The Hidden Man of the Heart
by Dr. Joe Grimaldi, Jr.
Joe Grimaldi is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Kenmore in Akron, Ohio.
“And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee. And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (I Samuel 16:1-7)
In I Peter 3:3-4, speaking to saved wives about winning their unsaved husbands, the Lord makes an interesting statement when He says, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
What God is saying in I Peter to these wives trying to win their unsaved husbands is, “I want you to make sure the hidden man of the heart is right, because that’s what I see, and that’s what I need your unsaved husband to see, so that he might come to Christ.”
In I Samuel 16, when Samuel was coming to anoint the next king, God says to him, “Don’t look at the outward appearance. I want you to look at what I see, because I look at the heart.” I want to speak to you today on the Hidden Man of the Heart.
A few years ago there were three servants of God who, within a short period of time, were out of the ministry because of immorality. A friend said to me about one of them, “He was the best missionary we had. How could this happen to him?”
I dealt with wives and children and situations and everybody kept asking the same question. How could this be possible? “This man was a great preacher, a great soulwinner. How could this be possible, Pastor?” I sought for some answers to give them. In those answers, what I felt like God was telling me was, “The problem is that you were all looking at the outward appearance only. You could not see what was going on in the heart.”
Bob Jones, Sr. said, “Behind every wicked act is a long process of wicked thinking.” We come here today and we all see each other. Many of us are friends and we’ve known each other for years, but the bottom line is that we still don’t see what God sees. It is a dangerous thing for us to start to assume that we are what we portray to other people. When we start to see ourselves as we want to be seen by others and not look at ourselves for who we really are, then we are in serious danger.
In II Corinthians 4:16-18 the Bible says, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Today we need to take a good look at our own hearts. We can all criticize and make all our wonderful observations as to why things happened to other people, but the most important thing is that we look at ourselves and be honest about what God sees in us and knows about us that others may not. We need to look at the hidden man of the heart. What is your heart like today? When God looks at me, what does He see? That’s really the question. Let me make a couple of observations about your heart.
#1. Other people cannot see your heart. It’s interesting that in the very next chapter, Eliab, the one who Samuel looked at and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed,” he makes a statement about David in I Samuel 17:18, assuming that he was able to know David’s heart. He said, “...I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart;...” Here is the man who God looked at and said that his heart wasn’t right, but now he is an authority on the hearts of others. Isn’t that interesting? It’s easy for all of us to think we are such a great authority on the hearts of other people, but could I tell you that most of the time other people don’t know your heart, and you don’t know anyone else’s heart, either. Someone wisely said, “When looking for faults, it’s best to use a mirror, not a telescope.”
#2. Sometimes you don’t know your own heart. Jeremiah said in chapter 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” That’s why David said in Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:...” Other people can’t see your heart. Sometimes you don’t know your own heart, either. You may deceive yourself about the true condition of your heart, but God is not deceived.
#3. God always sees your heart. As a matter of fact, that’s the only thing He sees. The Psalmist said in Psalm 7:9, “Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.” Proverbs 15:11 says, “Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?” David wrote in Psalm 51:6, “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” In I Samuel 16, when God was looking at the heart of David, the question is, what did God see? When He looked at David’s heart, what caused God to choose him to be the one that was going to be the anointed king?
What did God say about David? God’s own testimony about David is in Acts 13:22 where the Bible says, “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” Can I tell you what God saw when He looked at David? Everybody says, “He saw the heart of a king.” No, that’s not correct. God saw a heart like His own heart. That’s what God was looking for. God was looking for a heart like His own. When God looked in David’s heart and saw a heart like His heart, He knew this was the kind of a king we want. We want a king that has a heart like My heart.
Can I tell you what God is looking for in my heart today and in yours? He is looking for a likeness of Himself. The song writer said, “Stamp Thine own image deep on our hearts.” He’s not looking for somebody that’s flashy, or for the guy that can preach the best sermon, or build the biggest crowd. He’s not looking for the person with the most talent. Do you know what He is looking for? Somebody who has a heart like God’s own heart. That’s what He saw in the life of David, a heart like His own. David is mentioned in the Bible 1,127 times. Compare that to Paul, who is mentioned 163 times. Fifty-four chapters of the Bible were devoted to David’s life and story, not counting the Psalms. There is only a handful of chapters for instance that refer to Abraham or to Joseph. It appears that David is pretty special to God. As a matter of fact, he might be God’s favorite. The reason why is because he was a man after God’s own heart. What was it about David’s heart that was like God’s heart? Let me very quickly try to tell you a few things that I see in the Scriptures about David’s heart.
#1. David had a heart that desired the presence of God. Some of these preachers have talked about it this week, a heart that desires and longs for the presence of God. In I Samuel 4, to the Israelites and to David in this period of time, the ark of the covenant represented the presence of God. The pillar of cloud by day, the pillar of fire by night, this represented to them the very presence of God.
In I Samuel 4:1-4 says, “And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek. And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men. And when the people were come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, Wherefore hath the Lord smitten us to day before the Philistines? Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh unto us, that, when it cometh among us, it may save us out of the hand of our enemies. So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.”
Now look down at verses 10-11, “And the Philistines fought, and Israel was smitten, and they fled every man into his tent: and there was a very great slaughter; for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.” Understand what took place here. The Israelites are overcome by the Philistines. They lose 4,000 men. They say, “Hey, let’s go get the ark,” like a lucky charm. “Let’s get the presence of God involved so that we can be successful, and be victorious over our enemy.” They weren’t that concerned about the presence of God for themselves. They just wanted to see what it could do for them.
Are you really only interested in the presence of God so you can preach a good sermon and everybody pats you on the back? Are you really only interested in the presence of God so that you can fill a building? Are you really only interested in that, or are you truly interested in getting close to God?
Brother Don Green stood here last night and poured out his heart to us. Could you tell he had been close to God? Could you tell there was no ulterior motive? That the only desire was because He loved God and wanted to be close to Him? What an example for our generation of someone who spends time in the presence of God.
These Israelites send for the ark and bring it back, their lucky charm. They bring it back with two unspiritual men, Hophni and Phinehas, treating the presence of God with disrespect. They bring it into battle like their lucky charm and go forward. We lost 4,000 men yesterday, but guess what’s going to happen today? They lose 30,000. Really helped you out, didn’t it?
The ark of God is taken by the Philistines. Hophni and Phinehas are slain. Eli, at the news of that, falls backward, breaks his neck and dies. Phinehas’s wife, who is great with child, hearing the news of all these events goes into premature labor, she dies and brings a child into the world named Ichabod – the glory of the Lord has departed. You disrespected my presence. You treated it with disregard by allowing the heathen to bring the ark. You brought it into battle to achieve your own agenda. I killed more men because of it. Guess what now? I’m taking it away from you. Now I’m removing My hand completely from you. I want you to understand that Israel is going through a difficult time because of the way they handled the ark, symbolic of God’s presence. In my opinion, the ark was lost because of one word – pride.
Gentlemen, if we continue to allow ourself to be inflated in our own egos and our own minds, we too will lose the presence of God. When the presence of God is lost in the heart, when the desire for the presence of God is not there, we are all capable of anything. We too will walk the same walk of shame that others have walked before us.
There was a price to be paid for the improper treatment of the ark. In I Samuel 5:2, notice what it says. “When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.” You know the story. Verse three tells you that the next morning the idol Dagon was fallen down on his face. So they stand him back up. The next morning he falls down and his head hits the threshold, and his head breaks off and his arms break off. I love that little phrase there, only the stump of Dagon remained. They get rid of the ark. Verse six says, “But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.” They move it to Ashdod and everything bad keeps happening. People are dying, getting all kinds of sores and diseases.
Verse 8 tells us they take it to Gath. When they bring it to Gath, verse 9 says, “...and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.” Now it’s trouble in Gath, so they take it to Ekron. When the people of Ekron heard that it was coming they said, “Send it away. We don’t want it here. It’s caused trouble everywhere it has been.” Verse 11 says, “So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place,...” They wanted to send it back. Verse 12 says, “And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.”
Chapter 6:1 says, “And the ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.” For seven months throughout all the land of the Philistines, everywhere they’ve taken it brings nothing but tragedy and heartache because they are mishandling God’s presence and treating it with disrespect. They are not worthy of it, and it brings nothing but heartache. In chapter 6:7 tells you that when they finally move it to Bethshemesh, they move it on a new cart. When they move it, 50,070 men look inside the ark and they die because they have mishandled it in verse 19. Now it is moved to the house of Abinadab where it is cared for by his son, Eleazar.
I want you to understand that there is always a price for mishandling God’s presence, always, always, always a price. God wants to walk with you and be with you. He wants His presence with you, but He wants you to desire His presence. He wants you to want Him as much as He wants you, he wants you to be cleansed and purified so you can fellowship with Him, but when we mishandle and abuse God’s presence, when we have a bad ulterior motive, it will bring judgment every single time.
It’s kind of interesting that once the ark is gone from Israel in chapter 8:5, they want a king. They want a king because they are not going to follow God anymore. When you quit following God, you are going to start following a man. Be careful. We all had better be careful that we don’t guide our churches to follow men. If the presence of God is not there, then who else can they follow? They’ve got to follow me. I don’t have anybody to point them to if God is not there, so the only person I can point them to is myself. I want you to understand that chapter 8:5, they call for a king, and in chapter 10:1, Saul is anointed king. Here is the statement I want you to take note of.
In I Chronicles 13:3, David makes a statement about this period of time. “And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we enquired not at it in the days of Saul.” Do you hear what David is saying? Twenty years the ark has been gone. The ark has been in the house of Abinadab. During the whole reign of Saul, Israel seems to care nothing about the ark. They don’t cherish it. They don’t consult it. They don’t bring it to its proper place. Now it’s back, but it’s hiding out somewhere in a corner.
When the presence of God comes to a place, it should not be in the cupboard or hidden in the background. It should be in the forefront, in first place. We want the presence of God in our churches, but it seems that we want to build a room where it belongs. This is where the presence of God goes. We stick it off to the side. David makes the statement that we enquired not at it in the days of Saul. So David has a sincere desire. This is what God saw in his heart, a desire for the presence of God.
When he noticed the presence of God was missing, even David made a mistake when he tried to get it back. Second Samuel 6:3 says, “And they set the ark of God upon a new cart,...” When Uzzah steadied it with his hand and it rocked and he died, David was upset because of the breech he said that God made with Uzzah. They take the ark and set it off to the side. By the way, in verse 9 of II Samuel 6, David makes the statement, “...How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?” Here is what I want you to understand. They had been absent from the presence of God so long that when David had desire to get it back, he didn’t know how. When he didn’t know how to do it, do you know what he did? He followed the pattern of the heathen.
Do I need to explain that? I’ve been in independent, Baptist churches since I was five years old. When we realize there is something missing, we try to get the presence of God back. In our attempt to do that, we follow the pattern of the heathen, putting it on a new cart. “Let’s get the music to change because the spirit is dead in here. Let’s get rid of the old hymn book and try something different. Let’s get rid of the King James Bible. Let’s get rid of our standards of holy living. Let’s get rid of our approach. Let’s become the emerging church. Let’s see what the charismatics are doing. Let’s read this person’s book. Let’s figure out the finances the way the heathens do.” Can I tell you something that has nothing to do with this message? This is not a business. This is a church, a living organism. It’s the church of God. He’ll finance it. He’ll take care of it. It’s not your church; it’s not my church. We’re not going to bring in some heathen’s programs to figure out how to get the presence of God back. That’s not what you need. Chunk all that stuff and have an all night prayer meeting.
David has a desire for the presence of God, but he’s been absent from it for so long, he doesn’t even know how to get it back. The only example he can think of to follow is the example of the Philistines. Once again it brings nothing but heartache and trouble.
Now fast forward to II Chronicles 5:2, we find that David has brought the ark back and put it in the tabernacle. He is not allowed by God to build the temple because he is a man of blood. He gathers all the materials so that Solomon can build it. In II Chronicles 5:2 the Bible says, “Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.” Here is what I’m saying. David brings the ark back finally, the correct way. He puts it in its proper place in the tabernacle. Now Solomon builds the temple in about 957 B.C. That first temple stood for 410 years. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. So for 410 years the ark, representing the presence of God, is in its proper place in the Holy of holies. The Babylonians have now destroyed it in 586 B.C. For 70 years there is no temple. They have carried off all the furniture, the brazen altar, the brazen laver of looking glasses, the table of shewbread and the golden candlestick. They carried off the golden altar of incense as well as the ark of the covenant. All these things are gone.
Now we fast forward 70 years and Ezra builds the second temple in 516 B.C. That’s the temple that is going to be renovated by Herod the Great in 20 B.C. It will eventually be destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. This temple will stand 586 years. When Ezra rebuilt this temple, they brought a brazen altar out here for sacrifice. They either found or reproduced a brazen laver. They got another table of shewbread. They brought in the golden candlestick. They brought in the golden altar of incense. They got the veil back, but could I tell you what was never there – the ark of the covenant. It was never in the second temple. Five hundred and eighty six years that temple stood and represented the presence of God, but the ark was not there.
When we were in Israel, I asked our guide, Amnon, who has a doctorate in archeology, about this question. I said, “Is this correct? For 586 years, the second temple stood and there was no ark of the covenant.”
He said, “Yes, that’s correct.”
I said, “So when the high priest went in on the Day of Atonement, once a year for 586 times, the high priest goes in to the Holy of holies on the Day of Atonement to sprinkle the blood on the Mercy Seat, what did he do?”
He said, “I don’t know. I guess just sprinkled it in the general direction of where it should be.”
I said, “So what you are saying is he was just going through the motions.” Five hundred eighty six times the high priest went in. The presence of God was not there. There was no pillar of cloud. There was no pillar of fire. He went in 586 times just going through the motions. God’s presence wasn’t there, but he pretended it was.
I talked to a preacher who is out of the ministry now, who I worked with at one time. I said, “Preacher, tell me. What’s wrong? What’s happening? Your wife is crying. She said she can’t tell me; you have to tell me. Explain to me what’s going on?”
He kept talking in circles. I looked him in his eye and said, “Are you having an affair?”
He hung his head and said, “Yes.”
I said, “Is it a woman in the church?”
He said, “No.”
I said, “Where did you meet this woman?”
You are not going to believe this. He said, “It’s not a woman.” I was a little taken back. I’m usually a person that, before I walk into a situation, in my mind I’ve already figured out every possible scenario. I thought I had run every possible scenario up and down, so that whatever someone says I’m going to know what to do. But I never considered that scenario. I just stared at him. He looked at me and said, “I’m having an affair with another man.” In the process of counseling and working with him over a period of time, I asked him this question. I found out he had this problem for years and years. I said to him, “All those times that you stood to preach, how could you do that?”
Do you know what he told me? He said, “I had learned my craft so well. I had studied and learned it. I knew the art of speaking. I knew all of the things to do. I knew how to arrange the sermon. I knew all the different things to say and do, and I was just going through the motions.”
Could I suggest something, ladies and gentlemen? If we are operating absent of the presence of God, we are just going through the motions. When you learn to go through the motions absent of the presence of God, anything and everything is possible. If God’s presence is not there and you turn the people to yourself and they follow you, every and any church can be led down the wrong path. Because people need to follow someone. When Israel did not have the presence of God to follow any longer they said, “Give us a king. Give us a king.”
Can I suggest to you today that when God looked in David’s heart, God saw a true desire for the presence of God?
#2. God saw a heart that delighted in His Word. First Chronicles 15:2, this is when David was trying to move the ark back, get the presence of God back. “Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites:...” Where did he get that from? Deuteronomy 10:8 says, “At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord,...” I don’t know if David read it, or someone read it and told him, but when David finally got the presence of God back, he had to go to God’s Word to figure out the right way to go about it. He didn’t go to the bookstore and buy some heathen’s book on how to make a different new cart.
Do you know what we do? We put it on the new cart and bad things happen, the church doesn’t get any better. We lost 4,000, and now we did it this way and lost 30,000, so let’s figure it out. We put it on a new cart and that didn’t work. Let’s go get a book and build a different new cart. Maybe it needs to be on a bicycle or a motorcycle, so we read what the heathen have to say about it. David finally went back to the Book. When he went back to God’s Book, he figured out how to do it God’s way and he got the presence of God back.
You say, “Preacher, things are dead at my church. It just seems like the presence of God is not there. What shall I do? Shall I invest in some new Sunday school promotion?” I’m for Sunday school promotion. I came into this thing as a bus guy. I’m for that, but that’s not what you need. “Shall I go out and bring some guy in to help with the financial arrangement of our church because everything is dead?” No, get in this Book and figure out how to get the presence of God. Because He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) Whatever you lift up will draw men to itself. You lift yourself up, you will draw men to yourself. You lift up the Sunday school ministry, you lift up the singing ministry, that’s where people’s attention turns to.
I ran into a guy who went to Bible college with me and asked him what church he went to. I think it was a Church of Christ. I said, “Church of Christ, baptismal regeneration, the wrong Bible, what are you doing there?”
He said, “They have a great music program.” Can you believe that was more important to him?
David had a heart that delighted in the precepts of God. It was David who said in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
How could these preachers and Christians do these things that shock everybody, and sometimes shock themselves? Inside their hearts, though they may have been preaching His Word through their lips, it was not in their heart. Though they may have, on the outside, seemed like everything was okay, inside they were entertaining wickedness. Inside they were sinful, and long before it ever came out, it was wrong on the inside. The hidden man of the heart was not right with God.
It’s not our job to look at anyone else, but we better be sure to examine ourselves. Do we love God’s word and seek to obey it and keep it and delight in it?
#3. David also had a heart dedicated to prayer. He said in Psalm 141:2, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
David is making a reference to the tabernacle that he knows. Let my prayers be lifted up like the incense. In the picture of the tabernacle, God was showing them how to get close to Him. It started out here with the brazen altar, seven and a half feet by seven and a half feet square, a ledge half-way up where the sacrifices were always made. If you are going to come to God, it starts with a sacrifice. You are not going to come without the blood. You are going to start with salvation, that was paid for by the blood of Christ. If it doesn’t start here, you are not getting any closer. People get saved and they are here. God is way over there past the veil. They are still way far away. So what’s the next thing? The brazen laver made out of looking glasses. Before mirrors, they polished brass to a high finish and women would look at it to see their image. Here is the brazen laver, so that the priest could see himself and wash himself, his hands and his feet. The Scripture says, “Lest he die.”
Can I tell you why preachers are dying in the ministry? Right here, not cleaning up and confessing sin. They are dying right here. They are not close to God. They are way out here and they are not getting cleaned up, saved so as by fire, but no cleansing.
You guys that are dropping your standards. What is wrong with you? The first thing after salvation is separation. In I Peter 3, when it says, “Add to your faith,” what’s the first thing you are supposed to add? Virtue. Brother Corle has a good chapter in one of his books about why you don’t understand separation. Because you want knowledge and then you think you are going to apply virtue. You’ve got it backwards. First you yield to God in virtue and purity, and then you’ll understand and have the knowledge. Clean your life up.
Then they went into the tabernacle proper. On the right hand side was the table of shewbread, Jesus the Bread of life. If you are going to get close to God, you are going to have to decide that Christ is all you need. You are going to have to start trusting Him for everything and with everything, if you are going to get close to God. You’ve got to get separated. You’ve got to understand He is your source of supply.
Then the golden candlestick, it is the light that guides you, a light unto my path, David wrote. It’s the light that guides you. You are going to have to be led and guided by God and His Word.
We have become such a wimpy group of preachers nowadays. I don’t mean that you have to stick out your chest and scream at people and act like a bully. I mean that everybody tells you what to do and you think, “Well, maybe they are right. Maybe I should do this or that. The deacons want this and the old people want that.” (By the way, we are becoming the old people, if you haven’t noticed!) “They complain about this; they complain about that.” Hey, you’ve got light. Go back to the Bible and let it help you make those decisions.
James talks to you about the man that beholds his natural face in a glass and forgets what manner of man he is. That’s the guy who doesn’t look at the Bible and see himself as a sinner and confess sin. Then it talks to us about that Book being a light unto our path, letting it guide our ways.
The last piece of furniture in the holy place, the last thing before the Holy of holies, the golden altar, the altar of incense. The book of Revelation is very clear that it is the prayers of the saints. On this side of the veil, the closest you can get to God is in prayer. We understand that veil. Jesus said it was His flesh. It also figuratively represents your flesh and mine. When this flesh falls away, I am in the very presence of God, but until then on this side of the veil, on this side of death, the closest I can get to God is right there in prayer. Don’t you dare think you are going to get into the presence of God without starting out over here. You are not getting there without salvation, blood sacrifice. You are not getting there without separation and cleansing. Don’t expect to ask God to help you when you won’t let Him guide you and be the source of your supply in every area of your life. Now all of a sudden you come to God and you want help. He says, “Call upon Me while you may, for in the day of your calamity I will laugh.” In other words, you haven’t wanted My help anywhere else. Now you are in a bad way and all of a sudden you want Me to guide you. You are not getting to this place until you come through the other.
I want you to understand that David had a heart for prayer. His prayers, by the way, were based on past experience. He said in Psalm 116:1, “I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.” Here is what David said. I’m going to keep calling on God because I called on Him before and He answered me. Has God ever answered any of your prayers? He has. Do you think maybe that’s enough reason to keep talking to Him? Do you think maybe that’s enough reason to call on Him?
My dad was miraculously saved because of prayer. A man that wouldn’t talk to me about religion, a man that wouldn’t have anything to do with church, a man that took a dish towel that was on his shoulder and smacked me across the face and said, “Don’t you ever speak to me about that religion again.” When that man got saved on the very day that we picked to pray and fast for him, it was a miracle. If God never says yes to another one of my prayers, I will call on Him as long as I live because way back yonder He saved my daddy in a miraculous way. I will come to Him as long as I live.
David said, “My prayers are based on the fact that I’ve called on Him in the past and He answered me. My prayers are based on the fact that I have had blessings so undeserved.” He said in Psalm 116:12-14, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.” David said, “I’ll tell you why I pray. I pray because God has answered my prayers in the past. I pray because God has blessed me so undeservedly. How could I not call upon Him? How could I not thank Him?” What a group of ingrates we are. Do you really feel like you’ve been blessed beyond what you deserve? I do. Wouldn’t that alone be enough reason to continue to come into His presence? He said, “I pray based on the answers of the past. I pray because of the blessings that I have that are so undeserved.”
I pray because it brings me closer to God. Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him,...” He says that He’s close to those who call upon Him. As a matter of fact on this side of death, that’s as close as I can get. Why wouldn’t I want to be there? Why am I satisfied to be way back here, when He is way over there? And I have been provided the way by Christ. He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He’s provided all the way and invited me to come boldly so that I can draw that close, and yet sometimes I stand afar off. What is it that makes me stay back here? Could it be that my sin has separated between me and my God that He cannot hear my prayers? Could it be that I will not look into this brazen laver and see my sin and cleanse myself, so that I might get closer to my God?
#4. David had a heart that was devoted to pleasing God. He had a desire for the presence of God. He delighted in the precepts of God. He was dedicated to prayer. He was devoted to pleasing God. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” I’m not going to say what everybody else wants to hear, God. I want to say what You want to hear. I’m not going to do what everybody else wants me to do, God. I want to do what You want me to do. I want to please You.
When you love somebody, you really want to please them. When you love somebody, you do things you don’t normally do, and maybe even things you don’t like to do, so that you might please them. I don’t particularly like flowers. My wife likes flowers. I’ve been to three flower shows. I know -- my man card was long since stripped. Three flower shows, do you know why? My wife loves flowers, and I love my wife. Whither she goeth, I shall go. I go there because she loves flowers. I want to be with her. She wants to be by the flowers. I want to be by her.
If you really have a desire to please God, it will take you to places you never thought you would go. David had a desire to please God. That’s why his heart was so penitent over his sins. In I Samuel 24:5 the Bible says, “...David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt.” Second Samuel 24:10 says, “And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people....” Yes, David had bouts of backsliding, no doubt a man who had feet of clay, but when he made those mistakes the Scripture continues to record that his heart smote him.
How can preachers and Christians do some of these things that are wrong? How could it be possible that you and I could do things we never dreamed we would be guilty of? You get a heart that is so far away from God that when you sin, your heart doesn’t smite you anymore. There is no conviction anymore. You’ve become calloused to sin.
David had a heart that was penitent over sin and a heart that praised God. The Psalmist said in Psalm 86:12, “I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart:...” David talked about the fact that he had a heart to praise God. I’m afraid we are living in a time when we would rather get the praise of men to ourselves, than we would give or direct praise to God. That is a very dangerous place. Because when we get to that place, any of us can likewise fall. None of us are more spiritual than David, a man after God’s own heart. Every one of us can fall into sin if we don’t keep a watch on ourselves and the condition of the hidden man of the heart that no one sees and knows but God.
So the hidden man of the heart, if it’s the kind of heart God is looking for, is someone who has a heart like David. It is a heart that desires the presence of God, a heart that delights in the precepts of God, a heart that is dedicated to prayer, and a heart that is devoted to pleasing God.
“It’s not the preacher in the pulpit with a fancy shirt and tie.
It’s the humble man on bended knee that cries to God on high.
It’s not the guy who draws the crowd with silver tongued speech.
It’s the hidden man away from view who to God’s Word retreats.
It’s not the man who in men’s eyes is squeaky clean and white.
It’s the heart felt man behind closed doors, who in God’s sight is right.
When he stands before the Lord to receive his well-earned part,
His reward won’t be on what we see, but on the hidden man of the heart.”