We have a perfect illustration from Saul’s actions of what not to do. The root to his disobedience was clearly defined by Samuel. 1 Samuel 15:9. May these words never define our heart. It says, “…and were unwilling…” Verse 11 was the Lord’s words to Samuel. It says, “…he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed my commandments.”
Let’s look at what Samuel said to Saul in another incident of disobedience. 1 Samuel 13:14 says, “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart…” I love Psalm 63. David’s words are so precious to me because they express my heart.
Psalm 63:1 says, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” Verse 8 in the Amplified says, “My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.”
When I was young I often heard that God chose David because he was a man after God’s heart. In my mind I thought it meant that David was like God’s heart. However, David’s Psalms reveal his heart’s cry of a seeker.
Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek…” Verse 8 says, “When You said, Seek My face, my heart said to You, Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Are you a seeker? Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Diligence is a deep heart character quality. There is no wavering, hemming or hawing, but perseverance and dedication to obedience. Let’s look at what was said about David. In 1 Samuel 16:14 God sent a distressing spirit on Saul. His servants suggested he look for a skillful harp player.
Verse 18 says that one of the servants brought up David, “…who is…a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” These are apt descriptions of David’s heart.
This is said of Jesus who is our pattern. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” 1 Peter 2:23 is another of His examples for us to follow. It says, “Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”
Our trials are designed to train our heart to respond to God’s loving correction. Hebrews 12:11 says, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
When we grow resentful and weary of our trial, it is a clear indication that we are not being trained by it. Resentment, bitterness, and impatience are fruits of our resistant flesh. Paul trained his heart to obey in whatever circumstances he found himself in.
When I think of all that Paul went through, I have nothing to complain about in comparison. You can read 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 for a refresher. Philippians 4:11 says, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…”
Lack of contentment often leads to disobedience. To be content is to embrace all that the Lord is doing in our lives. It is not looking back and wishing that things were different. It is living in His Presence and gazing upon Him. Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” The path of obedience is strewn with grace.