Jessica Albritton, Children and Family Connections Minister, LHBC
1 Samuel 16:4-7
Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Over the past few weeks I have been looking at houses. House shopping is a funny thing, there are several times I have viewed a house from the outside and think, “it’s perfect!” but upon entering the front door “perfect” is quickly forgotten. The layout is all mixed up, floors are messed up, the kitchen is outdated, and though there is enough square footage to fill an entire city block there is only one bathroom that’s about 6 square foot in area. Then on the other hand, there are some houses that look an absolute mess from the outside but are pleasantly surprising once you get in the door! Yeah the yard might be a mess and it’s in serious need of a good pressure washing and fresh coat of paint but the inside is everything you could ever want in a house!
I was reminded of this the other day when reading the story of the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 16. The role of a prophet in the Old Testament was a tough gig. These men of God had the incredible responsibility of making the Word of God known. This often involved calling people back to obedience, denouncing injustice, idolatry, and empty rituals, as well as anointing priests and kings. In chapter sixteen we see the prophet commanded to search out the next king and anoint him. Years before Samuel had anointed Saul as the first king of Israel but later, because of his disobedience, Saul was rejected by the Lord. The Lord spoke to the prophet and asked him, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” So Samuel went out to meet Jesse and his 9 sons. When the prophet got there and saw the sons of Jesse, he was hopeful. From the looks of the sons Samuel perceived them as all viable options for the next king. This should have been a huge red flag being that the prophet anointed Saul based on his outward appearance, yet Saul turned out to be a real disappointment. But this time the Lord stops Samuel from anointing based on the appearance. In verse 7 the Lord speaks to Samuel and tells him, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
I have thought a lot about this in the past few weeks of looking at houses. Friend, heaven doesn’t know you as the fellow with the nice suit, the woman with the big house, or the kid with the new bike. Heaven knows your heart. The Lord isn’t looking at things man looks at, so why do we place so much value on it? Today, let’s stop working so hard on the outward appearances and instead keep our focus on the heart.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Heavenly Father, thank You for not looking at the outward appearance! Lord, thank You for looking at the heart! Fix my eyes on You and tune my heart to You! Lord, help me not to find my identity in what I can do in my own strength to make myself look good on the outside, but instead help me to find my identity in You alone! In Jesus name, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly!