Now we get to the hard questions. Did David do all of God’s will? We can recognize that this is not a rhetorical question as we, along with Paul’s audience, can now see the answer. In 1 Samuel, God’s statement regarding David as a man after his heart is given in context. Keep in mind that this is the only other description using those words.
Samuel tells King Saul:
“…your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
It is immediately apparent that being “a man after God’s own heart” is defined by keeping what the Lord has commanded. These words came to King Saul after he had offered worship and sacrifices to God according to his, that is Saul’s own intent and purposes. From this point, the remainder of his life was spent battling with doing things this way and in open rebellion against God. So it seems that being after God’s own heart is first and foremost about honoring God and following the instructions. Offering to him precisely what was requested. To present to him honorably and without any self-seeking purposes. To put his word before our own; and to remember that he is a “jealous God”.
Please notice, that at the time this was recorded, readers knew nothing of David. A significant amount of time passed before Samuel anointed David king by Chapter 16. So David had surely been “a man after God’s own heart” for a good while before he ever heard of Goliath. We can explore the conversation between David and his king noting that the Israelites, with the exception of David, are frightened. Would that the fear of God had been on display rather than the fear of men. It is at this point, that we really need to ask ourselves — if you clearly understand what it is to fear God, should you also still fear men? Rather we ought to seek out the will of God and concentrate on doing that, leaving the rest to God. Honor God first. And, as much as we can, we need to do what he has commanded us to do.
(This series is based upon a sermon by Dan Richardson)