In 1 Samuel 16, I’m going to paint a picture of how I see this story: The great prophet Samuel is called by God to find a king for Israel. God instructs him to travel to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem, where his eight sons live. Jesse is a powerful man whose eldest sons went to war and his youngest, David, was tending sheep for 11 years.
Samuel invites Jesse and his sons to dine with him, and Jesse presents his eldest son Eliab as a possible king. He’s tall, handsome, charismatic, buff, with long hair and an awesome beard. Samuel thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But God said no, not him. Six more manly sons are presented, but receive the same response. The Lord does not look at the outward appearance; he looks at the heart. Ultimately God chose David, the youngest, to be king of Israel. He is known to us as a man after God’s own heart and one who did what was right in God’s eyes. The heart is not in the feelings, it’s in the actions. In spite of how you feel, it’s all about what you do.
Friend, the heart is metaphorically the location of the will. It’s what you choose and decide to do. It’s not about your emotions, it’s your will. This is an important characteristic of the word “heart” that’s used so often in the Bible. When God talks about your heart, He wants to know what you will actually do regardless of temptation, depression, boredom, or fear. Will you still do what is right? Are you still going to push through?