Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, May twenty-ninth. As Christians, our motivating desire should be to develop a heart for God.
But how do you do that? Today's lesson from the Old Testament provides some valuable insight. What do you want to be remembered for when you pass on? What would you want your family to put on your tombstone? The truth is, all of us are going to leave some kind of a witness or testimony of some sort. And the question is, what kind of person do we want to be?
And what do we want to be remembered for? And if you'll think about in the Scriptures, all this array of awesome, godly men and women, they weren't perfect, they were all imperfect in all sin, and all failed in many ways. But you think about all of those four, all the way back from Adam and then of course Joshua and Moses and David and Daniel and Peter and John and all the rest.
All of God's servants out there. But when I think about those and think about what kind of person do I want to be, I think about the one person in the Scripture about what Paul said about Him that really should be the kind of person all of us should be and should want to be. We're not all going to be alike. We can't be alike in looks. We can't be alike in our possessions and so forth.
But we can have a similarity within our spirit. And of course, God has ordained that you and I become like His Son as far as character is concerned. What kind of person do you want to be? Well, you say, well, first of all, I need to look and see what kind of person I am. Well, only you know who you are and a lot of people don't even know who they are.
Because they've never stopped to think, who am I? How do I think? What excites me?
What depresses me? Who am I really? And so, in the process of the Apostle Paul on his first missionary journey, he came to this particular place and he was in the synagogue and so they asked him and the apostles if they had anything to say. So, I want you to turn to the thirteenth chapter of Acts. And the Scripture says that Paul stood up and motioning with his hands said, and I want you to look at the sixteenth verse of this thirteenth chapter for a moment.
And he's making a statement here that's the sum total of everything I want to say in this message. He says, beginning in verse sixteen, Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen, he said, The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt. And with an uplifted arm he led them out from it. For a period of about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, he distributed their land as an inheritance.
And all of which took about four hundred and fifty years. After these things he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king. And so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin for forty years. And look at the twenty-second verse.
After he had removed him, that is, King Saul, he raised up David to be their king, concerning whom he also testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will. And I believe in that phrase. It's a phrase that sums up the kind of person that God wants all of us to be.
So the question I want to answer is this. What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of person can we be? Imperfect, failing at times, sinning at times.
What kind of person do we want to be? Can we be the kind of person who has a heart after God? What are the characteristics of a person, a man or a woman who has a heart after God? So what is that first quality that was so evident in David's life?
And that's this. He placed the priority of his life on his personal relationship with God. Now you and I know in our life that's God through His Son, Jesus Christ, so I won't need an explanation for that. But the priority of his life was his relationship to God. And there are two things about David that make me know that was his priority. And the first of all was his relationship and his attitude toward the Word of God. Now, naturally, they did not have the Bible as you and I have it. But they did have the Scriptures, Old Testament Scriptures, and he certainly was taught early in his life, or he could never have written the Psalms and the things he said. But he says in this hundred and nineteenth Psalm and the fifteenth verse, he says, I will meditate on your precepts and regard your ways.
I shall delight in your statutes, and I shall not forget your Word. That is, as far as he was concerned, the most important thing in his life was understanding the Word of God. And think about this, as a shepherd boy out there at nighttime and as well as daytime under the stars or the clouds or whatever it might be, he had time to think.
He had time to recall what he had read. And he says in the hundred and fifth verse of this hundred and nineteenth Psalm, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. And when I think about all that he said, if you will think about this, this hundred and nineteenth Psalm primarily is all about the Word of God.
It's called the statutes, the commandments, the precepts and all the rest. He says it's all about the Word of God. So, as you think about in your life, if you want to be the kind of person that has a heart after God, a person whose heart is for the heart of God, who wants to walk in such a way that you fulfill the will of God for your life and that you're pleasing to God, it begins with a desire and a hunger and thirst for the Word of God.
This is the fuel. This is the fuel that feeds the hunger, listen, in our heart to be the kind of person God wants us to be. Because we see the kind of persons that God was pleased with in the Scriptures and the people He rewarded, He blessed. And He did awesome and mighty things through them. And He met their needs. He healed their bodies. He delivered them from sin. He delivered them from captivity.
All the things He did. A person with a heart after God is a person whose priority is their personal relationship with Him. And when I look around and see how people think and how they live their lives and oftentimes claim to be Christians, I know in my heart that they've missed it. Because there's nothing about a personal, intimate relationship with God.
And that can happen to anybody's life. We can, in this day and time with so much turmoil and things going on and things to be concerned about, it's easy to drift. We can't afford to let ourselves drift from the teachings of the Word of God. And that's why when you come week after week after week, my desire is that there be one more truth that you lay in your heart. One more truth on your mind to govern and to guide you and to guard you from sin and to keep you living in the will of God.
So, it's very evident in the Scriptures where David was coming from. He had a heart after God. And that was based on his desire, his hunger and his thirst for the Word of God. So, if I should say to you, what do you hunger for most in your life? What is it that you do that pleases you the most, brings you the most satisfaction?
Some people would name sport. Some people would name some relationship and so forth. But the truth is, the truth is if I have a heart after God, the thing that will please me most is my relationship to Him.
And in that relationship, knowing what fuels that, what deepens that, what strengthens that, what makes that what it ought to be. It is the hunger for the Word of God. Spending time in the Word of God and somebody says, Well, but I don't understand it.
The reason you don't understand it is because you don't read it. And the truth is, this is the awesome work of the Spirit of God, to take His simple Word and apply it to our heart and bring about transformation little by little, step by step. And I can think about as I was thinking this week, early in my life, how I began to memorize verses that were simple verses, but I just somehow I wanted to get God's Word in my heart. I just, I wanted to be able to recall it because I knew that I would need some verses, particular verses of Scripture.
So, there's got to be a hunger in heart. If a person has a priority for having a personal relationship with God, the second thing that fuels that is their prayer life, is their time they spend alone with God. And it's very interesting here in the Scriptures because David certainly, and I'll turn if you will to Psalm five for a moment.
Listen to what he says. This third verse, I love this. Third verse of the fifth Psalm. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice. In the morning, I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
Listen to that. He's saying, I'm going to begin my day with You. And he says, I'm going to order my prayer to You.
I'm going to set that as a specific time. You're going to hear from me, God, and I'm going to eagerly watch what You do as a result of this time I spend with You. Now think about this. Oftentimes a person may feel very discouraged where they're on their Christian life and they'll think, well, I can't ever learn all that. I can't ever do this. Listen to me. It's one baby step at a time. It's this verse and this verse. It's this prayer this morning. It's this prayer the next morning. It's this prayer the next morning, the next morning, the next week, the next month, the next year, the next decade, the next two decades, the next three decades.
It's God growing us up. And David's heart after God was fueled by those two things. His love for the Word and His love, listen, to spend time with God. And there are many other verses. For example, look in the sixty-third Psalm for a moment and, of course, he's just writing down what he felt. Sixty-third Psalm. And look at this sixth verse he says.
He said, now notice what we just read. He said, in the morning, I'm going to be talking to you and then I'm going to be watching what you do. And now he says in the sixty-third Psalm, he says in the sixth verse, when I remember you on my bed.
Now he's in either early morning hours or late at night. When I remember you on my bed, I will meditate on you in the night watches, for you've been my help. And in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me. Listen to this, when I remember you on my bed, I meditate on you in the night watches.
That is, not only did he feed his soul from the Word, but he also spent time meditating upon Him. Thinking about who God is, how He works, how He operates. And you ask yourself the question, when you go to sleep at night, what do you go to sleep thinking about?
Maybe you roll and toss and tumble when that happens. What do you think about? Do you think about whatever problem you're going to face, something somebody said, how you got hurt, some need or some loss or whatever it might be? He says, in the night watches, when everybody else is asleep, I meditate on you. I'm thinking about you. I'm contemplating about you. I'm talking to you.
I'm listening to you. And in the sixty, second Psalm, for example, he certainly includes that when he says in verse one, my soul waits in silence for God only. From Him is my salvation. Meditation is not only talking, but meditation is listening. And what he's saying in this passage is simply this, that how he spends his time and his relationship building up this awesome relationship he has with the Lord, two things primarily.
One of them is reading, thinking, contemplating the Word of God. And secondly, spending time with Him. In other words, don't get up in the morning and cut on the news immediately. Talk to the Lord. In other words, first of all, most of what you hear, you can't tell it's truth or not, number one.
And secondly, it's enough to get you upset all day long. And so, that's not the way we should begin our day. We should begin our day if He says, ordering our prayer to Him, talking to Him, listening to Him, and anticipating what God's going to do in our life in that day. And then, not only that, but meditating upon Him. A man or a woman who has a heart for God is a man or a woman whose priority is their personal relationship to God. A second thing is this, and that is to place their trust in God when facing those difficult times and challenging times of life.
A person who has a heart after God, that's exactly what we're going to do. We're going to place our trust in Him because we are going to face those things. And I think when you think about what we just said, meditating upon the Word of God, talking to Him, these two things fuel our faith.
Either one of those fuel our relationship. And those two things also fuel our faith in Him. It's talking to Him builds our faith, listening to Him, contemplating His Word, seeing how God worked in the hearts of other people. And when I think about David, for example, I think about all of his courage and his military skills and abilities and talents and as you read, especially First and Second Samuel and the Psalms and how God worked in his life, what's going on?
God is building him up and God is teaching him to trust Him very, very early in life. He had, in fact, he grew up in a home where his brothers didn't think much of him. You remember when he showed up at, before the battle with Goliath? When his brother saw him, he said, What are you doing here?
Why aren't you over there with your few sheep? Which was a very derogatory way of saying that he had no business being there. And second, I didn't want him there. And more than likely, being the youngest of Jesse's sons, he was the one they sort of kicked around. They didn't kick him around too much because, especially after his little battle with Goliath, there was no more kicking David.
But anyway, that's the way they treated him. And when I think about this, his awesome faith is explained and is demonstrated, I think, when you turn to the hundred and, turn to the hundred and third Psalm for a moment, because David is the one who made this statement. Hundred and third Psalm and the nineteenth verse, here's what he says, The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all. How did he come to that conclusion? He came to that conclusion by doing what?
Meditating upon the Word of God. He came to that conclusion by talking to Him, listening to Him. He came to that conclusion by watching what God did in His life. He said to King Saul before Goliath, he said, I killed a bear and I killed a lion.
And I can also take care of this uncircumcised Philistine. And so, what happened? His faith was being built by the very things that was building His personal relationship with the Father. He certainly was a man of faith.
And there are lots of verses that we could turn to that indicate that. And so, when you think about that, you think about how God, listen, use, listen to this now, use those times when He was talking to the Father, meditating upon Him. When He was dwelling upon the Word of God, what was He doing? Building His faith.
Giving Him those little experiences. So, there came a time when, if you'll turn to First Samuel for a moment, there came a time when His faith was challenged. And in this seventeenth chapter, which is one of the stories about Him that probably most people remember above all the rest of them. And that is when He was facing Goliath. Now, here He is just a shepherd boy.
And His brothers are probably larger than that He is, maybe, and have a lot more clout in the family. But He shows up, and I want to show you something very significant about Him in a moment, but He shows up and the Scripture says this Philistine had taunted the children of God and the armies of God. And when David shows up with his sling and his rocks, and here's this nine-foot-tall giant, clothed in all this armor with his shield and his spear and so forth. This was the message that young David sent him. He could only send him this message if he believed in what is written in that hundred-and-third Psalm, the nineteenth verse. God is the sovereign of this universe, and He rules over all. He believed what He'd been taught by His Father in the Holy Scriptures.
He believed God as He meditated upon His Word and observed how He had worked in His life. And so, here He faces the first big battle in this life, the most important one to this point, and the one that demonstrated who He was. When He approached that Goliath, Goliath said to him, Come to me and I will give you a flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field. Listen carefully.
Watch out for the man who boasts. Then David said to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin. Look at that, a sword, a spear, and a javelin, three weapons.
And what does he have? Slaying five rocks. Listen, he says, You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you, and I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky, the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear, for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands. Then the Scripture says, and then it happened.
And I won't go into that, you know what happened. What happened was that young David took strides toward Goliath. Next thing you know, he's lying there, his head's cut off, nation of Philistines is fleeing, and God did exactly what He promised to do. How did he come to a place in his life where he had that kind of faith?
This is how he did it. The priority of his life was his personal relationship with God. And what made that up and what fueled all that was being in the Word, talking to the Father, listening to Him, observing the results, being willing to be tested and to be tried.
And whether it was a bear or a lion, didn't make any difference. The issue was that God was working in his life and he was available for God to do whatever He wanted to do in his life. And I think all of us are going to have battles in life over whatever it might be.
It might be relationships or finances or whatever. The issue is this, are you prepared to face those challenging issues of life? And remember this, the man and the woman who has the heart after God will be prepared to face anything the world throws at you. Thank you for listening to today's podcast, A Heart for God. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
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