Summary: What was it that made David a man after God's heart? In 1 Samuel 16, we learn that David had a humble, hard-working, halleluiah-filled heart!

David: A Man after God’s Heart (1)

Scott Bayles, pastor

Blooming Grove Christian Church: 2/21/2016

Most everyone who has ever been to Sunday school or Vacation Bible School as a child knows the familiar story of David and Goliath. We know David as the young shepherd boy who slew a giant with one stone and a simple slingshot. We know that this brave shepherd boy grew up to be a great king of Israel. But there’s much more to David’s life than just slaying giants.

Much is written in our Bibles about David. More has been written about David than any other person in the Bible other than Jesus himself. In the Old Testament there are sixty-six chapters written about David and in the New Testament there are fifty-nine references to this great man. We can read about David’s life in 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles, but we can also glean insight into what he thought and felt by reading many of the Psalms he wrote. Seventy-three Psalms are attributed to David.

Shepherd boy, king, mighty warrior, musician, poet, sinner, saint. These words all describe David, but perhaps the most captivating words about David were spoken by God himself. These words are inscribed in the New Testament:

God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.” (Acts 13:22 NLT)

David’s life was a portrait of success and failure, and highlights the fact that he was far from perfect, yet God calls him a man after my God’s own heart. So what was there about David’s heart that distinguished him from his contemporaries, setting him apart as God’s man, a man in whom God chose to confide, sharing both His secrets and times of intimate communion? What did God see when He looked at David's heart? How do we become a man or woman after God's own heart? To help answer those questions I’d like to spend the next few weeks getting to know the heart of David and, perhaps, in the process we’ll get to know the heart of God as well.

David’s story begins, not on the battlefield with Goliath, but on the ancient hillsides of Israel as a silver-bearded priest ambles down a narrow trail. A heifer lumbers behind him and Bethlehem lies ahead of him. The priest is Samuel. And the tale is told in 1 Samuel 16, so if you have a Bible in your lap or an app on your phone, you can open it there.

Before we get to the story, however, let me provide a little background. King Saul—Israel’s first King—isn’t the king he used to be. He’s grown ever more prideful and arrogant. He’s openly defied and disobeyed God. Saul’s downward spiral from saint to sinner has left Samuel heartbroken. Samuel mentored Saul. He tried to teach Saul to follow God’s path, but Saul’s heart is growing harder, his eyes haughtier. So God decides it’s time for a change. The Lord says to Samuel:

“You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” (1 Samuel 16:1 NLT)

So Samuel walks the trail to Bethlehem. His stomach churns and thoughts race. It’s hazardous to anoint a new king while the old on still sits on the throne! But unlike Saul, Samuel was obedient. He journeyed to Bethlehem—a seemingly insignificant town, nestled in the foothills some six miles from Jerusalem. His arrival turns the heads of the townsfolk. There were problems in the palace, which made the people in the countryside uneasy. Genuine fear stretched across the land at that time. You can see it reflected in the immediate reaction of Bethlehem’s inhabitants: “What’s Samuel doing here?” “Why is he coming to Bethlehem?” “What’s wrong?” “What’s happening?” They don’t know why Samuel is there, so they’re fearful. “Do you come in peace?” they ask.

Samuel replies, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord” (1 Samuel 16:5 NIV). Samuel then invites these locals, including a man named Jesse and his sons, to join him. The following scene has a dog-show feel to it.

As it turns out Jesse brings seven sons with him to participate in the sacrifice and the following feast. Then the Bible says, "When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” (1 Samuel 16:6 NLT)

Hey, that must be the one, Samuel thought. He didn’t say it out loud, but that’s what he was thinking. Why? Because Eliab looked like the type you’d normally choose for a king. No doubt he was tall and impressive—a real warrior. Later, Eliab joins Israel’s army and marches off to war. Samuel is impressed, but God isn’t. So the show continues:

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