared to face Goliath, but the kid who wasn’t even shaving had faith that God would fight — and win — the battle for him. (1 Sam. 17)
David’s psalms reveal other clues. We know from that Scripture, where David poured out his soul, that David had a heart for praise.
I will tell of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you. I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)
He was honest with God when times were bad.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? how long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1-2)
But it was always with reverence and with faith in God’s goodness.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. (Psalm 13:5-6)
David had a zeal for God’s presence.
As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, God. I thirst for God, the living God. (Psalm 42:1-2)
He loved God’s law.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. (Psalm 19:7)
He hated evil.
I hate the practice of transgression; it will not cling to me. (Psalm 101:3)
He loved righteousness, and sought to be righteous.
Search me, God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24)
Now, David was far from perfect (the whole Bath-Sheba thing), but when he sinned, David repented.
Against you, and you only, have I sinned … was me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:3, 7)
In the end, David just loved God and was wholly dependent on Him.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)
Some of us may not seem like much when it comes to the things that the world values. But God’s values are different, and he looks at the heart, not the outer man or woman. We can, like David, be a person after God’s own heart: Full of praise, longing to be near God, speaking to Him honestly, believing to our core in God’s goodness, hating evil and loving righteousness, repentant and dependent.
Yeah – I’m gonna need some help with that.