Past Appearances

Past Appearances

Written by Erik Gernand

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. – 1 Samuel 16:7b

The time had come for Samuel to appoint a new king over Israel. Israel’s first king, Saul, a towering man, and a natural born leader, hadn’t worked out. So, God sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s boys.

When Samuel gets to Jesse’s home, they call for the boys, who line up before Samuel. You can imagine Samuel standing there, looking them over for the next Saul. He immediately sees Eliab, the most impressive of the bunch, and thinks to himself, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (v.6).

It’s at this point that the Lord says 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” (v.7).

What a powerful truth to let sink into us today! It’s easy to go through life looking at outward appearances, measuring people up by the way they look, speak, etc… Not only are these things not important to God, but God also doesn’t even look at them!

Samuel goes down the line, looking at the boys from most impressive to least (from a physical standpoint). None of them are who God is looking for. Finally, after the last boy has been seen, Samuel says, “Are these all the sons you have?” (v.11).

“Well,” Jesse says, “there is the youngest.” They send for the youngest, who is the smallest of the bunch, and he turns out to be the one God had in mind all along. The boy David was anointed a king that day, to everyone’s surprise. And, though he had some major failures as a king (and human being), the summary of his life was that he was “a man after God’s own heart.”

You never know what you’ll find if you’re looking at folks with God’s eyes and heart today.

There could be another David before you if you’ll look past the appearances.