Throughout the Bible, we can see the nature of God seeking people after His own heart. But what does the term after God’s own heart really mean? It is an another way of saying that God is seeking people who know Him. It is the difference between reading an autobiography to know about a person and being the person’s child who knows that person.
Priest who shall do according to God’s heart
Then I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who shall do according to what is in My heart and in My mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before My anointed forever.1 Sam 2:35
God chose a priest among the descendants of Levi who shall do according to what was in the heart and mind of God.
King after God’s own heart
But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”1 Sam 13:14
God chose David to be King of Israel for he was a man after God’s own heart.
What is ‘after God’s own heart’?
Then he said, “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham. Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’–let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”Gen 24:12-14
We briefly saw that ‘after God’s own heart‘ is ‘knowing God’. In this section, we will explore deeper using Rebecca as an example. Rebecca simply didn’t become Isaac’s wife but she had to pass a test. The test is to do something additional that was never commanded. The servant just asked water for him but Rebecca knowing the true need of that servant, gave water both to the servant and the camels. This is how our Heavenly Father also seeks in us. He revealed Himself through His Son and gave us His commandments to follow. God expects us not only to keep His commandments revealed through His Son but do what He desires in His heart. This will make the difference between the bride of Isaac and the rest of the women in Haran, Jesse’s sons and David or Eli and Samuel – to become kings and priests of God who will do what He wants in His heart.
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.Hos 6:6
So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.1 Sam 15:22
Obedience is better than sacrifice but God desires mercy and not sacrifice. God wants us to obey His voice and but He desires us to be merciful and do what is in His heart.
God sees the heart
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.Gen 6:5
God saw the intent of the thoughts of the heart of man to find it was evil continually before he decided to destroy all (except Noah and his family) with flood.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”1 Sam 16:7
When God chose David, He explains to Samuel how He looks at people, that is, at their heart.
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.Matt 5:28; Matt 15:18-19
Jesus revealed to us about the Father and what He wants. If we follow Jesus and His commandments, we follow the desires of the Father because, the new covenant is all about us cleansing the inside of our heart.
It is one thing to obey God but quite another to do what He desires. The scribes and Pharisees were more focused in obedience to the law even rejecting what God truly desires. We can clearly see this in the good Samaritan story. The priest and levite were following the law by making sure they are not defiled by helping the half-dead wounded man. Is it God’s desire for the priests to follow the law strictly at the cost of the life of a wounded man? Is it God’s desire that the midwives must speak the truth to Pharaoh at the cost of innocent lives? Absolutely not! Obedience is important but not at the cost of rejecting what God desires. God is seeking people after His own heart. This is the new covenant what Jesus taught.