JUDGING BY APPEARANCES...
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king” (1 Samuel 16:1).
Samuel went to Bethlehem to sacrifice and worship. He invited Jesse and his sons to join him at the sacrifice. Samuel saw Jesse’s son, Eliab, and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed stands here before the LORD” (1 Samuel 16:6). But God said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
So the other sons of Jesse came and stood before Samuel; Abinadab, Shammah, and four more! None of these seven sons of Jesse was chosen to be king. Samuel knew that God hadn’t chosen any of them. So he asked Jesse if he had any more sons. Jesse answered, “Yes, the youngest; but he is tending the sheep” (1 Samuel 16:11). In other words, David occupied the lowest position among Jesse’s sons. He was the shepherd. He was the dirty, stinky one. Surely the Lord would not choose him! But when David arrived the Lord said to Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one” (1 Samuel 16:12).
It seems that nobody would have chosen David. He had seven older brothers, some of whom really looked the part of a king. But man looks at the outward appearance, the LORD looks at the heart! We see that more than once in this passage. The Lord tells Samuel to quit the mourning for Saul. Yes, Saul was tall and handsome and powerful and charismatic. But that is all outside stuff. His heart was not with God! David was the least of his brothers. But that was all outside stuff too. His heart was a heart after God’s own!
The church has been deceived far too many times by judging according to appearance. People who dress well and come across as polished and fluent and smart and successful, are given positions of leadership and influence. People who are always in attendance at worship are generally considered to be faithful Christians. Those who give generously are thought of as committed disciples of Christ. While those who are poor or less educated or not very well-spoken are not considered good enough for leadership roles. But all this is outside stuff! We must quit looking at the outside and seek to see the heart!
Aren’t you glad that God does not judge by appearances? Aren’t you glad that he is not fooled by how things look on the outside? I am! But at the same time I realize that what this means is that I need to make sure my heart really is where it ought to be. Oh! That God would give me the heart of David! The heart that is after God’s own heart!