The Heart! The Heart!

By on January 24, 2015

“The Heart! The Heart!”
1Samuel 16:1-13

November 4, 2007
by C.W. Powell


“1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD.
3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.
4 And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?
5 And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him.
7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.
9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this.
10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these.
11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the young-est, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” (1Sa 16:1-13 AV)

I wish to say several things about the passage before us and the anointing of David to be king of Israel, and then I will proceed to the central part of the message: the idea that Christianity is a religion of the heart, and proceed to make appli-cations.

I. Let us look at the details: I would suggest a few ideas from the historical data:


A. Samuel was not aware of the secret purposes of God in the kingdom of Israel. He had real affection for Saul, but I suspect that Samuel’s grief was more for the sheep than it was for Saul, and sorrow for the grief that would come to them. It was grief for Saul because of what Saul would do to the nation.

B. Samuel knew that he would have to be very careful in what he did, for there was evidence even then that he was becoming a cruel tyrant who would seek to maintain his power by murder if necessary.

C. God gave Samuel a good reason to go to Bethlehem. He was to go to offer a sacrifice: this was legitimate and proper.

D. There is also perhaps some indication that the state of Israel was unsettled, for the men of Bethlehem were afraid at the coming of Samuel. There was no reason for the fear of the elders, but it shows the unsettled state in Israel at that time. See verses 4,5

E. Each of the sons of Jesse were called before Samuel and each of those present was rejected by God. Samuel was much impressed with Eliab, the eldest, but God rejected him, for something in his heart was not proper be-fore God.

F. When all were rejected, Samuel asked if there were no more sons. Then it was revealed that the youngest was tending the sheep. When this son, David, was brought before Samuel, God commanded that he be anointed king. Verse 13 says that the “Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”

II. The contrast is made between that which is fair in appearance and that which possesses the inward beauty of the Holy Spirit.


A. God is far more interested in the condition of the heart than in the condition of the flesh. I would call your atten-tion to the following scriptures:

1. Proverbs 16: 23-25 “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”. There is no man who does not justify himself in his own eyes.
2. David had something that Eliab did not have: a wise heart, though he was but a lad tending the sheep. As I said a few weeks ago in the sermon on two part sermon on “Serve the Lord in truth with all your heart” if the eye is not single, the whole body is full of darkness.

B. What is meant by heart? it means the religious core of the soul. Every man is religious and at center is a wor-shipper of the true God or a worshipper of idols. It is impossible for a man to diagnose his own condition. The heart is the eye of the soul—if it loves God in truth, then the whole body is full of light; if it is double-minded, then it does not understand anything at all, but walks in darkness and the heart is filled with corruption. This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”

1. No man is pure of himself, for we are all blinded by the sin and corruption of our heart. The things that blind us in our souls are spiritual things, not material things, for our idols are spiritual; an idol of gold or silver or wood is nothing in the world, as Paul says. They can do neither good nor evil. It is what is in the heart that defiles us and blinds us.

2. Jesus described these things in Mark 7: “18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Be-cause it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, de-ceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” (Mr 7:18-23 AV)

3. Jesus is saying that there is a whole legion of evils in our hearts and defile us and make us unfit for fellow-ship with God: thirteen are mentioned here: evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covet-ousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, but these things do not exhaust the list, for Galatians 5 gives a different list of seventeen with some overlap: Adultery, fornica-tion, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedi-tions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Just because we may feel that we have escaped one does not mean that we have not fallen into another. While a man may not in de-gree be as committed to one evil as much as his friend, yet he falls into another, for evil does not come in the same way in every man. For instance, a man may not be a bankrobber, but may commit adultery; while he may not be a perjurer, he might embezzle funds. It is also true that we are much more prone to con-demn evil in others and be blind to our own faults.

4. This is our natural condition apart from the grace of God and the mercy that is in Christ. No man can de-liver himself from the corruption of his heart. Not by discipline, not by the affliction of the flesh, not by re-ligious ceremonies, not by works of righteousness, not by self-sacrifice for others, not by learning or by training. All of these things have their value before men and have use in the world, but not before God. As Paul put it: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” (Ga 6:14-16 AV)

5. But what does it mean to be a man after God’s own heart? David was not a man without sin nor did he live a blameless life? Whatever does this mean?

a) There are two possible meanings of the phrase itself, which is found in 1Sam 13:14, to which 16:7 is a clear reference.


(1) It can mean, God will chose after his own will and not man’s will.

(2) It can mean, David is a man who will do the will of God and manifest the image of Christ far better than Saul would. This is the meaning, I think, although something of the other may be in-cluded. 1Sam 13:27 “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you….” Politically incorrect: some men are better than others.

b) I would suggest that even at that very young age, the work of the Holy Spirit was transforming David inwardly. His character was being transformed by the Holy Spirit in the likeness of Christ, something that would continue all his life. We are speaking of perfection here, for David had many flaws, but the beginnings of a transformed life were being seen. Did David enjoy the work of the Spirit to the same degree that the church does today; no, that must await until the coming of the Lord Jesus and His cru-cifixion, but the beginnings of true spiritual life were experienced by David, as so many of the Psalms testify.

6. What are those inward qualities that belong to Christ and not to the flesh. These also are also a list of these qualities in Galatians 5. Jesus did not mention these good things in Mark 7, but they are implied in His parables and other teachings. It is the evil heart that defiles us; we are cleansed only by the washing of His blood and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, as the New Testament so fully declares. What are these things that are characteristics of the newness that is in Christ. Galatians 5: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Ga 5:22-23 AV)

a) There is no exhaustive list, and some people have certain of these qualities more advanced than others, but all are manifest in the child of God to some degree.

b) What is love? Paul describes it in another place by it’s qualities: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself un-seemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (1Co 13:4-7 AV) Is Paul saying that Love contains all the other things? I think so, for love is the fulfilling of the law: all the law is in love, and all the qualities of godliness are there.

c) I do not think that these qualities are meant by the Lord to be dissected and analyzed and torn apart. They are evidences of the life of the Spirit and defy such analysis. A living puppy is to be enjoyed: if you dissect him you will kill him and he will provide no more joy. So it is in Christ. The qualities are of a whole and are found together and blend together, because the Spirit is one.

d) What is joy? So many people in the modern age have no joy in Christ. They do not delight in Him. They spend no time with him. They have no joy in the things of Christ and in the people of Christ. Their lives are filled with stress, with complaining and griping. Did David have joy, joy, joy all the time down in his heart? Probably not, and the Psalms tell a different tale. But some of the Psalms rise to an exhilaration that is much too rare even among New Testament believers. I have known some joyful Christians in my life and they left a very deep mark upon me. There is exceeding joy in the presence of the Lord and those who abide in his presence are deeply marked by it. But it is the joy of the Lord that is our strength.

e) What is peace? This is a condition of the heart. It means tranquility of soul, which goes with faith, gentleness, and patience.

f) What is longsuffering? It means you stay at your post and do your job even if times get tough and the weather gets nasty. You do this because you have an inward strength. Mothers have longsuffering in one way and fathers have it in another. Mothers have it in giving themselves to the daily routine and labor of child-rearing and home-building; Fathers have it in going to work every day, laboring long to provide for the needs of the family., so that they may eat their own bread with quietness of heart and soul.

g) What is gentleness and goodness? You know it when you see it, don’t you. Not pulling the scab off the wound; not scratching eyes out, not shrill and threatening, not vindictive and vengeful.

h) What is faith? Faith is submission to every word and every decree of God.

i) What is meekness and temperance. Meekness is staying under the yoke and resisting the inflation of pride and arrogance; temperance avoids extremes in thought, mind, and soul, but the temperate man is in control

7. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

III. Application.


A. Jesus Christ is the One who is referenced here, and His identification is unmistakable. He was chosen and anointed by God to be our Prophet, Priest, and King. Because He has come, there is no prophets, priests, and kings in the same sense as there were before His coming for all is fulfilled in Him.

B. Jesus Christ alone is truly the man after God’s own heart, in whatever sense this phrase is meant. In the careful study of His life we see these qualities displayed in their proper perfection.

C. We enter into this life only through the cross of Christ and His resurrection. “They that are Christ’s have cruci-fied the flesh with its affections and lusts.” We agree with the verdict of the God at the crucifixion of Christ: we have nothing in us that is worthy to stand before God; We live this life in the joy of Christ’s resurrection, for if we live in the Spirit, we are also to walk in the Spirit.



May God bless you.

Amen and Amen

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