A Man After God’s Own Heart

July 3, 2013

“The LORD has sought out a man after His own heart…” (1 Sam. 13:14) The Lord’s eyes still seek this. He seeks it throughout the earth. He seeks it as He “examines and probes each heart and mind.” (See Jer. 17:10 & 20:12) What is God looking for? Yes, He’s looking for hearts that love Him, minds that are focused on His commands. But what else? It’s obedience. And not just halfway, half-hearted obedience. Not partial obedience or careless obedience. Not the kind of obedience that listens “on the go” and easily forgets the instructions. And not the kind of obedience that falters or gives up either. –Even when God delays, or seems hidden, or allows trials to get really tough.

In 1 Sam. 13:14 when Samuel told Saul, “The LORD has sought out a man after His own heart…” the first part of that verse says, “But now your kingdom will not endure.” And why not? Samuel told Saul the reason: “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you.” (v. 13) He also said, “You acted foolishly.” (same verse)

But what had Saul done? Well, he certainly seems to have done no worse than what many “Christians” think they can get away with. It wasn’t adultery or murder or theft or witchcraft or idolatry. It was “merely” going ahead with a sacrifice to the Lord to seek His favor for the battle ahead! (v. 9,12) And this was after seven days of waiting for Samuel to show up to do it. (v. 8 ) Understandably, with the soldiers beginning to scatter due to the taxation of their impatient and frightened nerves (v. 7-12), it seems that God could have overlooked such a “minor” sin. But the Lord surely did not overlook it and Samuel declared that this sin would cost Saul an enduring kingdom. (v. 13,14)

What would make Saul think he could offer up to God the burnt offering that God had designated for only priests to do? Two things: Fear and arrogance. Saul feared the enemy, and he feared his own men leaving him (v. 11,12), and because he was the king, he believed himself above the rules that applied to everyone else. (v. 9) Even though these were rules God had set up. Truly, he showed extreme arrogance. But was his arrogance any worse than that which so many “Christians” show as they disobey God’s Word day after day?

Yes, war is frightening. Yes, their wait for Samuel called for patience. Was it God’s test to see what Saul would do? To see what was in Saul’s heart? God knew Saul’s heart, but He let the waiting time expose what was there. And what was there was as evil as witchcraft and idolatry, as the later test in chapter 15 showed. (15:22,23) This time, rather than the lack of an enduring kingdom as the punishment, Samuel declared, “Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you as king.” (v. 23)

“‘But I did obey the LORD,'” Saul said.” (15:20) But he obeyed only in part. A bit before this he’d even met Samuel with, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD’s instructions.” (v. 13) When Samuel questioned him about the obvious disobedience, Saul began making excuses. “Stop!” Samuel said. We should all note how intolerant holy people are to be, just as God is, of those who make excuse after excuse about why they can’t obey God fully. For God demands full obedience, not careless, half-hearted, or partway obedience.

Oh, that so-called “Christians” would understand! If God considered slack obedience to be rebellion and arrogance, and compared these with the evils of witchcraft and idolatry (15:22,23), does He really overlook disobedience in those who have His own mighty Spirit within them? Absolutely not, for they have zero excuse to neglect obedience to His Word. Such contempt shown to God, He will not overlook. (1 Cor. 3:16,17 // Heb. 10:29)

God did choose another man to replace Saul. And as Paul relayed it in Acts 13:22, “He [God] 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.'” God is always looking for obedient hearts. Those are the hearts that follow after Him. That are truly committed to Him. That do what He says and carry out His instructions carefully. Yes, David sinned at times, even big sins. But the difference was the heart. The bent, the inclination, of the heart. One was bent toward rebellion and arrogance. The other was bent toward seeking God with all his heart and obeying what the Lord commanded of him.

For though the Lord delights in sacrifices, sacrifices mean nothing compared to “obeying the voice of the LORD.” (1 Sam. 15:22) A man after God’s own heart will want what God wants, and he will carry it out –exactly as God instructs.

with love,

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