God chose Saul as the first king of Israel because he matched the description the people had requested. But when God chose David to be the next king of Israel, He reminded Samuel that the Lord looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
David was far from being perfect. In fact, some would argue that David’s later moral lapses were much more serious than Saul’s sins. Yet, the Lord rejected Saul but forgave even David’s worst mistakes, allowing him to continue being king. What made the difference?
God is in the heart business. He not only reads the heart, the center of thought, inner attitudes, and motives, but He can touch and change hearts that are open to Him. David’s heart yielded to the conviction of sin. He repented, and he patiently accepted the consequences of his sins. In contrast, whatever outward confessions he made, it was clear that Saul’s heart was not surrendered to the Lord. “Yet the Lord, having placed on Saul the responsibility of the kingdom, did not leave him to himself. He caused the Holy Spirit to rest upon Saul to reveal to him his own weakness and his need of divine grace; and had Saul relied upon God, God would have been with him. So long as his will was controlled by the will of God, so long as he yielded to the discipline of His Spirit, God could crown his efforts with success. But when Saul chose to act independently of God, the Lord could no longer be his guide, and was forced to set him aside.”—Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 636.
Ask yourself, how does what goes on inside your heart differ from what people see of you on the outside? What does your answer say to you about yourself?
Taken from the Sabbath School lesson Quarterly, July 31, 2011