As many times as I’ve heard the phrase regarding David (“I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart” Acts 13:22), I’ve never really considered what that really meant. I guess in my head I always just assumed that it meant that David’s heart was compatible with God’s heart. It is in Acts that we read Paul’s words concerning David’s status as though God had said it himself. In this way we can look at David’s track record and see how the heart of the man-king aligns with the God-King.
David was just and upright in all his actions and decisions leading up to his royal appointment. As a general, we are never given a reason to suspect that his men ever failed to produce exactly the outcomes that David expected. As he flees from the insatiable desire of Saul to kill him, David demonstrates an aptitude for the cat and mouse game. Even to the degree of proving to the “cat” that he has no rightful reason to be pursuing the mouse on more than one occasion. And as Saul declares his sorrow for having acted this way, vowing to not pursue him again, David is shown to behave in a way that transcends his contemporaries.
David seems to share God’s jurisprudence. When the Amalekite testified to David concerning Saul’s death, he miscalculated David’s response. I have thought about David’s judgement in this situation. If the Amalekite were truthful, David sentenced him for killing the King (“Why were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the Lord’s anointed?” 2 Sam 1:14). If here were not telling the truth, then he was guilty of using this event to gain favor in David’s eyes. His judgement on the assassins of Ish-Bosheth is the same.
David’s heart was based on God’s will. This is why his anointing was so very impressive in contrast to Saul’s. God declares (through Nathan) that even though Saul lost favor, David’s house will NEVER be without God’s love. This love includes discipline laced with grace, but always is shown in abundance.