A Man After God’s own Heart

Introduction: How do you want people to remember you? Or put in another way: What do you want on your gravestone?

Here are some examples of how some people are remembered:

I told you I was ill

“Here lies Clyde, His life was full, until he tried to milk a bull.”

“Here lies an atheist: all dressed up and nowhere to go.” 


Do you know how King David was remembered by history?

Acts 13:16  So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 22  he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 

King David has gone down in history as “a man after God’s own heart”.
1 Samuel 13:13,14  And Samuel said to Saul, “The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”

 1 Kings 14:8Ahijah the Prophet said to Jeroboam:  ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: … you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes.

So who is David?

  • He was not particularly brave: David fled from Saul, and then lied to the priests in order to steal the sacred bread of the temple, and then pretended to be mad so that Achish the king of Gath would hide him (1 Sam. 21:10-22:1),
  • He was an unfaithful husband to his wife Michal: He raped his next door neighbour’s wife – and then when she discovered that she was pregnant, he ordered a hit on his neighbour so that he could marry her. (2 Sam. 11) David is an adulterer / rapist and a murderer.

And then David had 19 sons – the first 6 were each with a different mother!

  • David was not a good father:
  • His oldest son Amnon rapes David’s daughter Tamar – and David does nothing about it.
  • His third son Absalom murders this older brother and David does nothing about it.
  • David heard that Adonijah his fourth son was trying to take over the Kingdom from his father – and did nothing

Here is a father who doesn’t discipline his sons or place any boundaries around them.

So how is David “a man after God’s own heart”?

Clearly “a man after God’s own heart” is not a perfect man, otherwise David would have been disqualified. This then is the good news – we do not first have to become perfect to be loved by God!

So what is needed? Let us go back to David:

  1. David runs away from Saul in fear: but then calls his family together. They then meet with the Prophet Gad, and David confesses their cowardice.
  2. The Prophet Nathan meets with David and David confesses his sin: Psalm 51 is a magnificent prayer of confession thought to be linked to this awful act against David’s neighbours.
  3. Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet meet with David and he repents of his poor fathering and appoints Solomon to be King in his place.

David is a man who sees his sin for what it is and repents of it. Note that David’s  repentance is more than just feeling sorry – it is the desire to change your ways. David may justly be termed a man after God’s heart because (unlike Saul) his greatest desire came to be the doing of God’s will. It was from his line that Messiah came.

If I want to be remembered as “a man after God’s own Heart” it has to involve me admitting to my mistakes, and choosing to learn from them by changing course.

“To comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” Finley Peter Dunne (1867–1936)