“And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will.” – Acts 13:22
In the midst of Paul’s sermon here in Acts 13, he describes the former king of Israel, David, in a very unique way – as a man after God’s own heart. What distinguished King David as a man after God’s own heart? It was his commitment to fulfill all the will of God. It should be our desire as well to be men and women after God’s own heart by submitting to and following the will of God in our lives.
King Saul was chosen by the people as king of Israel because of his kingly appearance – a man’s man, the people’s king. However, over time Saul grew out of his original humility and disobeyed the will and word of God. Multiple times he willfully disobeyed the command of God and because of that, he was told by Samuel that the Lord had removed him from his authority as king. Who did God then choose to be king as Saul’s successor? It was not another man’s man, but a humble, unassuming shepherd boy from a small family in Judah. What was special about this young shepherd boy that God chose to exalt him to such a prominent position? It was his commitment to fulfill God’s will and follow God’s command, obviously the exact opposite of Saul’s continued disobedience.
God knew the purity and integrity of David’s heart long before he elevated him to authority in Israel. God knew that the prominence of the throne would not go to David’s head like it did with Saul. God removed a man who ignored God’s will and he placed in his stead a man who would be fully submissive to God’s will and commands in his kingly reign. David shows this submission to God’s will in his willingness to fight Goliath. He was willing to risk his life to stand up for the name of God that was being perpetually blasphemed by Goliath and the Philistines. Saul, who should have represented Israel, was afraid and content to ignore it, but David was willing to follow’s God will and defend the name of God with Goliath.
Other men have displayed this “God’s own heart” submission to fulfilling God’s will. Job said in the midst of his severe affliction: “My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:11-12). Job (like David and many other godly men and women) was committed to keeping God’s way and not declining from God’s will. Job refused to go back from a single commandment that had come out of God’s lips. He even viewed the commands of God’s word and will as more necessary than his natural food. Job would not neglect God’s will because that would be spiritual starvation for his inner man. Job displayed that humble submission that is reflective of a man after God’s own heart.
Then, of course, the pinnacle example for all things for us is Jesus Christ. Jesus was fully one with God the Father, but yet he shows submission to God’s will in his humanity. “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39) Christ, as God manifest in the flesh, gives us a glimpse into literally what God’s own heart looks like – a commitment to holiness, purity, and salvation in accordance with the word of the Lord. Jesus was certainly wholly committed to “fulfilling all of God’s will.” It was God’s will for an elect people to be redeemed and saved and Christ perfectly fulfilled the will of God and finished the work of redemption on the cross. Christ perfectly fulfilled the will of the Father.
Therefore, God looks out for men and women who display that same commitment to God’s word and following the precepts and standard of that word in their lives as we see displayed in the life of Christ. When Saul displayed that he did not possess that “God’s own heart submission to God’s will”, the Lord promptly looked out in Israel and found a man who would fulfill all his will. I trust we desire to be men and women after God’s own heart; disciples who are fully and whole-heartedly committed to fulfilling God’s will. God is looking for disciples after his own heart, and we see from David that is who God will exalt to serve him in his kingdom. Our lives should be fully devoted to our hearts mirroring Christ’s heart of service and submission and devotion to fulfilling all the will of God.