“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.”
(1 Samuel 16:6-7).
We see here that God doesn’t see the same way people see …..
We form all kinds of assessments about others; and all kinds of assessments about ourselves; based on how we look: Fat … Thin … Strong … Wimpy … Rich …
Poor … Shabby … Cool … Nerdy …
We are far too prone to make snap judgments based on what we see. And because of it, we miss what we could be seeing: which is what God sees. His viewpoint …..
And what God sees is all that matters. When He instructed Samuel; spiritual leader of Israel, to go anoint a new king from among the sons of a man named Jesse in Bethlehem, the logical process seemed pretty simple: just parade them past Samuel in order of age, from oldest to youngest. In fact, if historical precedent was any indicator, Samuel could have guessed without looking that the Lord would surely tell him to select the firstborn as His choice for king. Especially a young man who gave off the striking impression of this one; Eliab, Jesse’s oldest.
But that’s not what God thinks when He looks at us. He doesn’t look at a man in the pulpit wearing a three-piece suit and say, “Now there’s a pastor.” He doesn’t look at a person who’s brimming with natural ability and say, “Now there’s somebody who can do great things.” “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
An attraction to “tall, dark, and handsome” is what had gotten Israel stuck with King Saul; a guy who looked the part on the outside, but was immensely insecure on the inside. How many of us can relate to that?
His reign went up like a rocket and came down like a rock. He didn’t have the character underneath that compelling exterior to support the weight of his position. He didn’t have the heart of, say, the youngest son of Jesse; the one who didn’t even get invited to the king’s parade; the kid who was out in the fields, doing the slave-labor job of a shepherd. The least likely. The least expected. The most ordinary. The most forgotten. Yet God said, “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will”(Acts 13:22).
See the difference?
The people you choose as your role models, the people whose lead you follow, the people whose awesome abilities and personalities make you feel so incapable by comparison ….. Maybe not God’s choice, because we are incapable of seeing as He does …
The person you see in your mirror today, who looks so bad to you, so inferior, so unworthy, or perhaps even looks so good to you, so much sharper and more attractive than other people you may know …. Is this God’s view or yours?
What baseline are you using to make those judgments? If you want to align your life with God, stop zeroing in on what you and everybody else looks like, and start focusing instead on the heart ~ what your heart is like, what their heart is like, and how can we help them see God’s view, which is perfect and infallible ….
The Lord picked a shepherd boy to be king, because nobody would’ve seen that coming. And why?? Because “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29), simply so that we won’t boast in what we can do, but only in what God can do, through a heart that’s fully His and committed to Him in all obedience ….
How have you been disillusioned or disappointed by trusting what you saw in someone else’s outward appearance and demeanor? Looks can be deceiving. How much effort do you invest in creating and maintaining your own appearance or reputation, and why do you think it matters so much to you? And we must stop comparing ourselves and judging our inner by the outward. Let us ponder this as we go throughout our day. Think about how God sees every human heart and look on others with love today as we try to look past the outer shell, but rather inward, on their inner heart ….
Let’s pray ~
Father, thank You so much for making clear in Your Word what You are looking for in Your people. And especially for making it something that You can accomplish in me, even with all of my flaws and limitations. Please forgive me Lord for wasting my time trying to impress others, and for putting myself down. Your Word tells me I am Your masterpiece, beautifully created. Forgive me for those times I put people on pedestals, or the scrap heap based mostly on the external image they portray and present to the world. Help me to no longer confuse importance with appearance; whether mine or anyone else’s, but rather to love what You love, which is a heart surrendered to You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.