What it Means to be “a Man After God’s Own Heart”?

October 3, 2017

BY: Trey Cox

After removing Saul, He [God] made David their king. He 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

What an incredible thing to have said about you – “a man after God’s own heart”! Yet, that is exactly what God said about David when he was chosen to replace Saul as King over Israel. As a leader of the IronMen ministry at Christ’s Greenfield, I recently read this verse and sought to learn what it would mean to be such a man. To understand why David was referred to as “a man after God’s own heart”, we need to see what characteristics he had to qualify for such an exalted description.

We learn much of David’s character in the book of Psalms as he opened up his life for all to examine. David’s life was a portrait of success and failure, and the Biblical record highlights the fact that David was far from perfect. When he sinned, he sinned in a big way but we must not think of his life story as only one man’s isolated sin. Falling short is the story of every man and the complex behavior that surrounds our sinful actions. When David compromises the gospel, he shows the deepest struggle of every man to live by the Word of God.

What made David a cut above the rest was that his heart was pointed toward God. He had a deep desire to follow God’s will and do “everything” God wanted him to do. The following describe the heart of David as seen in his own writings and capture what God praised him for. A “man after God’s own heart” is:

  • Focused on God’s Word“For I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.” Psalm 119:47–48
  • Trusting – “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
  • Reverent – “I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:3
  • Humble– “Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.” Psalm 62:9
  • Loving– “I love you, O Lord, my strength.” Psalm 18:1
  • Obedient – “Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law and obey it with all my heart.” Psalm 119:34
  • Repentant – “For the sake of Your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.” Psalm 25:11 
  • Thankful – “Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!” Psalm 100:4
  • Faithful– “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

We can see that David was “a man after God’s own heart” because he demonstrated his faith and was committed to following the Lord. Yes, his faith was tested on a grand scale, and he failed at times but after sinning he sought and received the Lord’s forgiveness. In this David is a role model for us to emulate.

Which of the characteristics need your greatest attention for improvement? Men of God, join me in praying that the Holy Spirit will enable us all to grow in these areas and increasingly become “men after God’s own heart”!

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