When Saul was chosen as the first king of Israel, he was humble, but at the end of his reign his heart changed.
Our hearts are often shown during stressful situations, and king Saul showed his when he offered a burnt offering himself in disobedience to God’s law that said only priests may do so. Saul tried to excuse himself: “…I felt compelled to offer the burned offering” (1 Sa 13:11), but the Samuel said, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord… now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you” (1 Sa 13:13-14).
Saul’s problem was not simply disobedience – clearly his heart was no longer committed to what it should have been. Samuel later said, “…Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king” (1 Sa 15:23). God wanted someone with a heart like His heart. I think that’s what He wants today.
King David is referred to a man after God’s own heart (Ac 13:22). Why? It wasn’t because he was perfect or never sinned. There was something special about David’s heart, his love for God, even though because of physical weakness it wasn’t always seen in his actions.
David loved God – you can’t read his Psalms without recognizing his love for God, His ways, and His word.
David revered God – He was “awesome,” to be respected and feared at all times and in all ways.
David wanted to do the will of God – generally, David’s desire was to do God’s things in God’s ways.
David repented when he sinned – when confronted about his adultery with Bathsheba, David replied, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Sa 12:13). No excuses. No self-justification. Only the need for forgiveness.
On the surface, the differences between king Saul and king David may not be immediately obvious to everyone. Each had their successes and failures, personal strengths and flaws. But when choosing David as king, Samuel was told, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as a man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sa 16:7). Their hearts were completely different!
What about our hearts? We must allow our hearts to learn the ways of God. Love, honor, and respect God more than anyone or anything. Desire to do God’s will, whether it is initially our will or not. And always immediately repent when we know we have sinned. That’s what a heart like God’s looks like! dd