A long time ago, there was a very important position that was empty. The person who filled it died. And God said, “How long will you mourn?” I have chosen someone new; go to this certain place and family and publicly, solemnly select the one I show you for the role”.
The one God was talking to did that- deliberately, with prayer, looked where God was looking and surveyed the possible choices.
There were many that looked good, strong, capable… but God said, “No, don’t judge by outward appearance, that’s the way people do it, but I judge by the heart.”
It’s not an easy thing to look past appearance, previous record or lack thereof, and past all the best projections of others and weigh the heart.
The one chosen in the story above was one called, “a man after God’s own heart”. Even after he was chosen, there would have been plenty of people who disagreed with that assessment. How about the many wives David had, or Uriah, the guy placed in danger so David could also keep HIS wife, how about those psalms in which David wants utter destruction on his enemies?
God judges the heart. He knows our intent, he knows our limitations, the things that blind us physically, or mentally and alter our behaviour, sometimes shockingly.
He is about the business of calling us after His own heart and He chooses us- despite the raw material. Intent matters. In law, it is a mitigating factor. When God chooses people, it’s the deciding factor.