But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
When King Saul of Israel failed to follow God’s commands as given through the prophet Samuel, God rejected him.
Later, God ordered Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint a new King from the house of Jesse.
When Samuel saw Eliab, he concluded that Jesse’s eldest was the obvious choice. God saw things differently. Seven of Jesse’s sons were presented, but none met God’s qualifications.
Finally, the youngest son, a shepherd boy, was brought to Samuel, which brings us to our focus text in 1 Samuel 16. Here we learn how God sees us “… the Lord looks at the heart.”
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at.” People focus on physical appearance. God sees the heart.
There’s no telling how much money is spent annually on beauty products and reconstructive surgery. TV ads that market miracle products for self-improvement run 24/7. If we’re willing to fork over the cash, we can cure belly bloat, sagging skin, frizzy hair, and toenail fungus. Why we can even purchase exercise programs and equipment that will make us look like Hollywood models.
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to look our best. And it’s especially important to take care of our physical health.
But with all this emphasis on physical appearance, we often miss what makes us truly beautiful, the part God sees, our hearts.
We’re willing to spend money we don’t have for products to improve our exterior appearance. We endure vigorous workout programs and deny ourselves the food we love for the sake of a better body. But how much effort do we give to the part of ourselves that God looks at?
We put so much emphasis on physical appearance it can be the subject of praise or ridicule.
Do you remember Bible toting Esther from the old Sanford and Son TV show? The running gag was that Esther had not been blessed by good looks, and Fred frequently joked about it. Yes, I laughed, like just about everybody else. But making fun of a person’s appearance isn’t really funny, especially to the one being ridiculed.
Even when David was presented to Samuel, his human observers were struck with the boy’s glowing health and fine appearance and handsome features. We’re not told that his physical appearance was unimportant, just that it wasn’t God’s criteria for judging people.
Our focus text doesn’t mean that physical appearance isn’t important. But it reveals that our inner beauty is worthy of more attention than we generally give it.
Psalm 51:10 is one of my favorite Bible verses. “Create in me a pure (clean) heart, O God…” This scripture acknowledges the need for God to shape our inner being. We need His help to develop a heart that is pleasing and acceptable to Him. Pure thoughts, righteous character, with godly intentions.
The heart that God looks upon favorably is willing, submissive, and teachable. He creates inner beauty as we surrender to His instruction through His word and yield to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
We talk. He listens. He talks. We listen. And then we act upon what we learn.
I didn’t make it to my 50th High School reunion. But if I had, I’m sure I would have undergone a self-improvement project to present myself in the best physical condition possible for my old classmates. We fix ourselves up to make a good impression on others. All the more, we should fix ourselves up for our Lord, with hearts and minds devoted to pleasing Him.
For more on this topic, check out this article: How to Learn God’s Will for Your Life
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.