By Mike Riley

In 1 Samuel 13:14, we learn that in God’s eyes, David was a man after His own heart, unlike Saul, who had presumptuously offered a sacrifice to God that was unauthorized for him to offer, because he was not a priest (1 Samuel 13:8-13; cf. 1 Samuel 7:7-10).

Before Israel was to go into battle against the Philistine army, Saul had been instructed by Samuel in 1 Samuel 10:8, to wait seven days at Gilgal until Samuel arrived with further instructions regarding the sacrifices offered to God. When Samuel arrived at a later time than was set, Saul became impatient and offered the sacrifice himself, which could only be offered by Samuel, the priest (1 Samuel 13:8-10).

When Samuel asked Saul why he had offered the sacrifice, Saul began to make excuses, saying that because the people were scattered, because Saul was late in arriving, and that the Philistines were gathering for battle at Michmash, he “felt compelled” to offer the sacrifice (1 Samuel 13:11-12).

As a result of Saul‘s disobedience, God strips Saul of his role as king, and chooses David to succeed him (1 Samuel 13:14-NKJV; cf. 1 Samuel 16:13; Acts 13:21-22).

Why was David considered a man after God’s own heart, even though he was a murderer and an adulterer? (cf. 2 Samuel 11; 2 Samuel 12:9).

Because unlike Saul‘s attitude of self-centeredness (1 Samuel 13:13-14; 1 Samuel 15:10-28; 1 Samuel 28:15-18), David possessed (1) an attitude characterized by godly repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10; cf. 2 Samuel 12:1-13; Psalm 51), and (2) a heart desirous of being fully obedient to God’s will (cf. Acts 13:22; 1 Kings 15:5).

Like David of old, we too can be a man or woman after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22; cf. 1 Samuel 13:14), if we will have but a humble and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17; cf. Psalm 34:18), desirous of being fully obedient to God’s will (Matthew 7:21; cf. Acts 13:22; Hebrews 5:5-9; 1 Peter 1:13-22).