David is God’s choice to be the next king of Israel. It is a choice made to demonstrate one central truth: When God gets ready to pick a man, he isn’t bound by purely human considerations. Man’s checklist and God’s are two different things. To put it in the words of Holy Scripture, man looks on the outside but God looks on the heart (I Samuel 16:7):
When I was in seminary, I learned that “the heart” refers to the mission-control center of our bodies. It is the seat of decision-making. This is why you and I make wiser decisions after our hearts spend time in the house of mourning. I tend to make good decisions at funerals and poor ones in restaurants. I have made wise financial decisions while surrounded by starving children, and poor decisions from the suburbs. We need to keep our hearts close to the house of mourning to avoid decisions we will regret.
The Nobel Prize winner and most important Russian literary artist of the second half of the twentieth century, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008), who was imprisoned for eight years for criticising Stalin, wrote, ‘The line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor through classes, nor between political parties… but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.’
We notice also that Paul finds a basic unity, even identity between the love of God as it is shown in the objective, factual event of Christ’s death on the cross and as it is experienced “in the heart” by teh believer (v5b). An emotional feeling of God’s love in itself, is little comfort to th eperson who is lost, condemned, doomed for hell. But a cold, sober historical interpretation that indeed “God love the world” on the cross is of little benefit to a person until that love is experienced, is received, by faith in Christ. It is when these are properly experienced as two aspects of one great love, ultimately indivisible, that our assurance that “hope will not put us to shame” v5a will be strong and unshakable.