Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles on what it means to be a man after God’s heart. This article focuses on “David, A Man After God’s Heart.” Future articles will look at how Jesus was the man after God’s heart, par excellence; our call to be men after God’s heart; a closer look at the Scriptures; and a daily plan for becoming men after God’s heart.
David, A Man After God’s Heart
The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command. (1Samuel 13:14).
David danced before the Lord with all his might (2 Samuel 6:14).
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. (Psalm 27:8)
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. (Psalm 28:7)
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 was it that made David a man after God’s heart? Personal strength? Moral perfection? Not especially. Even Scripture tells us that he had quite a checkered history. If we take a look at David’s life recounted in Scripture, we can find the answer. David’s greatest attributes were his devotion and reverence for the living God. He was far from perfect, showing the sinful side of humanity all too often. Yet, even when confronted by his sin, David upheld the truth of God’s holiness and sovereignty, humbly confessing his own unworthiness.
When Goliath’s challenge to the soldiers of Israel left them trembling with fear, only the boy David agreed to fight the Philistine champion. He could not allow this unbeliever to taunt the army of the Lord! Although David was at an extreme disadvantage, his words to Goliath tell us a lot about the heart of David: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me” (1 Samuel 17:45).
David believed that God would govern the outcome, whether he was fighting Goliath as a shepherd boy or governing his people as king. David showed the kind of faith, confidence, and trust that every Christian disciple can have in Jesus. He knew that God acts powerfully on behalf of his people.
David was a man after God’s heart because he threw himself totally into his praise and worship of the Lord. At times this caused him to raise a few eyebrows in the process, for example, when he “danced before the Lord with all his might” (2 Samuel 6:14). David desired to give glory to God in everything he did. He was also a man of prayer, but it just wasn’t the fact that he prayed that made him a man after God’s heart, but the fact that when he prayed he worshipped God with all his heart. Many of the psalms he wrote reflected his heart of worship (e.g., see Psalm 27, 28, 103, 108, 138, and 145)
God didn’t call David a man after his own heart because he was sinless. Though he was devoted to God, David was just a human and prone to sin-just like we are. But, he had great faith in the Lord. David pleased God, in spite of his sin because of how he responded when he faced his sin. When confronted with his adultery and his part in the death of his lover’s husband (2 Samuel 11-12), David was cut to the heart and repented humbly (see Psalm 51), accepting whatever punishment the Lord chose to give.
Like David we too can have a simple faith in God who acts powerfully on behalf of his people, we too can love, worship, and praise him with all our hearts. We too can admit to our sins and shortcomings and have faith in God’s ability to work through us. David was a regular shepherd boy, not even esteemed by his own family, but chosen by God who saw into his heart. Although we may not be great in the eyes of others, we too can become men after God’s own by heart by placing our faith and trust in Jesus his son.
Lord, open my eyes to see the wonders of what life holds for those who love you and follow you, even imperfectly. Heavenly Father, give me a heart like David’s so that I too might know your power and protection, and like David, you would see me as a man after your own heart.
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Somehow, God was able to look beyond David’s sin and see him as a man after his heart. Do you believe this is true of you as well? Why or why not?
- What are some of the attributes of David that led God to call him, “a man after my own heart” (Acts13:22)?
- What attribute(s) of David would you like to strengthen in your own life? What simple steps can you take to do this?
- Where do you think David’s great faith, confidence, and trust in God came from? What keeps many Christians from not having this same kind of faith, confidence, and trust in God? What are some obstacles to your own faith that you need to overcome?
- At the end of your meeting pray for one another that each of you would truly be men after God’s heart. Use the prayer at the end of this article as the starting point.