The LORD Looketh On the Heart

Monday, November 28, 2011

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV).

It is human nature to judge someone on the basis of outward appearance. When the prophet Samuel seeks a king for Israel, the LORD tells him to visit Jesse’s house, for one of Jesse’s sons will succeed King Saul (verse 1). When Samuel sees Jesse’s son Eliab, Samuel says, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before [me]” (verse 6).

Eliab was handsome and well built, so Samuel concludes that he must be God’s choice for Saul’s replacement. God, however, quickly discourages such thinking by speaking today’s Scripture. God is not looking for someone based on physical appearance, but rather on the condition of his or her heart.

The passage proceeds to tell us that Jesse’s remaining sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel deduces, “The LORD hath not chosen these” (verse 10). “And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children?” Verse 11 continues, “And he [Jesse] said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep.” Samuel instructs Jesse to send for that youngest son.

Young David, “ruddy and withal a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to,” appears before Samuel, “And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he” (verse 12). God did not choose David based on physical appearance, although he was handsome and “ruddy” (healthy, reddish glow to the skin). Young David was least esteemed in man’s eyes: he was the youngest, and the lowly shepherd!

So, why did God choose David? David, although a sinful man, was submissive to God’s will. Unlike Saul, David had a heart of faith, and was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14; Psalm 89:20; Acts 7:46; Acts 13:22). God does not see your outward appearance; He focuses on your heart, whether it has faith in Him. God can see what no one else can—the real you.