“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”
1 SAMUEL 16:7
Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-28
As Samuel stood with Jesse and his seven sons in Bethlehem, ready to anoint the next king of Israel but unsure of which son it would be, he was certain that he had found the answer. Eliab, the oldest and the most obvious choice, stood proudly before him. He would make a fine king, thought Samuel; he would be the man to fix the mess made by Saul. But while the thought was still running through his mind, God interrupted it. He told Samuel – and still tells us today – what He thinks about the outer wrapping of a person and what He thinks about the contents inside.
The nation’s first king, Saul, looked the part of a leader in every way: he was a head taller than any of his contemporaries, an impressive man with an influential father. But he was also deeply insecure and lacked the personal integrity, depth of character and devotion to God that was necessary for the task. He had come gift-wrapped as a success, but was, in fact, a failure. So, God set the record straight. He was looking at the heart of a person. To prove it, He chose the eighth son of Jesse; the youngest one, the forgotten one, the uninvited one. He chose him because that young man, David, spent his days tending sheep but also singing to the God he loved. Saul cared too much about man’s opinion and not enough about God’s. David simply delighted in the Lord when no one was watching.
In a world obsessed with achievements, public significance and physical desirability, God has made His own standards clear. Even Jesus, the very Son of God, was evidently unattractive (Isaiah 53:2), looked older than He was (John 8:57) and didn’t even stand out among His disciples to those arresting Him (John 18:4-8). And yet God was pleased with Him in every way because of His reverent submission and obedience. He was a success in God’s eyes and so when Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that he so loved, he reminded them that they were nothing special in themselves but had been chosen by God. It wasn’t an insult; it simply set them free to view themselves fully through the lens of God’s grace and then pursue what really mattered.
God looks for a heart devoted to Him, a heart that loves Him, a life committed to good works. Faithfulness, devotion and love are what catch His eye. Let’s aim at that today.
Author: Shaun Brauteseth - Elder, Oxygen Life Church, Port Elizabeth