1 Samuel 13: 14 “The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people”.
I’ve had the pleasure of playing with and coaching some really special athletes. While the ones with incredible talent stood out, it is actually another characteristic that made certain athletes memorable. It is difficult to put into one word, but that special quality is sometimes summarized as “heart”. Certain athletes will give everything they have and seemingly find something extra when needed. They don’t just go through the motions; they compete with passion. They have heart.
The Bible clearly tells us that God loves us all (John 3:16, 1 John 4:9), but as we read his Word we see that certain people have a special place in God’s heart – certain people seem to just stand out from the others. Moses, Caleb, David, Ruth – were a few that God spoke of very affectionately. What was it that made them stand out from the crowd? What made them special in their generation? Did these people lead perfect lives? Was it that they were as close to sinless as humanly possible? Certainly not!
Moses was a murderer (he killed an Egyptian; Exodus 2:12) and early on in his walk with God he was disobedient and faithless. In Exodus 4:12-14a Moses says: “O Lord, please send someone else to do it. Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses..”. David was an adulterer and in effect, a murderer (See the story of Bathsheba and Uriah, 2 Samuel 11). Ruth was not a Jew (God’s chosen people) and in fact she was a Moabite (Ruth 1:4), a people group who were long-standing enemies of God’s people. Clearly God’s special affection for these people was not related to their goodness.
Perhaps God had a special affection for them because they were the most talented? But in Exodus 4:10 we find out that Moses stuttered and couldn’t speak well. When Samuel was sent to Jesse’s house to anoint the new King, he didn’t even notice David but instead thought Eliab was God’s anointed one “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord, But the Lord said to Samuel do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.” 1 Samuel 16:6.
No, when we look at God’s description of these special people, and others, the common theme is not talent, but rather the state of their heart. About Moses, the Bible says in Numbers 12:3 “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” About Caleb, God says “my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly (Numbers 14:24). About Ruth, it was said: “all my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character” (Ruth 3:11). And about Ruth’s great grandson, King David, we hear that “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people” (1 Samuel 13:14).
You may be an accomplished, talented athlete, and while it is good to use those God-given talents diligently, it is critical to understand that God is much more interested in something else – the state of your heart. What is the state of your heart? Would you be described as a man or a woman “after God’s own heart”? If not, let God know that this is your desire, and then allow the Holy Spirit to do his work of sanctification in your life. There will be pain involved, but the supernatural change will be worth whatever sacrifice you make.