If there’s a Sunday School story etched in our collective memories, it’s the one about king David. How he, as a young shepherd slew the giant with one stone and a simple slingshot… And how he grew up to be a great king in Israel. But there is so much more to David’s story. Even though David’s life was far from perfect, he was a cut above the rest and God “testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’” Acts 13:22.
I couldn’t help but wonder what it means to be “A man after God’s own heart”. Surely it can’t be about perfection because David wasn’t perfect and he did many evil things. (Adultery, murder, being a mercenary for Israel’s enemy, I could go on). So how could David be considered a man after God’s own heart?
Obedience. I know it may not sound as deep as you thought but obedience is the starting point of chasing God’s heart. David was obedient and he sought to follow God’s law as best as he could. He spent many days meditating on it and trying to apply it to his own life. On the contrary, Saul was rejected by God for disobedience. In 1 Samuel 13:1-18, a battle with the Philistines was about to occur, and Saul wanted the blessing of the God upon his troops. The prophet Samuel did not come at the expected time, so Saul decided to present a burnt offering to the Lord on his own rather than wait for the prophet. And as result God rejected him and sought someone else who would be obedient to him and be after His own heart. It was Saul’s disobedience that led to his rejection.
Obedience to God means to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word. How can we be obedient to God today? We can start by following his commands, in Matthew 22, Jesus’ teaches about the greatest commandment and he says we should love God and love others as ourselves.
- To love God is to put Him first, to desire Him, to yearn for His righteousness and to obey Him. Jesus tells us, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15). We give our affections and attention to the things we think are most important. If we love a sports team, we spend time watching games and if we value our career, we spend hours at the office. If a man spends all his time at work and never makes time for his wife, it insults the wife. When we make something a higher priority than God, we’re declaring that it’s more deserving of our love than God is.
- Loving you neighbour as yourself includes forgiveness. Humans are imperfect, trespasses against us will occur, so it is vital to forgive in order to love our neighbour. Another direct way we can follow this command is to do tangible things for those close to us. Caring for our neighbours is a way to inspire a cycle of giving and receiving, which creates a strong community
God is not looking for magnificent specimens of humanity. He is certainly not looking for perfect people, since there are none. He is searching for men and women like you and me, mere people made up of flesh. He is looking for people who share the same qualities He found in David, men and women “after His own heart” and all that means is obedience to him, everything else is a by-product of this obedience , even sacrifice. He is not impressed with externals. He always focuses on the inward qualities. It’s not as deep as you think!