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Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart

By Rev. Tim Boger

One of the most well-known people in all of scripture is David. Everyone seems to know of the young shepherd boy who killed the ever-menacing giant, Goliath, with a sling and a stone. It was from that moment David rose from obscurity to become the greatest king in Israel’s history. It is David who is forever remembered as the most talented of musicians and toughest of soldiers. It is David who led Israel to its “Golden Age.” It is David who authored dozens and dozens of Psalms, one of the most beloved books in the Bible. It is David who purchased the threshing floor of Araunah that later became the temple mount where his son, Solomon, built the first and greatest temple. And finally, most importantly, it is from his lineage that Jesus, the Messiah was born.

Hundreds of years after David’s death, the angel announced, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

Today more than three thousand years after David lived, an entire city, Bethlehem, is still known as “the city of David.”

Have you ever considered…why David? Why did God choose him? The answer goes back to the very first time we are introduced to this young boy in I Samuel 16 when the prophet Samuel was instructed by God to anoint the next king.

After a very impressive brood of older brothers (Jesse’s seven other sons) all marched past Samuel, scripture records, “…man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” We now know it wasn’t the height, strength, stature or resume God was looking for. Instead, as the Apostle Paul stated in Acts 13:22, God said, “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.”

What an amazing description! What a great testimony to be remembered as a man or a woman “after God’s own heart.”

Thankfully, while writing many psalms, David revealed and described very specifically (I think it was so we could learn!) what a heart like God’s heart looks like.

First, it’s one that worships God. “I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:3

One that trusts God. “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

One that loves God. “I love you, O Lord, my strength.” Psalm 18:1

One that is faithful to God. “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

David also desired to be obedient to God when he prayed, “Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart.” Psalm 119:34

When David sinned against God, he was repentant. “For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great.” Psalm 25:11

Finally, David revealed that he could trust God to forgive and cleanse him from his sin. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” Psalm 51:1-3

What an incredible and very helpful description for all of us to learn what it means and looks like to have a heart “after God’s own heart.” Although God, in His sovereignty, chose David for a very important task at a very important time, it’s clear he was far from perfect… and so are we. But thankfully, David, knowing of God’s love and forgiveness, teaches us… it’s far more important to focus on the inside instead of the outside!

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Tim Boger, senior pastor of Big Woods Bible Church in Lock Haven.

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