“…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7b ESV)
In this narrative, God sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem to anoint the next king of Israel.
Standing in front of Jesse’s sons, Samuel looked on Eliab and thought he (Eliab) would be the one. Samuel was impressed with Eliab because he (Eliab) was a tall and handsome young man, just like Saul, the first king. But, the LORD rejected Eliab just like He rejected Saul who had disobeyed God.
Apparently, there is a disparity between God’s and man’s (that is, Samuel) criteria of a king for Israel. Just like a woman loves diamonds and a man loves cars, humans see the outward visible beauty of a person, such as his height and size. We spend so much to look our best in every social function. We style elaborate hairstyles and wear the most exquisite accessories or fine clothes which call attention to us. Yet, we feel uncomfortable sitting with foreign workers.
Does God judge outward appearance in His divine choice of men? Absolutely not.
By choosing Jesse’s family, it shows that God does not look upon social status, family history, or even wealth in His selection.
God values men and women; Man looks at the appearance, God looks at the heart;
Outward appearances are often deceitful – we may miss the hidden potential. For instance, during job interviews, the interviewee who smiles from ear to ear could be the villain who conceals a false and faithless heart. The silent one could be the greatest employee who embraces loyalty and integrity.
Since God looks at the heart, we must therefore spend more time to build our character and nurture our virtues.
Let this be our prayer that God examines our hearts and minds, and through Bible reading, quiet times with God, fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ, may we grow in Christ.
by Ong Bee Keow