April 14, 2023

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:

We don’t like to admit it, but we all make little judgments constantly throughout the day. 

We evaluate other people,  sometimes only after a quick glance or a brief conversation. 

Several factors come into play: 

• Does someone seem wealthy or poor? 

• Does a person have a lot of possessions? 

• Is he or she attractive? 

 • Popular? 

 • Powerful? 

These are some of the questions we ask when deciding who we want to get to know and who we want to be around.

I’m writing this right after the Academy Awards. Hundreds of celebrities walk the red carpet, displaying beauty, wealth, and success. Even if you don’t care about movies, it can be easy to think these people have it all together. They’ve obviously got everything, right? What more could someone want in life?

Well, if we truly believe that, we’re way off base. In fact, we couldn’t be more wrong.

You see, with God, it’s very different. 

God looks at the inner person. He looks at the heart. 

Today’s verse comes from the story of the prophet Samuel. God has chosen Samuel to select the next king of Israel. Unfortunately, Israel’s first king, Saul, was a dud. He looked kingly, but the inner person was lacking. 

And as Samuel looks for the second king, he is led to the house of Jesse. Jesse has many sons, and Samuel begins by looking at the oldest, strongest son. But God says to him, “Samuel, Samuel, this is not the one. I know we all tend to look at man by outward trappings, but I look at the heart, the inner man.”  In the Hebrew language, the heart represents the inner person, it is our intellect, our emotions, our passions, our priorities,  and the desire of our will. Our hearts are the essence of who we are. 

Samuel continues to look at seven of Jesse’s sons. Thankfully,  his eyes finally landed on the youngest and smallest son, David, who wasn’t even invited to the party…he was taking care of sheep. So Samuel listened to God and made the wisest choice by choosing David, who would not only become arguably the greatest king in Israel’s history but “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).

This story gives us a few things to think about. First, what criteria do you use when you evaluate those around you? Do you only befriend those who are popular? Do you only stop to talk with those who are attractive or wealthy? Or do you look deeper? Do you value in others what God values?

And second, how is your heart today? Do you pray for wealth and power? Or do you pray that your character would display the features that are important to God? God is far more concerned about the inner man than the outward appearances or trappings of power, money, success, and all the ways man makes value judgments about others.  God looks at the inner person. 

One of the ways we display Jesus to a lost world is to show that we value what God values.

Written by Bryant Wright, Founder