Word Study: A Heart Like God’s



I Samuel 13:14: “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord has sought him a man after his own heart.”

If there has been one theme for my life in the last ten years, it has been to learn and understand God’s heart. Oddly, I am still trying to understand why this is so important to me. When I look at this phrase: “A man after His heart” in the Hebrew I find it is more correctly translated: “A man who has a heart like Gods.” Such a man is sought after by God. The word sought In I Samuel 13:14 is baqesh which is found in a Piel form and would be a little more than seeking and more like longing. So we should render this as: The Lord has longed for a man who has a heart like his. I, and I believe like most Christians, really long to have a heart like God. This is not only because it would make us one with Him, but would also protect His heart and as believers who do love Him we also would long to protect His heart.

So I find myself continuing on this journey to God’s heart to learn as much as I can about the heart of God and pray that my heart will be like His. Now the question is: “What happens when we have a heart like His?” This opens a whole new issue.

I recall a few years ago I was working in hospice, and I had a client who was a former journalist with the Chicago Sun Times. He was a writer and as such had the heart of an artist. Before putting him to bed we sat for a while and listened to am artistic performance online. It was a piano recital by Glenn Gould who was playing the Goldberg Variations on Bach. As we listened we were commenting on Gould’s style and performance. We began discussing how someone could play for 45 minutes without reading from a music sheet and not make one mistake. I play the piano a little and I commented how, after years of playing your hands and fingers seem to know where to go automatically to make the sound that your mind is looking for. Thus, you are not thinking what notes to play more than what sound you want to make. It is almost as if the musical instrument and you become one. Indeed, while watching Mr. Gould play you could not help but feel that the piano and he were one.

This started me talking about God (as usual) and I said how the really helped me understand the Hebrew word tov which is often rendered as good but it really carries the idea of being in harmony with someone or something. Mr. Gould’s was the perfect example of tov as his ten fingers would play ten different notes yet they seem to be in harmony with each other.

I began reflecting on Jewish literature where I remember reading that this phrase: “A man after God’s own heart is a musical phrase.” What this rabbi was saying is that our hearts and God’s heart are like musical instruments that play a wonderful song when they are in tune and in harmony. But when we are out of tone the song is no longer pleasing to God. As I watched Glenn Gould play it became apparent that he was not aware of his audience, he was caught off in his own world, somehow mystically joined with that piano and being one with that instrument, his heart began expressing itself. The piano was the instrument he was using to express the depths of his heart.

That piano had to be in perfect tuned for such a performance. I recall as a child we had a man in our church who was a piano teacher at Moody Bible Institute. He also tuned the pianos at Orchestra Hall in Chicago where world famous piano artist would perform. Many artists would specifically ask for Virgil to tune the piano for their concert as they knew he was one who would tune it to the perfection they needed to perform. More correctly tune it to the perfection where they could become one with that instrument.

In a sense we are God’s piano, his instrument that He seeks, no He longs to use to express his heart. I also see that sinfulness puts me out of tune like a piano goes out of tune and before each concert it needs to be re-tuned by someone who has the skill and talent to properly tune it so the master can fully express his heart. Jesus is that master tuner who through His shed blood brings us into perfect harmony or in tune with God’s heart. Simple things like weather, moisture or the temperature can put a piano out of tune. We must continually confess our sins and be covered by the blood of Jesus to be place back in tune with the heart of God.

I may have spent the last ten years learning about the heart of God but God cannot express his heart through me if I am out of tune. I need His Son, Jesus Christ, to be called in to re-tune me. Through His shed blood he can cleanse me of all the sins that keep me out of tune and bring all the keys of my life into perfect harmony so the Master’s heart can become one with my heart and He can play the melody of His heart to others through me. I envy you pastors, every Sunday you have the opportunity to express the heart of God. I hope you spend considerable time allow Jesus to tune your heart to that perfect pitch of God.

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