“… the Lord looks at the heart …”

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”

7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”
(1Samuel 16:6-12; NIV. Please read 1Samuel 16-18.)

This is David … the shepherd boy who will kill the lion and bear – the faithful son who will deliver the bread and cheese – the courageous (though unlikely) warrior who will defeat the giant – the gifted psalmist who will soothe the king – the hunted servant of the king who will honor the King – the loyal friend who loved the prince – the dynamic leader who rallied the desperate and indebted – the anointed king who ruled the nation – the lustful adulterer who betrayed the Lord and his mighty men – the forgiven sinner who praised God for the cleansing – the distressed father who lost the son – the dying servant who chose the next king.

These things and so many more that document the words and deeds of the man, named David, begin with these words: “… the Lord looks at the heart …”. It will be said of him that he was – according to God – “a man after God’s own heart”.

For all of the great things he did – for which he will be remembered … for all of the shameful things he did – for which he will also be remembered, is there any better epitaph than, “I have found David … a man after God’s own heart”? 

ON SECOND THOUGHT: God is the only one who would ever have the right to acknowledge a man or woman in such a way, but what might be those characteristics – those qualities – that might make you consider that someone is a man or woman “after God’s own heart”?

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