What Are You Looking At
1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Samuel is the prophet called by God to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king of Israel. When Samuel sees Eliab, Jesse’s eldest son, he thinks to himself that he looks fit to be the king and feels certain that he is to anoint Eliab.
In 1 Samuel 16:7, God reminds Samuel that He sees not as man sees. Our God looks at the heart while we look at the outward appearance and begin to form opinions and draw conclusions.
In my walk with God, this verse has spoken to me in various ways. At times when I begin to feel annoyed at other people’s behavior and conduct, God uses this verse to admonish me that I must not allow bias to form in me based on others’ outward behavior. Other times when I feel somewhat discouraged when I look on the success and achievement of people around me and my heart begins to ache for similar accomplishment, the Lord uses 1 Samuel 16:7 to chasten me and remind me to keep a pure heart and not chase after success for its own sake for it is but a shadow. Yet other times, when friends around me make cutting remarks about other people, the Lord reminds me to use this Scripture to teach these friends we must look beneath the surface.
There may be some people who look on me and think that I am vocal and assertive, but in these past few months, I have been going through a little inner turmoil. I became increasingly hesitant to open up and share my thoughts on matters to others for fear that they might think that I was transgressing the line of leadership or that I was just trying to impress. Because of this fear, I struggled when I had thoughts and ideas which I felt might help add value to the matter at hand. This went on for a few months and this feeling of being torn between to voice out or not to became actually rather tormenting.
Praise God for His Word and His Voice. He begins to remind me that He looks at the heart. He assures me through 1 Samuel 16:7 that what my intent and motive in my heart are what matter most to Him. If I am clear that I am voicing out my opinions with a pure motive of wanting to positively contribute to the matter, so what if others look on at me differently? Little by little, I am beginning to have the freedom to speak what is on my heart for I know I sincerely hope my opinions would shed light on the matter and help move things forward a little. I am beginning to shudder less at the thought of how others may look at me, for I am beginning to consider more and more how God looks at me.
I find it amazing how this same verse from God’s Word can admonish me in one season, correct me in another, and liberate me today.
I want to be a follower of Christ who sees people and things God’s way and who cares about how God looks at me, not how man looks at me.
God wants us to obey His Word, attend church activities, abide by rules that govern our society but He sees through all our outward activities and appearances. He looks directly into our heart and sees our motives. He knows our thoughts and intentions. And what we hold in there in our heart, matters to God most.
In 1 Samuel chapter 16, it is David whom God eventually leads Samuel to anoint as king. When the world looks at young David, they see a shepherd boy. But our God, He sees a king! God says in His Word in Acts 13:20 MSG, “I’ve searched the land and found this David, son of Jesse. He’s a man whose heart beats to my heart, a man who will do what I tell him.”
God is looking at our heart. God sees what no one sees. And He desires to find in you and me a heart that beats to His heart, a heart that does what He tells us. When God finds that heart in us, He would entrust to us nations to reign over.
Let us pray.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding me today not to judge by appearance but rather look at others the way You see them, understanding that they are all the handiwork of Your Hands, made to glorify You. I thank You that while I try to hide some things from other people’s sight, they never are out of Your gaze. Cleanse my heart, O God, for I want my heart to beat like Yours does. Transform me into the likeness of Your Son, my Lord Jesus, so that wherever I am, others see Your love and goodness through me. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”