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The Heart of a King

“Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7


Israel’s first king started well but ended up completely self-absorbed. He apparently thought God was building his kingdom rather than calling him to build God’s Kingdom. So after a string of revealing episodes in which Saul acted rashly, selfishly, and stubbornly, God spoke through Samuel to inform Saul that his reign would be stripped from him and given to someone with a different heart.

That speaks volumes about the nature of God’s Kingdom. As the nation of Israel morphed from a collection of tribes to a unified monarchy, God gave them an illustration of what a king shouldn’t be before giving them a picture of what a king should be. Saul was head and shoulders above the rest, and he was even influenced by the Spirit to prophesy and lead on more than one occasion. But the overall direction of his life served his own purposes, and he became paranoid, obsessive, and manic in trying to hang on to them. In Saul’s place, God gave His people a shepherd with a heart like His own—fiercely protective, passionate for worship, zealous for justice, drawn to the troubled and hurting, creative and artistic, and inspired with divine insights. And when he failed, he was able to repent without his ego getting in the way. He wore the heart of a king of his sleeve.


We see an even better picture of kingship in Jesus, the exact image of the Father. But before the ultimate King was revealed, God wanted His people to know what kind of Kingdom He would establish and, more importantly, what kind of king should sit on its throne. Why? Because the heart of the king will be increasingly reflected in the hearts of the people who serve him. God is looking for hearts that overflow with passion, purpose, creativity, inspiration, compassion, justice, and zeal. Just like His.

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