“A Man After God's Own Heart”
God tells Saul, “‘But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after His own heart. The Lord has commanded him to be a prince over his people because you have not kept what the Lord has commanded you.’ and Samuel rose and went."
Now, we know this famous text, “the Lord sought out for a man after His own heart.” I'm just going to tell you briefly that the way in which we normally understand that is slightly incorrect. I can point you to some really good resources. A friend, a former student of Bill’s as well as a colleague of mine, Jason DeRouchie, he's written a big, long article on this and has locked it down.
What it says here in Hebrew is Yahweh has sought out for himself a man according to his heart. That phrase at the end, “according to His heart”, can be either adjectival or adverbial. It can either modify the man (adjectival) or the choosing or the seeking (adverbial). In every other instance that we have in the Old Testament, it's always adverbial, modifying the verb. Even David uses this to describe Yahweh's choice of him according to his own will. Some of the translations do that. So that's what it means, “according to his will.”
So Yahweh sought out for Himself a man according to His own will. I'm going to tell you the contrast here. It's important because it's going to explain something I mentioned earlier. Saul is the people's choice. David is Yahweh's choice. Does that make sense? He said, you asked for it. I gave it to you. It didn't work. Now I'm going to give you something that will work. In a very weird way, because it's going to be broken and he's going to have to fix it.
But one of the reasons David's kingship isn't removed from him because of the David and Bathsheba affair or the census affair is because of this irrevocable pledge right here, that David is the Lord's man, no matter what, which is kind of an assurance of faith thing. Once we become His man or His woman, we can never be rejected, even in the midst of our sin. He atones for that somehow. All right. So it's very important.
So in 2nd Samuel 7:21, this is where the Davidic covenant comes into play. It says, "For the sake of your word and according to your will." It's the exact same prepositional phrase. You have done this great thing and made it known to your servant. So he is hyperlinking back to 1 Samuel 13 and 2 Samuel 7, saying this is what's happened now. It's an amazing thing. What you've done is you've taken away the crushing weight of trying to be a man after God's own heart, which you can't be.
The whole problem here is we need circumcised hearts and that's not happening until Jesus. That's the thing. Actually, the heart plays a big role in the Samuel narratives. Saul gets a new heart, then it's taken away. David is a man according to Yahweh's heart or will. When David has chosen in 1 Samuel 16, they say, "Oh, here's this big, tall brother." The Lord says, "Hey, don't look at him. Man looks with the eyes, but God looks with the heart."
But they translate it as man looks at the outer appearance, God looks at the inner person. But that's not what it means. Man looks with his eyes. That's all he can see. But God looks with His mind, or will, or heart. So He is making that choice. So that's an important thing.
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