David vs Saul (II)

Spirituality

The first quality God saw in David was spirituality. As mentioned in the previous section, the LORD had sought out a man after His own heart. What does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart? It means that you are a person “whose life is in harmony with the Lord.”[1] What is important to Him is important to you. What burdens Him also burdens you.[2] When He says, “Go to the right,” you go to the right. When He says, “Stop that in your life,” you immediately stop it. When He says, “This is wrong and I want you to change,” you come to terms with it because you have a heart for God.[3] When you are deeply spiritual, “you have a heart that is sensitive to the things of God.”[4]
2 Chronicles 16:9 explains it this way: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.”[5] So what is God looking for? He is looking for men and women whose hearts are completely His. That means that there are no locked closets and nothing has been swept under the rugs.[6] When you do wrong, you admit it and immediately come to terms with it. You are grieved over wrongdoing.[7] You are concerned about those things that displease Him.[8] You long to please Him in your actions. You care about the motivations behind your actions.[9] That is true spirituality, and that is the first quality David had.
On the other hand, Saul disobeyed God by taking over the function of the priest.[10] There was further disobedience in 1 Samuel 15 when he did not completely destroy the Amalekites. Samuel confronted him about his sin and said, “What meaneth … this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”[11] And Saul said, “The people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God.”[12] He offered some sort of a justification for his sin by saying it was done for the glory of God. We can never disobey God and say that we are doing it for the cause of Christ, or that we are doing it to glorify God. But that was what Saul did and because of his sin, he was rejected as king.
True, David would also disobey God.[13] But as David Guznik points out, “The difference between him [David] and Saul was great. David felt the guilt and shame one should feel when they sin. Saul didn’t feel it. His conscience was dead to shame and his heart was dead to God. Saul’s heart was so dead he could directly disobey God.”[14] C. S. Tan remarks,

Though many times David strayed away from God, yet each time when God spoke to him, he turned back to God. It is just like a compass. You take a compass and try to turn it to any direction, yet it will still point in one particular direction. No matter how David went away from God, he came back to Him. No wonder God said that David was a man after His own heart.[15]


[1] Nobis, “God’s Heart, God’s Man, God’s Ways.” Cf. C. S. Tan, “The Making of the Man of God,” in Prophets of Fire and Water, ed. Timothy Tow (Singapore: Christian Life Publishers, 1989), 122; Burrows, God’s Heart, God’s Way, God’s Man (or Woman), 3.

[2] Seay, Life of David; Burrows, God’s Heart, God’s Way, God’s Man (or Woman), 3.

[3] Seay, Life of David; Burrows, God’s Heart, God’s Way, God’s Man (or Woman), 3.

[4] Nobis, “God’s Heart, God’s Man, God’s Ways.”

[5] Seay, Life of David; Burrows, God’s Heart, God’s Way, God’s Man (or Woman), 3; Nobis, “God’s Heart, God’s Man, God’s Ways.”

[6] Seay, Life of David; Burrows, God’s Heart, God’s Way, God’s Man (or Woman), 3.

[7] Seay, Life of David; Burrows, God’s Heart, God’s Way, God’s Man (or Woman), 3.

[8] Seay, Life of David; Burrows, God’s Heart, God’s Way, God’s Man (or Woman), 3.

[9] Seay, Life of David; Nobis, “God’s Heart, God’s Man, God’s Ways.”

[10] 1 Sm 13:8-10.

[11] 1 Sm 15:14.

[12] 1 Sm 15:15.

[13] 2 Sm 11:1-25, 24:1-14.

[14] David Guznik, David Guzik’s Commentary on 1 Samuel (Santa Barbara: Enduring Word Media, 2010), under “1 Samuel 15 - God Rejects Saul as King,” http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/0915.htm (accessed September 25, 2012).

[15] Tan, “The Making of the Man of God,” 122-23.