King David was thoroughly flawed, yet also authentically humble and quickly repentant. The true condition of his heart revealed that he deeply cared about the things that God cared about. That’s what it means to have a heart after God’s own heart: not that you are perfect and never fall into sin, but that your heart is tender toward the Lord and quick to repent when you have violated his command. That is a heart he can bless!
Going Deep // Focus: 1 Chronicles 21:7
God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it. Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census. Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”
Have you ever wondered why King David was called a man after God’s own heart but King Saul was a man rejected by God? On the surface, it seems that David’s sins were equal to, if not more grievous than Saul’s. David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed to cover it up, and now, he had taken this census of Israel’s fighting men—a sin that demonstrated a lack of trust in God’s protection and pride in David’s own military prowess.
When you look at Saul’s sins, it seems that he had merely failed to follow the prophet Samuel’s advice to the letter (1 Samuel 13 & 15). Obviously, both kings made mistakes, but adultery and murder versus disobedience? Shouldn’t we give Saul more of a break that he gets in the history books?
The difference between these two men was in how they responded to godly conviction. When a distressing spirit came upon Saul (1 Samuel 17 & 18), he would send for his young assistant David to soothe his chaotic mind by having him play the harp. The problem was, Saul was only seeking relief from feeling bad rather that repenting for acting badly.
On the other had, when David experienced a guilty conscience, he would fully own up to his wrongdoing and seek the Lord’s forgiveness. David didn’t make excuses, he didn’t blame, he didn’t hedge—he would always come clean. He recognized how deeply wicked his flawed heart was prone to be.
When caught in wrongdoing, the true condition of Saul’s heart was revealed by his justification and minimization of the sin. Saul made excuses. He blamed—his men, Samuel, even God. Saul’s heart grew more and more dark as time moved on, but he chose to remain aloof to it.
The true condition of David’s heart revealed that he deeply cared about the things that God cared about. Immensely flawed, David was also intensely humble and quickly repentant.
That’s what it means to have a heart after God’s own heart: not that you are perfect and never fall into sin, but that your heart is tender toward God, passionate about the things of God, and quick to repent when you have violated the commands of God.
That is the kind of heart God can bless!