After He had removed him, 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.” -Acts‬ ‭13:22‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The little shepherd boy whom God chose to become Israel’s successor to Saul, Israel’s first-ever king, was also the greatest human king Israel would ever have. David was also the father of Solomon, who succeeded him, and was the wisest man who ever lived. But what made David so great?

With God’s help, little David slew the Philistine Goliath, a giant descended from fallen angels (the Nephilim, or sons of God). He also went on to win many, many military victories for God, recovered the Ark of the Covenant, and even drew up the plans for the first Temple. And Jesus Himself was descended through David’s line.

But David also made many grievous errors of judgment, including adultery (with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah) and murder (he had Uriah sent to be killed in battle). That chain of events started with David’s poor choice to not lead his soldiers into battle, but to kick back at home. That idle time led to temptation, his acting on that temptation, and then the terrible series of sinful events to cover it up. God also told David that he would not build the Temple, since he had so much blood on his hands.

So how, then, could David be great, and one whom God said had a heart after His?

David was great because, despite his sins, he would turn from them (even if it wasn’t immediately) and get back on track with following what God would have him do as His instrument. To have a heart after God didn’t make David sinless or perfect. Only Jesus lived that life here on earth.

So if you’re like me and sometimes revisit past sins in your head, train your eyes and heart back on the Lord. If you’ve already contritely confessed and repented of your sins, you’ve given them to God and thrown them (like heavy rocks) into the ocean. Stop fishing them back out, and let God’s forgiveness free you of that guilt burden so you can live again for Him, with a heart after His own.