1 Samuel 16:11-18
What does it really mean by this statement “A man after God’s own heart”?
We in this generation like many others before us have always read this and assume that it means that David was a man who pursued after God’s heart, while this may true to some extent, the statement doesn’t really mean that David was pursuing the heart of God! If we choose to believe that he was a man after the desires of God’s own heart then we must figure out what to do with the same statement in Genesis 1: 26 “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness,” A close observation of the text in its original language reveals that the statement was actually communicating a very different concept.
Let’s begin by examining the context! Years before this, Israel rejected the LORD God as their king, and they wanted a human king instead. one just like what the surrounding nations had. God gave them their human king, after their own desire, the king Saul. They desired to be like the surrounding nations. They in other words wanted a king according to what the other nations had. And that is exactly what God gave them! When Saul sinned by failing to keep the commandment of the Lord God decided that Saul’s kingdom has to come to a stop, remember that Saul was a man according to the surrounding nations but God sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people.” The word “after” is to be understood to mean “like” or “according to” therefore it would be more clearly translated as, “the Lord has sought a man for Himself according to His own heart.”
I don’t intend to take you away from your old time convictions at all because clearly by all his plasms David was indeed a man after God’s own heart but I want to communicate the concept this verse is communicating to us. Here it is: “God chose David according to His own heart” not like the kind of king they wanted. It’s like letting a child pick what he desperately cries for and after it collapses you pick one for him that is more durable. That’s all. We don’t need to be like all the nations! We don’t even need to be like all the other Christians, instead the opposite is what is desired, we ought to be the salt of the earth, we ought to be the light of the world. Not like the others. We don’t necessarily have to do things just because our neighbors are doing. This leads us to the question: what is the reason behind our behavior? We ought to be content. It’s all about what man desires versus what God really wants.
Shalom Adonai Eleikhem! (May the peace of the Lord be with you!)