“But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.’”
1 SAMUEL 13:14
Read 1 Samuel 8:1-8; 1 Samuel 13:13-14; 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Can a nation in turmoil and spiritual decline ever be changed?
In my recent studies on revivals, one of the most encouraging commonalities is God’s desire to use men and women who clearly are after His heart rather than the spotlight of society.
Whether it was the four young men who commenced a prayer meeting in Kells, County Antrim which clearly was a catalyst for the 1859 Ulster Revival or Peggy and Christine Smith, both in their 80s, one blind, the other crippled, who in spite of being unable to attend their church, committed themselves to intercession for the Hebrides and saw a mighty revival from 1949-52, it’s clear that God’s choice wouldn’t be our choice!
2020 wasn’t just the year of a global pandemic but also the year that God would dethrone and expose some high-profile Christian leaders who allowed themselves to be blinded by the perpetual spotlight and hidden sin rather than being pursuers of His heart. Samuel the prophet had appointed his sons as judges to rule the people but, much like his mentor Eli, he had neglected to shape his sons’ hearts and their spiritual sickness led the people even further away from walking in the promises of God. The people no longer wanted their governance and, even though God’s plan had always been for Him to be their king, now they wanted a human king, just like the nations around them. Cf. 1 Samuel 8:7-8
And God gave them what they wanted! In Saul they had a 40-year-old man who was head and shoulders above everyone else but what was within soon surfaced - anger, depression, insecurity and even murderous thoughts. Unable to deal with his failures God’s way, Saul loses his anointing and increasingly the people come to regret their choice.
God, however, steps in to save His people once more. Only, this time it will be a man of His choice. David was nothing like Saul as it’s clear that in him God found three traits that He seeks in all men and women whom He will use for any great work throughout history.
- A Deep Spirituality - God is seeking those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him. Cf. 2 Chronicles 16:9
- Humility - when Samuel came to Bethlehem and asked Jesse about his sons, David was overlooked as he was faithfully tending the family flocks. Cf. 1 Samuel 16:11
- Integrity - whereas society often promotes those who can “deliver the goods publicly” regardless of their private lives, David’s heart and actions were aligned. Cf. Psalm 78:71-72
God is still seeking men and women to transform nations. Be one of the few who pursue God’s heart.
Author: Jonathan Stanfield - Lead Elder, Living Hope Church, Isle of Man