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Going After God's Heart

“And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’” — Acts 13:22

As we continue our question-and-answer series this month, let us consider the question: “What does it mean to go after God’s heart?” Spiritually speaking, it’s all about the heart. It represents our inner being — all that you are and hope to be. The heart governs our decisions, actions, intentions. It’s the battleground of our spiritual warfare. Everything flows out of the heart (Prov. 4:23). A man after God’s own heart is a person who is committed to doing all of God’s will, like David was.

David defended God’s honor (I Sam. 17): Goliath is defying the armies of Israel and God, and doing so for 40 days (v. 16). David arrives on the scene, and stands up for God when one else would. But he doesn’t just speak out in defense of God. He volunteers to do something about it; David acts out of faith (v. 45-47). A person after God’s own heart is someone who will stand up for what is right and what is true, even in the face of opposition.

David honored God’s anointed (I Sam. 24, 26): David had not one, but two opportunities to kill Saul. But in the face of temptation, David did the right thing. David had great respect for God; high regard for the anointed king. God chose Saul to be king and appointed him by His divine authority, and Saul could only be removed by the same authority who put him there — God. A person after God’s heart will respect God’s authority, even when it’s inconvenient or doesn't make sense.

David honored his word (I Sam. 20; II Sam. 9): David and Jonathan, Saul’s son, were best friends. Jonathan had to make a choice — David or his father — and he chose his best friend. In return, David makes a promise to Jonathan that he will show kindness to his friend’s house forever (20:14-17). Later, in II Sam. 9, David fulfills his promise to Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. A person after God’s heart is someone who is faithful to their word.

David handled his sin correctly (II Sam. 11-12): David commits the sin of adultery, and confesses his sin (12:13) as well as accepts the consequences of his sin. David wanted to maintain his fellowship with God, and a person who is after God’s heart values their fellowship with God above all other things.

David refused to insult God (II Sam. 24): God is angry with Israel and then David sins, leading to God punishing Israel with a plague. It can only be stopped if David offers a sacrifice on the threshing floor of Araunah, who wants to give it all to David for free. But David refused to insult God by offering a sacrifice that cost him nothing. A person after God’s own heart will not insult God with any sacrifice or service that is less than their best.

-- Steven Matthews


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