Psalm 139 (NLT)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
I think it’s words like these, along with many others that David expressed deep from within his heart, that led to him being called “a man after God’s own heart.” Acts 13:22 (NLT) says:
“But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’”
David chased after God so much, modelled his attitude and habits and heart after Him, that he became known for it. He was willing to do everything he had to for God, and despite his many faults and transgressions, David always (ultimately) chose to align his life with God.
Ever since I had heard the story of David, how God had called him a man after His own heart, I wanted that: to be called a woman after God’s own heart. I’m certain oodles of people want this also, to have such an attitude toward God that we naturally start to say to Him, “Tell me if I’m doing anything that doesn’t line up with you! Please! Look at my heart – my deepest thoughts and desires – and know them all! Please inspect my thoughts and become familiar with my fears! Take my hand and show me with both grand and simple gestures, everything you have for me, starting now and ending never!”
I’m sure there is an abundance of people who want this, but how many of us crave it? Do we desperately desire it? What are we truly willing to give up for it?
These two little verses describe such an extreme life. I’m sure I had no idea what I was really asking for, after hearing David’s story as a kid. I had only learned a fraction of all his troubles and hardships, everything he struggled through, everything God tested Him with, to bring about such a deep-seated attitude in him.
Reading any number of Psalms, we can get a taste of David’s struggles and pain, but also an idea of his joy and rewards! We can begin to understand the innumerable payoff that existed because of this outlook on life, that starts with an honest desire, deepens through trials, and flourishes by the invited, eternal closeness of His Hands at work in us. I can tell you, God will act on those simple desires of ours made in sheer honesty, whether out of utter innocence or tired experience.
Every time you read these verses – this whole Psalm – I hope you feel gently handled by the words, sincerely invited to yearn as David did. Then, firmly bolstered, knowing that these words are not for half-expressed hearts, but ultimately submitted souls, understanding that this is what it means to be someone after God’s own heart.