The God Who is After Your Heart
One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 139, a psalm of praise that is attributed to David, the one of whom the prophet Samuel said to King Saul: “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:14).
In this psalm, the one whom God Himself saw as a man after His own heart, talks to God, expressing praise and wonder over God’s perfect knowledge of man – but not just man in general. David was overwhelmed by God’s knowledge of him, personally. I, too, cannot read this psalm without thinking of the absolute wonder that God knows me – completely.
- “O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up” (1-2a).
God knows where I’ve been, where I am, and what I’m doing.
- “You understand my thought afar off” (2b).
God knows what I’m thinking – and even more, He understands my thoughts.
- “You comprehend my path and my lying down” (3a).
God has full knowledge and understanding of what I’m going through – the difficulties and struggles, the special moments and joys.
- “And are acquainted with all my ways” (3b).
God knows my ways – my actions and reactions, my strengths and my weaknesses.
God knows me completely. There are those times when I’ve wished that God really didn’t know me quite so well – when He saw my angry thoughts or perhaps my self-serving intentions. At the same time, however, what relief to know that even when He sees my ugliness, He understands because of His perfect knowledge of me.
It is this understanding that resonates so much with my soul. It is one thing to know something, but quite another to truly understand what we know. When my children were young, I knew when they misbehaved, but I didn’t always understand why. My knowledge was limited. In much the same way, even as an adult I may know when someone acts harshly toward me or treats me indifferently, but I may not understand why. Again, my knowledge is limited. But God sees, knows, and understands. He understands those things about me that I may not even comprehend myself. It is this understanding that keeps me from growing discouraged from day-to-day.
David continues in Psalm 139 to talk about God’s protection and guidance (v.5), His Presence and help (vs. 7-10), and God’s concern for him (vs.11-12). Not only did God know David, but David knew God. He had experienced a God who not only knew and understood him, but a God who was also there for Him. David had experienced God’s protection and help, His mercy and forgiveness, and His faithfulness time and again. David had experienced enough with God to know that He was a God who could be trusted.
Just as God’s understanding heartens and encourages me, His Presence and willingness to walk along side of me whatever I’m going through gives me comfort and a peace I cannot describe. The God who made me knows me, understands me, and walks with me. There is no place where I can escape from His Presence. And as the following verses declare: “Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.”
“If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.”
What a privilege, throughout history, for David to be known as a man after God’s own heart. I hope that one day that could be said about me as well. But for today, I rejoice that God knows me, understands me, and is willing to go the distance with me whatever comes. I rejoice that I know this amazing God who is relentless in His pursuit to make all of our hearts totally, completely His!