Acts13:22 “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’
1Kings 15:5 “Because David did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.”
What made David a man after God’s own heart? David was a man just like any other. He too is included in “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 2 Samuel 2:27 states that the thing David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord. So again, I ask myself what made David a man after God’s own heart?
While attempting to answer this question I found it helpful to compare and contrast David to Saul. In 1 Samuel 15 Saul is confronted by the prophet Samuel because he did not utterly destroy the Amalekites like God commanded him. Similarly, David is confronted by the prophet Nathan after committing adultery, failing to cover it up and then ultimately having Uriah killed.
Saul’s first two interactions with the prophet Samuel after his sin with the Amalekites go as follows. In 1Samuel 15:13, Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have carried out the command of the LORD.” And then in 1Samuel 15:20 Saul then said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the LORD, and went on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.” Samuel is rebuking Saul while Saul is celebrating how great he did in obeying the Lord.
Eventually, Saul begins to realize he did not completely follow the command. At this point he begins to make excuses and blame others. Eventually Saul admits his sins (v.24-25), but he doesn’t truly repent. Saul is saying here okay fine you got me! None of my reasons are going to stop you from bothering me about this topic–can you just forgive me already so we can go back to me being king? The chapter ends (v.35) with Samuel never seeing Saul again for the rest of his life and God regretting that He made Saul king.
David’s response to the prophet Nathan when confronted for his sin against Uriah is found in 2 Samuel 12:13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. God forgives David while he regrets Saul. The difference is David’s faith and proper understanding of his relationship with God. David understood his own depravity and dependency on the Lord. He genuinely repents and attempts to live a life of obedience. David’s faith made him a man after God’s own heart. He understood his salvation came through God alone.
We can emulate the below items that made David’s faith so pleasing to God.
- David understands his problem (sin) is with God and repents. 2 Samuel 12:13, Psalms 51:1-4
- David responds to God’s discipline (the death of his son) with worship. Note that worship is not meaningful if it is not accompanied by obedience and true repentance. 2 Samuel 12:20
- David understands he is completely dependent on God. Psalms 51:11-12
- David’s relationship with God is not dependent on burnt offering, rather a broken and contrite heart. Psalms 51:16-17
- David dedicates his life to attempting to understand and follow God’s ways. Psalms 1:2, Psalms 25:5
- David takes part in sharing the truth with others. Psalms 51:13