And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.'
Acts 13:22 (ESV)
A man after God’s own heart.
I have struggled with this description of King David for many years. King David, the warrior who slayed Goliath, the commander who lead Israel’s forces to its greatest territorial conquests, the man who showed kindness and mercy to King Saul and his family. It is the same King David who committed adultery with Bathsheba, arranged the murder of her husband, and pridefully sought a census of his people, leading to three days of pestilence and the death of 70,000 Israelites.
How do the wicked actions of David demonstrate God’s heart? The answer is found in David’s own words. Through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, David wrote these following verses after he repented of his sin of adultery and murder involving Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Psalms 51:4 (ESV)
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalms 51:12 (ESV)
It is not about living a sinless life. It is not about thinking pure thoughts. It is not about always doing the right thing. No one can. To live a perfect life is impossible. God knows this. David knew this as well. David’s heart was like God’s because He continually sought God’s guidance through prayer and reading the Scriptures. He confessed his sin and repented to God. He made no excuses. It wasn’t because of Bathsheba’s behavior or the pride of his generals. It was because of his sin alone.
A heart like God means there are no excuses. We are responsible for our actions and sins. We must come before God, confess our sins, and repent. And we can only do this if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And once we do, God can restore us with the joy of His salvation.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.