Tuesday, August 19, 2014
August 18 – God’s view of things
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t be impressed his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. God does not view things the way men do. People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NET)
Why does God bless some people and not others? Is it fair for God to use some people to a greater degree than others? The way some people speak, you would think that God was racist or prejudiced, purposely blessing some people over others because of what they look like or where they are from. But God is not a man to be influenced by emotion and prejudice. He sees everything; what we cannot see because of the limitations of our flesh, He can see, and because of this His plans and ways are far superior to ours... even mysterious. Though His actions may seem wrong, backwards, or uninformed at first, time will show that He had a much greater degree of wisdom and understanding than we could ever imagine having.
Today’s promise says that God does not view things the way men do, and that is such good news! He does not look at outward appearances, but at the heart. This is great for some people, and a bummer for others. For those whose hearts are pure and who want to please God, even though they trip and stumble at times, and though their sincere efforts turn out very wrong every once in a while, God sees their heart, their motives, and gives them credit even though they don’t yet look that great on the outside. One repeated teaching of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is that we should strive for inner beauty, for circumcision of the heart, not outward shows of holiness. And so for those who are not pure of heart and who live for themselves all the while pretending to serve God, this verse us bad news. He knows exactly who they are. Nothing is hidden from His view.
The context of today’s passage is this: God had just rejected Saul as king and had sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse’s house to anoint one of his sons as king. Jesse had eight sons and as soon as the firstborn walked in Samuel’s first thought was “That is the next king!” But God quickly spoke the words of today’s promise to him, reminding him that he was only looking at a handsome face and a strong body, and that he needed to look deeper, and wait for His guidance.
It turned out that David, the youngest of the eight, had not even been called back to the house to be presented to Samuel. He had been left out in the field tending his father’s sheep, while the remaining seven brothers had all been presented to the prophet. They were all handsome and strong, all looked like potential kings, but God rejected them because of their hearts, their spirituality and mindsets. Only when David walked in did God command Samuel to get up and anoint him as king.
We all need to take good care of our bodies — eat well, exercise, take care of our appearance — and develop our talents at our jobs, businesses, and homes. But the most important area of our lives is our innerselves. What we do is not as important as who we are. What we do is not as important as why we do it, what our motives are. Though it may seem that God is unfair at times — I know I’ve had that thought many times — the truth is that we do not have all the facts. If we want God to do more, we need to make sure our hearts and minds are pure, and we have the right motives. If we want to see more from God, we have to give more.