What was the difference between King Saul and King David? Both men were kings of Israel. Both emerged from obscurity to take the throne. Both committed great sins, and both were strongly rebuked by prophets of God. Only one was known as a man after God’s own heart. What was their key distinction?

When confronted about his sins, King Saul refused to accept responsibility. Instead, he made excuses. His rebellion cost him his kingdom. On the other hand, King David acknowledged and confessed his sin after a prophet’s confrontation. As a result, God granted him forgiveness and preserved his throne. The fundamental difference between these two men lay in the condition of their hearts. One had a humble, sincere heart, and the other had a stubborn heart. By degrees, the paths these kings chose led them in completely different directions.

If we could somehow peer deep inside the hearts of these men before they began to rule, we would have a good idea of which paths they would eventually choose. Because we do not have that luxury, the Bible records the results for us.

The core shows what’s in store. It determines our response when we are reproved for wrongdoing just as it determines our response to success and commendation. It all starts in the heart. We must guard this precious possession with utmost care, for out of it are the issues of life.

If you desire to be a man or woman after God’s own heart, then see to it that your heart is soft and pliable — humble yourself by allowing Him to reprove, correct, and teach you in His perfect way and timing. You may fail greatly. You may suffer painful consequences from your poor choices. But if you humble yourself beneath the hand of God, He will exalt you in due time. This is what He has in store if your core is right with Him.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.