Mike Bickle

B. Childress
Jan 22 2010 08:00 A.M.

King David has been a puzzle, a mystery, a holy conundrum for thousands of years.  His life perplexes, maddens, and
humbles students of the bible.  To many, it doesn't make sense that this man who was so prone to personal weakness
was able to "get away with" so much and still have God treat him with special favor.  He was many things: a shepherd, a
psalmist, a king, a liar, a murderer, and an adulterer.  But most important of all, he was the only person in the entire
span of the Bible to be called a man after God's own heart.  A man - lowly and often full of doubts and sin, like all of us -
and yet God singled him out and called him a man after His own heart.  What an awesome, almost unfathomable

But in saying those words, God threw open the door to every person on the planet to be, like David, a man or woman
after God's own heart.  We all have the same opportunity as that long-ago king to embody in our own personality and in
our own way the kind of heart that reflects the very heart, emotions, and personality of God.  Our Father is no respecter
of persons.  He didn't make King David great so the rest of us would feel like failures.  Rather, He offers you and me the
same opportunities and blessings He offered to men and women throughout history.  But most people don't ever come
close to having a heart after God's the way David did.  They stumble and struggle through life without discovering God's
heart and without letting it transform them.

Two of the toughest questions throughout Christian history has been, Why did David get this special distinction from
God?  and, What set him apart from so many other godly men and women?  In these days, I believe God is releasing
the answer to that question in greater measure than ever before.  You see, it wasn't David's obedience that earned him
special standing with God.  Close examination reveals he wasn't any more obedient than, say, Moses or the other
prophets.  And if you really want a sterling example of obedience, check out Daniel.

It wasn't David's pursuit of God's miraculous power that made him unique.  Elijah and Elisha had many more power

And it wasn't his brilliant military success.  That too wasn't one of a kind.  Joshua had significant success in his military
career, but he wasn't called a man after God's heart.

So, what made David the one person God called the man after His own heart?  What can we learn from him?  What
distinctive quality of his can we emulate as we seek to become men and women after God's heart?

The answer has the power to revolutionize the way you see God, the way you relate to Him, how you view yourself, and
your destiny in Him.  What set David apart as a man after God's heart was his unrelenting passion to search out and
understand the emotions of God.  This, I believe, is the distinguishing factor in the life of any person - you or me or
anyone else - who sets out to have a heart after God's.  In fact, someday the church worldwide will be like David in this
regard.  We will be a massive group of people who worship, serve, and love God with ever-increasing understanding of
His emotions and passions.  Like David, we will understand and reflect the heart of God in a way humanity has rarely

I believe we live in the generation in which the Lord will return, the generation that God will look upon and say, "They
are after My own heart."  Today, as in David's day, He seeks lovesick worshipers who understand how He feels.  Jesus
said, "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the
Father is seeking such to worship Him" (John 4:23).  To worship in spirit is to worship deeply from a heart of total
abandonment.  Compare that to the limited way most people worship, staying within the strictures of external forms and
religious rituals.  True worship is not often seen on the earth.  To worship, serve, and love the real way - God's way -
demands something more than what we usually see on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evenings.  To worship in truth
means more than just singing the right songs or striking the right worship poses; it means understanding the truth about
God's heart and personality.  Worship is not a twenty-minute period during a church service but a lifestyle of relating to
God in a particular way.  But if you look at the body of Christ today, you see that religion has burdened us with lies
about God's heart; it has hindered us from giving God the "love responses" we naturally desire to give Him.  The
turbulent rivers of affection in God's personality flow strong, and yet we respond with the drip-drip of ritual or
passionless worship.  When Jesus said, in John 4:23, that God was seeking worshipers, He was referring to the
tremendous, fierce, fiery desire in His Father's heart.  That love seeks out lovers to requite His passion, to understand
His love, and to worship Him drenched in the desire He has for us.  That's what it means to be a true worshiper.  David
was such a man.  And we must be men and women like him.

In this book we will look at David's life, which is a divine pattern for the church at the end of the age.  It sets the course
for our journey into holy passion and abandonment that will change our hearts in ways we haven't yet imagined and that
will strengthen and empower the church in a way history has never seen.  Millions of people are primed and ready for
this change.  Many are already on the path toward discovering God's own heart.  Perhaps you are one of them, or
perhaps you are hearing this for the first time, and your heart is burning inside of you at the possibility of becoming what
you know the Lord wants you to be.  Let me encourage you: you can be a person after God's own heart, just as David
was.  God is raising believers up and giving them hearts like David's.  We will be, when all is said and done, a church
after God's own heart.  Let's start the journey into how.

After God's Own Heart

What does it mean to be a man or a woman after God's own heart?  What in the heart of this shepherd boy playing his
makeshift guitar on the backside of Bethlehem so captured almighty God's attention? I've alluded to one answer, but
there are three facets to this divine description of David's life, and they form the basic blueprint for this book.

1.  David was committed to obeying the commands of God's heart.

I put this first not because it's the most important, but because it's the most common, most recognizable lesson
preachers draw from David's life.  I have heard many men and women teach on this through the years, saying it's the
key to being a person after God's heart, and while partly true, it's not the whole story.  David's obedience is well
established in the Book of Psalms and elsewhere.  But it's only one dimension of what it means to be people after God's
heart.  We must look deeper.

Let's not deceive ourselves; it's critically important to obey God.  Jesus equated obedience with love (John 14:23).  
David was tenacious, determined, and sincerely devoted to following hard after God's commands.  This desire chiseled
and shaped his heart over many years.  But he was far from a model of obedience.  There was often a yawning gap
between his sincere resolve and his actions.  In other words, he blew it from time to time, sometimes in spades.  Yet he
was still a man after God's own heart.  That should flutter your heart a bit!  What does this tell us?  That there's more to
being a person after God's heart than obedience.  There is also the posture of your heart before God.  God counted
the sincere intentions of David's heart even when his great weakness led him to wrong decisions.

God sees us the same way.  
Our sincere intentions to obey are very significant to God.  He notices our desires, not just
our outward actions.  We often think that if our genuine intentions don't immediately come into full fruition, they are
worthless.  Religious tradition has taught us that only mature love for God is real love.  It says when our love is
immature, it's false and hypocritical.  It blames young believers for messing up.

That's a damaging lie that strips people of confidence and dignity.  Truth be told, we all start with immature love.  Life is
long because maturity takes time - often more time than we would like.  Have you noticed that nobody immediately goes
to heaven after accepting Jesus?  Maturity requires time to develop, but sincere love of any maturity is real in God's
eyes.  It counts!  God did not view David as a hypocrite while David's love was weak and immature, and He doesn't see
us as hypocrites, either.  Our attainment of mature love happens over months, years, and decades, and the results will
be seen in due time as we bear fruit.  God, in His patience, sees the long view much better than we do.

Most people beat themselves up over their weaknesses, but David saw God's heart more clearly than most of God's Old
Testament servants and most Christians today.  He understood that his deep-down determination to obey and love was
valued by God, even when he came up short.  David's weaknesses were at times paraded before his countrymen, even
written into Scripture.  Yet he had an unusual ability to stand confidently before God and say, "I am one of Your
favorites  You like me even in my down times.  I am completely Yours."  This sincere determination to love Jesus even in
the midst of our weakness is a huge part of being a man or woman after God's own heart.  Our ability to obey will grow
over time, but God doesn't treat us according to our obedience alone.

2.  David was a student of God's emotions.

David went beyond a determination to sincerely obey; he became a student of God's emotions.  He wanted to know
what wonders, pleasures, and fearsome things filled God's heart.  He had many responsibilities and challenges as
warrior and king, but he spent his best energies trying to understand what emotions burned in the personality of God.  
This was a king like no other; he spent his days gazing upon the beauty of God's fiery desires and peering into the
heart of the uncreated One.  It is this reality, not some legalistic impulse, that fueled David's obedience.  He had a
remarkable hunger to understand the emotions and heart of God, and as a result he had a unique grasp of the
emotions, intentions, and passions of God's heart.  David was, bar none, the Old Testament's ultimate student of the
emotions of God.  He was a scholar of God's affections; his bread and butter was an undying passion for the center
flame of God's heart.

This is the one key, the single motivation that empowered David.  And if we are to follow in his footsteps toward an
understanding of God's heart, we must have the same motivation.  By the anointing and the grace of God, we must
become scholars of God's heart.  We must yearn to know how God feels, how the passions of His heart move.
 As we
discover the same truths about God's heart, we will find ourselves living the way David lived and fulfilling the call of God
on our generation

The Holy Spirit is impressing this upon people across the earth.  He is taking what David saw in the heart of God,
combining it with all that Jesus revealed about the Father's heart in the New Testament, and causing an explosion of
revelation about the emotions of God's heart to come into the body of Christ.  People are listening to this message and
developing rock-solid resolve to be scholars of God's emotions, as David was.  This explains the deep, worldwide
hunger people have to experience God in a way that goes beyond what many churches are accustomed.  We will talk
more about that later.  For now we must fix it in mind that David was a man after God's heart primarily because he
sought to understand the emotions of God - and we must do the same.

3.  David was passionate about seeing the full release of the power and promises of God in his

David refused to live with less than the very highest God would give him in his day.  He never let himself feel disqualified
by his weaknesses, but he contended mightily for the release of God's  power during his generation.  He caught a
glimpse of God's zeal for His people and became convinced that the Lord would release His power for the benefit of the
entire nation of Israel.  In David's generation, God's power was often expressed in military feats.  Therefore, entering
into all that God would give his generation translated into the military conquest of enemies.  The principle today is the
same, though not expressed in military terms.  But like David, we must refuse to draw back until we experience God's full
power for our generation.  When we get caught up in the glorious emotions that burn within God's heart as David did,
we begin to see the tremendous, unprecedented blessing and power God has planned for this hour in history.  We lose
our ability to settle for same ol', same ol'.  We burn like torches with strong vision as our fuel.  We become people who
contend for the power of God available to our generation.

To sum it up, let me switch the order to show the real sequence of how we become people after God's heart.  David first
passionately pursued the revelation of the desires and emotions of God's heart.  Second, he obeyed God's commands,
and third, he moved into the fullness of God's power and purposes.  We'll dive into these critically important topics in
later chapters.

This journey to being a person after God's own heart begins with a revelation into the emotional makeup of the heart of
God.  That is the first, most life-changing step, and there is no way around it.  David conveyed what he saw in God's
heart in dozens of ways through the songs and prayers he wrote.  He prayed that he would be able to drink from the
river of the pleasures of God's heart (Psalm 36:8).  God's heart was depicted as a river, even a raging, crashing river of
rushing desire for human beings.  David understood that God's heart is like white-water rapids, tossing and tumbling
with fierce emotions so strong and determined that they even drove Him to the extreme of being incarnated and hung
on a cross.  In His love for us, He would simply not be denied relationship with us, and so He pursued us to the very
That is the God we serve.

As you fix this picture of God in your mind, you will find your obedience is supercharged.  You will mature much more
rapidly than if you had plodded along with false views of a passionless God.  You will go after the fullness of God's heart
with astonishing energy as you are motivated from within by this revelation of His affections and desires for you.  But
you must intentionally pursue the revelation of God's heart and emotions to get the benefits.  There is nothing passive
about it.  It's an aggressive hunt that requires as much energy and mental focus as any Olympic event.  Remember, the
main characteristic of a person after God's heart is that he or she understands and pursues the passion of God's heart
for us - even in his or her weakness.  The point is to keep going after knowledge of God's heart through all seasons of
life.  God invites us to pursue Him with abandon, and pursue we must if we are to have the incomparable pleasure of
discovering Him.

Let's unlock this first, unique secret of David's life and see how he insisted on knowing the emotional heart of God.

The Pleasure of Encountering God

In the spring of 1999, I had a family meeting with my two sons, Luke and Paul, who were eighteen and twenty at the
time.  After being a pastor for twenty-five years, I was resigning the pastorate to lead the new International House of
Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri, as my new full-time "job."  Before announcing this publicly, I sat them down and told
them I was leaving my salary, signing off the church board, and leaving that part of my life behind.

They looked at me with real surprise on their countenances.  "Really?" they said.  

I answered, "Yes, that is what I am going to do.  I will soon resign from the church."  They asked what I was going to do.  
I said, "Well, a group of worship leaders, intercessors, and myself are going to rent a little trailer and worship and pray
there for hours a day."

My son said, "Great, Dad, but I mean, what will you do for your real job?"  I assured them that this little trailer idea would
eventually grow and other people would join us.  Still perplexed, my sons looked at me as if to say, "OK, let me get this
straight.  You have no salary.  You're going to rent a little trailer and put a couple of guitar players in it and sing and
pray all day?"

I said, "So, what do you guys think?"

My boys love me a lot, so they said, "Good.  OK, Dad.  Whatever you say."  One of them had the boldness to look at me
sideways and ask, "Why?"

I told him, "I want to fast more, pray more, and worship more to release the Great Harvest.  This may surprise you, but
one reason I'm doing this is because I love pleasure."

They said, "Because you love pleasure?"

I said, "All the young boys you hang out with don't even compare to me.  I have a much greater appetite for pleasure
than they do.  I'm addicted to wanting to feel more of God's presence.  I must have more, and I must feel it deeper.  I am
a total pleasure addict.  That's one reason I'm going to rent that trailer, get a couple of guitar players, fast, pray,
worship, and study what Scripture says about the emotions of God."

I'm not sure they understood then, but I did.  I had a vision in mind, learned from years of study and experience with
God, and I was going to pursue it more aggressively than ever before.  I had discovered that intimacy with God starts
with the realization that
God likes us and wants to enjoy with us the pleasure of spiritual encounters with Him.  There is
nothing more exhilarating for us than plunging into that river of pleasure.  The glory of our lives is not just the fact that
our generation will experience a revival that will surpass even the Book of Acts.  That's great, and I'm happy to be part
of it, but we are called to something even more profound:  the infinite God of glory is truly in love with us, even in our
weakness and brokenness.  He has invited us to drink from the awesome spiritual pleasures of having a divine romance
with Him.  I don't know about you, but the best moments in my life are when God says to me, "I really enjoy you, Mike."

Enough said!  I'm lost in that.  I can't recover.  I will never get over that message.  I say back to Him, "God, there are one
billion galaxies You made, and angels without number do You bidding.  The earth teems with life You created in almost
infinite variety.  These manifestations of Your glory are wonderful but tell me again about the part I especially like: that
You really like
me."  That's my favorite part of the whole gospel - when God says, "I really like you, Mike.  Let's hang
around together."

I don't think its possible to outgrow the thrill, the wonder, the overwhelming certainty of being loved and enjoyed.  It is
the single experience all humans grope for and cling to in human relationships and with God.  Knowing you are loved by
another person fills your days with endless marvels, no matter what's going on outside your heart.  You go through
problems as if they're cotton candy.  Your car breaks down and you think, "Big deal," because somebody loves you.  
You lose your wallet, get caught in traffic, and forget the milk in the trunk all in the same day, but you don't even care
because in your heart is that lamp lit with the strong power of love.  You know that, should all else fail, you have this
most important thing.  God created us to be this way.  He put deep longings to be loved inside of us.  We were designed
down to our DNA to live in spiritual pleasure of being enjoyed not just by other humans but also by Him.

I'm not just talking about knowing in your head that God loves you.  Everybody knows that, or says they do.  But we've
been numbed over the ages to the impact of God's love.  We have reduced it to something namby-pamby and full of
condescension and pity.  Yet God's love is so full of tumbling energy and strong emotion, I don't know if we would
recognize it for what it is.  It is a wonderful thing to be loved, but I'm talking about actually feeling this transcendent love.  
They are two different things.  One is knowledge, the other experience.  One you might say to your spouse on your way
out the door; the other you say to him or her in the bedroom, face-to-face, knee-to-knee, breath-to-breath.  Mere
knowledge of love makes life a little more bearable in the midst of the world's madness, but feeling love turns life into an
utterly pleasurable adventure.

Most believers are so disconnected from the reality of God's astonishing, frightfully lavish love for us that they totally
miss out on 99 percent of what they could experience in their everyday walk with Christ.  They treat God like an
employer a business partner, a judge, a traffic cop - anything but a lover.  They rarely feel His passion, love, or
pleasure.  Perhaps they tell themselves that feeling it is not all that important, as long as they are obeying His
commands, reading the Bible, and keeping up the spiritual disciplines.  But as a consequence of this dryness, they
rarely feel love or pleasure of any kind.

You have to understand:  God is not a boring fuddy-duddy who wears slippers and putters around heaven feeling
constantly perturbed.  He is not geriatric, but ageless.  He is the very fountain of timeless youth and passion.  He is the
source of all pleasure in the universe!  Happiness comes from no other source.  It is never a sacrifice to hang out in His
presence, though many are bored during times of prayer and worship.  Most believers put prayer in the "sacrifices-I-
make-for-God" category, but that only happens when you live with a total misconception of who God is.  When we look
into His heart, He reveals to us what He looks like emotionally and what we look like to Him.  The result turns our brains
and hearts inside out.  You can't get over it!  It's like falling in love for the first time.
 He absolutely burns with love for

    "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let
    not the rich man glory in his riches:  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me,
    that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I
    delight, saith the LORD."  Jeremiah 9:23-24

In this passage God talks about people who relate to Him in wrong ways, usually based on their own attainment, rather
than relating to Him based on His heart.  Verse 23 says, "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom."  The wise man may
be the scientist, the great inventor, or the theologian with biblical knowledge.  The Lord urges him not to find confidence
in what he knows.  He then says, "Let not the mighty man glory in his might."  This could be a CEO or the president of a
nation.  The ability to move armies or great amounts of money or resources is not something to glory in.

Next, God addresses the rich man: "Do not let the rich man have confidence in how much he has earned or
accumulated.  His riches will not secure him."  Rather, He says, "Let the one who has confidence have confidence in
this, that he understands Me.  He knows My heart, that I delight in exercising lovingkindness."  We are to glory in the
fact that God is tender and kind when He relates to weak people.  He is gentle with us in our weakness and filled with
love for us even before we are spiritually mature.

As we will see, there is no greater testimony in Scripture of someone so weak and yet so great in God than that of
David.  He spent much time pondering and meditating on the emotions of God.  He gloried in God's kindness, not in his
own spiritual attainment.  That is the opposite of how so many believers live!  They don't put confidence in God's mercy
and love, so they make life into a hard, cold, demanding thing, devoid of pleasure.  They cut off the source of love and
quietly put confidence in their own attainment.  When they fail somehow, the self-blame is almost too much to bear.  
Beloved, that is the opposite of what it means to be a person after God's heart.  Yes, there were times when David's
confidence wavered, but the rule of his life, through its many seasons, was the certainty of who he was before God.  
That certainty must grow to dominate our hearts if we are to fulfill our generation's mandate.

God then said, "Let him be confident that I am a God who exercises judgment and righteousness.  And in these I
delight."  Even when God judges, He is revealing His heart to remove things that hinder love.  He will not be a silent
witness or a distant observer.  Passivity and isolation are not in His character.  He insists on being an active, passionate
participant in our lives.  He will intervene with judgment when things stand in the way of the tender kiss of intimacy we
can have with Him.  He won't allow the relationships He treasures to be disrupted.  He is a God of righteousness, and He
desires not just to forgive us a billion times over, but also to
change us into His very own likeness by inviting us into
intimate relationship with Him

The Crisis: A False View of God

Imagine this great tragedy:  A woman walks with God for forty years, fully saved, redeemed, and following Christ.  She
comes before the throne in the resurrection, and for the first time, she realizes what she's missed.  She feels wave upon
wave of pleasure flowing from the Son of God, and she says to herself, "I could have drunk from this well of spiritual
delight every day on Earth.  I just had to encounter Your heart and Your beauty.  Life would have been so much better!  
Everything would have changed, and I would have accomplished so much more."  Many like her spend their days on
Earth believing that Jesus is harsh instead of tender, mad instead of glad, and distant instead of affectionate.  When
they finally see Him as He truly is, they will be filled with regret at not spending their time on Earth radically pursuing His
heart and reaping the amazing pleasures.

Beloved, we don't have to wait to experience the deep pleasures!  God has ordained for the human heart to experience
even in this life.  I'll go further and state that it's not optional for us to go on as generations have without a
transforming revelation of God's heart.  In light of the mounting pressures at the end of the age, we can't afford not to
drink of the pleasures of His heart.  Our lives must overflow with constant delighted cries of, "O God, this is too good to
be true; it's too magnificent to really be happening!  But it is true!  Beyond what I could hope for!"  We want these
testimonies of worship and adoration to flow from our spirits now and not just in eternity.  We desperately need hearts
anchored and sustained by an outrageous love that comes from another world.

The present crisis in the body of Christ, in which many people never experience the love of God, stems from a false
view of God.  Instead of a God who is full of tenderness, gladness, and desire, believers imagine a God who is filled with
animosity toward them.  This affects every single aspect of how they approach Him.

Think of it in practical terms.  When you are forced to meet with someone who openly dislikes you, considers you a
hypocrite, or is full of blame toward you, your spirit is guarded and closed.  You can't relax.  You count the minutes and
look forward to leaving that person's presence.  This is how many of God's people live and worship.  They lift hands and
voices with guarded spirits and closed hearts.  This is an amazing and sad statement, but most believers I know are
trying to live a devoted life of holiness while seeing God as harsh and menacing.  They are unable to worship Him with
open spirits because inside they feel rejected by Him as a hopeless hypocrite.  They may use different words to
describe this reality, but the pain is the same.  Perhaps you have felt it.  You may sing, dance, speak in tongues, and
pray for others, but you do it with your heart gate latched shut and a sign that reads "Do not disturb" hung on your
spirit.  You come before God as you would come before someone who despises you.

This common view of God produces churches full of believers who feel condemnation on their backs.  They see
themselves as prisoners on spiritual probation, and they try so hard to get their acts together.  Even when they worship,
they silently negotiate with God: "Give me one more chance, and I promise I will never ask for anything else again.  
Forgive me one more time, and I will never again sin the way I did before."  They continuously try to create a loving
motivation in God's heart.  Beloved, you and I cannot produce a good enough argument to change God's emotions
towards us!  His emotions are set and will not be altered.  It's foolish to think we can cause Him to love us, but that's how
many live - on the "wrong" side of God's emotions.

    "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two
    of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you
    with knowledge and understanding."  Jeremiah 3:14-15

What is God going to do to correct the backsliding?  Beat everyone up?  Bring another Great Depression?  Cause
countries to suffer surprise military attacks?  Spread incurable diseases?  No, Jeremiah prophesied that in the End
Times, God would cause His people to return wholeheartedly by revealing our relationship to Him as a cherished bride.  
This heart-stopping truth will be enough to prod the church out of lethargy.  The Lord will cry out through His prophets,
saying these profound words, "Return...for I am married to you."

This is the Lord's highest way of empowering people to walk in wholehearted holiness with Jesus.  He doesn't whale on
us with a switch from the willow tree, but He introduces us to our marriage relationship with the Godhead.  He invites us
to fill our spirits with the understanding of Him as our Husband, the One who is merciful, glad hearted, affectionate, and
beautiful.  He beckons us to go on a journey that we might experience the power of this reality in our own being.  And
then, flowing out of our personal encounter with Him, we will stop our backsliding, proclaim what He is like to others, and
lead them into their own experience of this fascinating, intimacy-loving Bridegroom God.

God's Promise: Shepherds After God's Own Heart

After God gives a beckoning call to return to Him because He is married to us, inviting us to come near to Him in
confident love and wholeheartedness, He then gives a promise:

    "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."  
    Jeremiah 3:15

In effect, He says, "I am going to raise up men and women who will experience the spiritual reality of God's heart as a
Bridegroom God.  That revelation will flow like a river on the inside of those shepherds, and they will live in the mighty
power of this revelation.  Then they shall feed the church from it."  The Lord is now raising up men and women after His
heart, like David, and He will give them as a gift to the backslidden church to win her back to wholeheartedness.  Watch
and listen carefully so you can see the day coming.

The Lord also promised to give the End time church shepherds according to His own heart - men and women, old and
young, who will give expression to this reality of a Bridegroom God for His people.  It will happen soon.  He declared that
He would raise up servants who will speak this good news to the compromising people of God.  They will speak it with
deep, undeniable revelation and feed the people with the knowledge of God's heart.  Their mandate will be to equip the
people of God to understand what it means to be married to God.  Daniel prophesied this when he said, "And those of
the people who understand [God's heart] shall instruct many" (Daniel 11:33).

When Jeremiah prophesied that God was going to raise up shepherds after His own heart, it was approximately 600 B.
C.  The Lord borrowed a phrase that He Himself originally spoke over a young guitar player in the back hills of
Bethlehem about four hundred years earlier.   God spoke to Samuel, saying that David was a man after His own heart (I
Samuel 13:14).  David was called this by God, not by the prophet.  Samuel delivered the mail, but the message was
from the Lord Himself, and it said, "This guy's heart is like Mine.  I'm going to use him greatly."  Approximately four
hundred years later, God echoed His earlier declaration over David by saying to the prophet Jeremiah, "I will raise up
people in the end Times like David, people who will also be shepherds after My own heart.  This will be fulfilled in the
lives of multitudes of shepherds across the nations of the earth."

For us, that means that David's heart was not confined to him alone.  Rather, he was a living prophecy of the Holy Spirit
to the shepherds in the generation in which Jesus returns.  This reality will spread further and deeper at the end of the
age than at any time in history because He is going to reveal Himself as a Bridegroom.  Not even David understood
himself as the bride of Jesus.  Based on what is recorded in Scripture, the first prophet to speak the message of the
bride of Christ was Hosea about 750 B.C., around two hundred fifty years after David.  That means we have a revelation
that goes beyond what David saw in the heart of God.  The shepherds in the End Times will have the same character of
David's heart but with further understanding of the Bridegroom God.

This is what the Lord is doing in this hour of history.  The Holy Spirit is raising up shepherds to teach God's people to
live after His own heart.  They will feed others from the reality they encounter through their own unyielding personal
pursuit of God.  They will only be able to shepherd others because they have given themselves wholly to the great
Shepherd.  Some of these shepherds will lead through preaching and some through writing, singing, and other skills
and talents.  Some will do it through one-on-one discipleship and spending time nurturing younger believers' faith in a
spiritual relationship.  Some will do it in the context of their business or workplace.  Perhaps you are called to be a
shepherd, to aggressively pursue the knowledge of His personality in your own life so you can feed others with the
truths you discover.  I encourage you to pray specifically about this.  You can't afford to miss your appointment in these
End Times.

As individual believers, we stand in two positions in regard to God's invitation to us.  We first must feed our own spirits
on the truths of this Bridegroom God's heart and personality, and then we will arise as shepherds in the body of Christ
to feed others.  We can't feed others if we don't feed ourselves first.  Therefore we must become people with a clear
focus on personally discovering who Jesus is in all of these dimensions of His Bridegroom heart.  This includes giving
time and energy to understanding this new paradigm of God.  At some point in this process we will be equipped to lead
other believers who are entrenched in compromise.  We'll take them by the hand and show them into the freeing and
empowering encounter of what our God is like.  It's not enough to tell people that God is a Bridegroom and we are His
bride.  It must come from our hearts.  It is transformation by personal revelation.  This revelation has to be "unpacked"
and broken down into bite-size pieces.  Shepherds must unfold specific elements on specific parts of God's emotions
and personality, and then, little by little, like a flower in spring, the listeners' spirits will open up and be transformed.

In raising up multitudes of shepherds, God is doing the same type of thing He did in David's day.  Back then there was
no wide-spread revelation in the land (I Samuel 3:1).  So what did the Lord do?  He put His hand on a young shepherd
boy with revelation of His heart.  What a great gift to that land!  And the shepherds of today are likewise a gift to the
body of Christ.  The Lord says, "I have not forgotten My people.  I am raising up young men and women, and I will touch
them with the same anointing of revelation of My heart, just as I touched David.  They will slay the Goliaths of their day
the same way David did, by understanding My heart."  

God will bring this same heart of David, plus the bridal paradigm, into fruition in multitudes of weak and broken human
beings in the generation that the Lord returns.  Beloved, this is about us!  We have been invited into the revelation that
David experienced.  You can be one of those who walk in the heart of God and fulfill those astonishing four words,
being a man or woman "after God's own heart"!

There is no doubt: the church at the end of the age will be a church after God's own heart.  It's a done deal.  God gave
us the life of David not to fill us with awe but to change our thinking, to get us ready.  David was a man like us, weak and
with spiritual failures.  But he succeeded before God in his spiritual life.  A thousand years after David died, God even
did some wonderful editing of David's legacy.  The apostle Paul said, "He [God] raised up for them David as king...and
said, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will'" (Acts 13:22).  I love God's
editing process.  A thousand years after David died, Paul declared that David did, in fact, do all God's will.  What about
all the failures and set backs?  Edited out by the grace of God.  He will do that in your life too if you have His heart.

David's life should embolden you to say, "Why not me?  If he can overcome his failure and still have confidence in God's
tender mercy, then I can!"  Real man or woman of God, real Bible heroes were just like you and me.  Weak-kneed,
unfaithful, puny - but before the throne of God they are counted a success.  And we will be too.

This generation bears the singular distinction of having
unprecedented revelation into God's emotions.  Because of this
we will do what no other generation has done.  We will enter into an understanding and a profound transformation of
beholding the wonders of God's heart.

How does the Lord bring an entire generation of believers into this great anointing that David lived in?  There are
several important lessons we will go into in greater depth.  I want to start with a new approach to a subject that formerly
filled people with fear but that now will fill us with absolute joy.  Really, it is the old approach that worship clearly
established in the Word of God, but it is new to some in this generation.  I'm talking about holiness - or rather, holy
obsession that God is raising up in the body of Christ to replace the dreary rituals of sacrifice.  I think you will be
surprised at the direction of the next chapter.


AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART, by Mike Bickle, Copyright 2009, Charisma House.