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Becoming More Like David, A Man After God's Own Heart

By Tom Bushnell

When faced with difficult decisions, should we act like King David or King Saul?

Proverbs 3:5 and 6 (King James version ) encourages us to: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

King David and King Saul are as antithetical as any two people in the Bible. If we look at some of the defining moments in their lives, we see two men with drastically different outlooks on life.

When faced with a decision, Saul's first thought was, "Is this pleasing to me?"

King David's first thought usually was, "Is my choice pleasing to the Lord?"

Let's look at some examples: When preparing to fight the Philistines, King Saul was impatient, disobedient and showed contempt for the Lord when he failed to wait seven days for Samuel to come and offer the sacrifice at Gilgal. Though he knew it was against the law, he went ahead and offered it himself!

David, on the other hand, exercised patience, obedience and reverence for the Lord throughout his life, actually waiting for years resting in the Lord's timing for his kingdom to be established.

Saul was disobedient when he spared king Agag and the best of the livestock of the Amalekites. (Partial obedience is disobedience).

David was careful to follow the commands of the Lord, even during battle.

&#Saul made rash proclamations that he did not follow through with. For example; Saul commanded that no one eat any food on the day of a battle. He said cursed be any man if they did. His son, Jonathan, not knowing about the order, ate some honey. Saul, at the urging of the people, did not follow though with his rash proclamation.

David was careful about the promises he made. He kept his promises. Even after King Saul's son, Jonathan's, death, David kept his promise, treating Mephibosheth, Jonathan's lame son, well.

Many times before making an important decision, Saul did not seek or inquire of the Lord. Nor did he, on a regular basis.

David was constantly inquiring of the Lord for guidance.

Saul was more interested in what the people thought of him than what the Lord wanted him to do. We see this time after time.... offering the sacrifice before Samuel arrived.... sparing Agag.... saving the best livestock.... eating at the witch of Endor's house etc.

David, on the other hand, was much more interested in what pleased God. When Shimei, the Benjamite, threw stones at David, David did not retaliate but understood it was part of the punishment for his sin concerning Uriah the Hittite and Bathsheba his wife.

Another interesting contrast between these two men was how they responded when they had sinned. Both said "I have sinned". Saul did not show sincere repentance when he said to Samuel the priest in his next breath, "I Have sinned, but honereth me before the people."

When David sinned and then repented, the Bible says that in his remorse he did not even allow servants to attend him. He had a changed heart.

How can we apply this to our lives? What can we do to avoid being a "Saul" and be more like David, a "man after God's own heart"?

We should acknowledge the Lord as well as inquire of him in all situations.

We should fear, honor and reverence God and not treat Him or His grace as something common or unholy.

We should trust the Lord and not give in to fear.

We should obey the Lord with our whole heart, not just partial obedience or an outward showing.

We should be careful in what we promise and do that which we said. If we are doing something out of obedience to our Lord, we should not worry what others think. We should care more what God thinks.

When we do fail, we need to be truly repentant, not just before men, but before God.

Honoring and obeying the Lord should be the first thing we do, not the last thing we think of.