“The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, NASB). Samuel the prophet said these words to Saul the king. The occasion was that God had rejected Saul as king and was in the process of appointing a new king.
God rejected Saul because of his acts of disobedience. To reduce the chance of having a repeat occurrence with the new king, God raised the bar. The new king had to have a special character. The question is, what does it mean to have a heart after God’s heart?
Literally, Samuel was saying that God had sought for Himself a man “according to His own heart.” Saul was not that kind of guy. He showed no respect for the will of God. He chose to follow His own whims. He was not a good fit for being the king of the nation of God’s chosen people.
None of us are born with a heart after God’s heart. Rather, we are born with a carnal mind. And “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7, KJV). To have a heart according to God’s heart, we must first become born again. However, having a heart after God’s heart is not incidental to being born again. We can get there only by allowing the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to govern our actions and our thinking.
Can God use us if we don’t have a heart that’s after His? Of course, He can. I believe most believers fail to measure up to having a heart after that of God. But the more we incline our thoughts and actions toward those of God—as revealed in the Scriptures, the more God can use us to do those things He will not commit to just anybody.
To have a heart after God’s heart does not mean we are perfect or that we are qualified for the task. Before God instructed Samuel to anoint David as the new king, each of his seven brothers came before Samuel to be considered for the job. But God rejected every one of them (see 1 Samuel 16:10).
David certainly was not perfect. Remember his sinful act with Bathsheba and against her husband? And David certainly did not have the experience. He was the youngest of his father’s eight sons. But God saw something in David that was more important than his lack of perfection or experience. He saw in David a heart that panted after His own.
[THOUGHT: In this increasingly paganish society, we can still become men and women after God’s own heart.]
Copyright © 2017 by Frank King. All rights reserved.