Besides all the other reasons that King David was a man after God’s own heart, there is yet another reason – a very important one. You remember David the shepherd boy was anointed to be the next king of Israel in 1 Sam 16. Then David killed Goliath and was successful in other fighting against the Philistines. So King Saul got jealous of David as the people of Israel began to praise his victories more than Saul’s. In 1 Sam 18: 10-11 King Saul threw his spear at David and tried to kill him. In chapter 19 of 1 Sam King Saul told his son Jonathan and all his servants that they should kill David. Again in chapter 19 David was playing the harp before King Saul and he threw his spear at David. Then the king sent soldiers to David’s house to kill him, but David escaped through a window. In chapter 21 David fled to the priest at the tabernacle, and King Saul later sent men to kill the priests of Jehovah because they had unknowingly aided David.
Eventually David fled to the wilderness to escape the king’s wrath. Then his family and other men in trouble joined him, so there was a band of four hundred with him. David moved from one cave to another and from one wilderness to another to escape the searches of King Saul. In Sam 24, King Saul took three thousand men and came chasing David in the Wilderness of En Gedi. There Saul came into the very cave where David’s band was. His men urged David to kill King Saul – after all, it was certainly self-defense after all the times Saul had tried to unjustly murder him. The men said God was delivering Saul into David’s hand. But David refused to hurt the king anointed by Yahweh.
Part of being a man after God’s own heart must have been David’s trust in the Almighty to direct the events of his life and take care of him as necessary. The shepherd boy had every reason to plead self-defense and kill King Saul. The king was an evil man who tried repeatedly to kill David out of jealousy. Yet David refrained from hurting king Saul – Yahweh’s anointed – even in self defense. David would trust God to remove King Saul when He was ready – David wouldn’t take matters into his own hand. There are many “Christians” in life who think the Most High has called them to be a part of the Trinity and to manage, dominate and control everything in their lives and the lives of everyone around them. They do not trust God or wait on Him to direct their lives. They force their will on family and peers “for their own good.” As if they were wise enough to direct others!
Two chapters later, in 1 Sam 26, David again spared the cruel kings life. When once more advised to kill the king, David replied “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD’s anointed, and be guiltless?” David said furthermore, “As the LORD lives, the LORD shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish…” verse 9-10 NKJV. David would not take any steps to try and manipulate events to make himself king. Jehovah had anointed David and God would overrule events to make it happen when He wanted it. David was patient to wait until the Almighty was ready. This trust in God and unwillingness to force events – even as one promised to be the next king, must be part of what made David a man after Yahweh’s heart. A lot of “believers” with far less authority from God than David are very willing to think they are called to organize and be in charge of their lives, all the lives around themselves and most of the things in their part of the world. They know nothing of depending on God as the shepherd boy did – thus they are not people after God’s own heart.