But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”
1 Samuel 13:14
God Looks at the Heart
Researchers claim that we form our first impressions of people in the first six seconds after we meet them. We form our opinions quickly, based on what we see—facial appearance, age, skin color, clothing, and the like.
This is how it was for the people of Israel and King Saul. Based on a quick first impression, many Israelites concluded that Saul would be an excellent king. There he was, the perfect physical specimen. What more could they want in a ruler? The peoples’ first impressions, however, were greatly misleading. Soon Saul’s heart became corrupt. As time went by, Saul hardened his heart more and more until royal convenience and expediency took full precedence over obedience to God. Finally, the Lord had enough. God would choose another king—one after his own heart.
God sent the prophet Samuel to the house of Jesse to choose the new king. As Samuel observed seven of Jesse’s sons, he looked only at the outward appearance. Samuel looked at each of them thinking that he was God’s choice, but the Lord said, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
When the last son, David, was brought in, Samuel saw a handsome young man with honest and alert eyes, the picture of health, but his youthful good looks did not suggest one strong enough to rule Israel. But God knew better. David’s humility and trusting heart were exactly what God was looking for!
What does God see when he looks at us? Does he see hearts that admit their sin and seek God’s forgiveness? Does he see faith that looks to Jesus’ cross for pardon? Does he see people who are willing to follow Jesus as faithful disciples? If so, then we are people after God’s own heart!
Lord, forgive me for the times I have followed my own sinful ways rather than your holy ways. Give me your heart. Amen.