Summary: God “tries the heart,” “sees the heart,” “refines the heart,” and “searches the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7

For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks at the heart.

In both the Old and New Testaments, the word “Heart” refers to the center of an individual’s mental, emotional and spiritual life. Put another way, the heart is the “innermost part of man.” The heart reflects the real person.

Heart and Mind are connected… the Heart knows what is good and bad, heart can understand, reflect, and remember. Heart and Emotions are connected… the Heart is the seat of joy, courage, pain, anxiety, despair, sorrow and fear. Heart and our Spiritual Life are also connected. God “tries the heart,” “sees the heart,” “refines the heart,” and “searches the heart.” The Scriptures make it clear that a person may have an “evil heart,” may be “godless in heart,” may be “perverse and deceitful in heart” and he can “harden his heart.” However, a person may also have a “clean heart” and a “new heart.”

Acts 13:22 (NIV)

After removing Saul, he made David their king. 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.'

To understand David as a person there are two basic questions that need to be asked and answered.

What was David’s view of God?

What was God’s view of David?

The Psalms give us a unique and rich source to answer these questions. Most scholars believe that David wrote at least 73 of these poetic expressions. And the Psalms he wrote communicates clearly David’s view of God and God’s view of David.


Practically every psalm David penned gives us insight into his ideas, attitudes and feelings toward God. Consequently we can only highlight the answer for this first question.


David viewed God as all-powerful. Several of David’s psalms focus extensively on God’s creative power. David often talks about the splendor, beauty and mysteries of nature. David’s view of God’s creative power in nature often generated praise, thanksgiving and worship in his heart. We see in Psalm 19 and 29.


David also viewed God as all-knowing. He recognized that God knew everything about him – every detail of his heart and his actions – at any given moment. Note the opening verse of Psalm 139:1-6.

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.

2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;

You understand my thought afar off.

3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,

And are acquainted with all my ways.

4 For there is not a word on my tongue,

But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

5 You have hedged me behind and before,

And laid Your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is high, I cannot attain it.


David not only viewed God as omnipotent and omniscient, but also as present everywhere. In other words, there was no place David could go but that God was there to guide, to protect, to comfort and to search out his heart.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.


Seeing God’s power in nature led David to appreciate more fully God’s loving concern for mankind. The fact that the Lord gave human beings a certain degree of authority and control over His natural creation overwhelmed David. This is expressed in Psalm 8:3-6

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

4 What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him?

5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,[b]

And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet, …


The vastness of the universe also reminded David of God’s personal attributes. Thus he wrote in Psalm 36:5,6.

5 Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens;

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

6 Your righteousness is like the great mountains;

Your judgments are a great deep;

O LORD, You preserve man and beast.


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