David and Saul: A Contrast in Two Hearts, part 1

1 Samuel 13:14  But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 

God rejected King Saul as being leader of His people. He sought for a new leader, one who was after His own heart. God was looking for a man who saw things the way God saw them. One who would value and cherish the things of God and the people of God. That man was David.

What was the difference in the leadership style of David and Saul? It came down to heart. What did God see when He saw King Saul? When you read 1 Samuel 13-15, you will see what God was seeing.

1 Samuel 13 – King Saul did not wait for God. He was a man who was led by fear, and went about doing things his own way. You will see fear dominate his leadership decisions for the rest of his reign in Israel. His best counsel was within his own head (vs. 11-12). What you see in the life of Saul is that instead of seeking God’s counsel and the wisdom of those who could have helped him (Samuel, David, Jonathan), he chose to isolate himself from those who could have helped him. He also surrounded himself with people who agreed with him and drove away anyone who thought otherwise.

1 Samuel 14 – King Saul sought his own glory in battle (vs. 24), and his glory-seeking almost cost his own son’s life. As his son, Jonathan, put it, “My father has troubled the land” (vs. 29).

1 Samuel 15 – King Saul did not obey God. Frankly he was rebellious. God commanded him to completely destroy the Amalekites, including their livestock, and he chose to spare the best and bring them home. He was so proud of himself that he went and set a monument up for himself (vs. 12). When the prophet Samuel called him on it, Saul did not take accountability for his actions. He blamed the people for his lack of leadership; he blamed fear of the people for his disobedience to God (vs. 15). Saul tried to justify bringing home the animals because they would be sacrificed in worship to God (vs. 15). When he finally fessed up to sinning, his main concern was that he keep his status among the elders of Israel (vs. 30).

You can see what God saw, and why God took away the throne from Saul. But what was it about David that was different from Saul? Why would his leadership be different? You will see David sin, and you will see him make some bad choices as a leader, but what was the real difference between Saul and David? Why would God approve of David on the throne versus King Saul? We’ll look at that tomorrow, Lord willing.

Aaron Kemple

Author: Aaron Kemple

Romans 8:1 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.