A Man After God's Own Heart

  • I Samuel 13:14 “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.”

After I accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of 14, I came across that phrase in I Sam. 13:14 “a man after his own heart.” I do not remember if the phrase was brought to my attention during my personal Bible reading, or a sermon, or a Christian song. I do remember, though, how beautiful that phrase was. I wanted to be “a man after God’s own heart” so I kept my eyes and ears open to what preachers and writers said of this phrase. The usual consensus seemed to be that since David was known for his praise, worship, and songs to God that “a man after his own heart” is a man of praise and worship. The context of the phrase “a man after his own heart” reveals a different story, however.

The phrase “a man after his own heart” was made by Samuel to King Saul as a result of King Saul’s sin. In I Sam. 13:14, Samuel said the phrase “a man after his own heart” in contrast to “because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.” In other words, God wanted someone “to be captain over his people” who would obey God completely, not adding or taking away from God’s laws. Therefore, “a man after his own heart” was someone who would obey God completely.

King Saul had dared play the part of priest when Saul wasn’t a Levite nor a priest, which God’s law clearly forbade. King Saul would later disobey God and not kill all of the Amalekites. Saul is a picture of your average child of God. Saul was always adding to God’s law, taking away from God’s law, diminishing God’s law, making excuses about not obeying God’s law, etc…. Saul was not “a man after” God’s “own heart.” “A man after his (God’s) own heart” is someone who does exactly what God commands.

From Acts 13:22 we read:

  • Acts 13:22 “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

God testified that David was that man who was after God’s own heart. The Scripture clearly reveals that David was called such because God said David would “fulfill all” of God’s will. Therefore, again, a man after God’s own heart is someone who obeys what “the Lord commanded” who fulfills “all” God’s will. Although David was a sinner and made some egregious sins, David’s overall life was such that David did only what God commanded: nothing added, nothing taken away.

Let’s notice some examples of David as a man after God’s own heart.

  • – Remember the giant Goliath in I Sam. 17? For 40 days (I Sam. 17:16), Goliath blasphemed God with no retaliation from the Jews. Saul was taller than any of his people (I Sam. 10:23), but Saul did not defend God’s name by fighting the giant. When Eliab accused David of pride, David’s response was, “Is there not a cause?” David’s heart was on God’s cause not his own. As David talked to King Saul and then later to giant Goliath, David’s answer always focused on God’s will, God’s cause, God’s name, God’s glory, and God’s help. David was a man after God’s own heart, because everything was about God to David.
  • – Although David wrote a number of the Psalms, the longest Psalm and longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, was written by David about love for and complete obedience to God’s Word. Again, David was a man after God’s own heart for David’s love of and strict adherence to God’s law.
  • – David was such a king after God’s own heart that every king after David in both Israel and Judah were compared by God to how closely they obeyed God like David. Here are a few examples:
  • I Kings 11:6 “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.”
  • I Kings 14:8 “And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;”
  • I Kings 15:3 “And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.”

In conclusion, a man after God’s own heart is a Christian who strictly adheres to all of God’s law, commandments, statutes, and precepts. A Christian who is after God’s own heart like David fulfills all of God’s will. A man after God’s own heart might be mocked as a misnamed legalist (strictly obeys God’s law to the letter; Read “Was the Pharisees’ Leaven Legalism?”), but that is exactly what God wants and that is the man David was. Are you after God’s own heart?

  • I Kings 15:5 “Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.”
  • (This article is from the “According To Thy Word” series.)