Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.”
Psalm 55: 16, 17
King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Look not on his (her) appearance or at the height of his (her) stature, for I have rejected him (her). For the Lord sees not as man (or woman) sees; for men (and woman) look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”
I Samuel 16: 7
“The Inside Spills Over to the Outside”
“Beauty without virtue is a flower without perfume.”
What parameters do I use when making an assessment of someone I meet for the first time?
When God looks into my heart, what will He find?
“Make no display of your talents or attainments; for everyone will clearly see, admire, and acknowledge them, so long as you cover them with the beautiful veil of modesty.”
“Spiritual energy brings compassion into the real world. With compassion, we see benevolently our own human condition and the condition of our fellow beings. We drop prejudice. We withhold judgment.”
As we have studied the life of Bathsheba, I’ve had as many responses from all of you as when we studied the life of Rahab the harlot, as she was called in the Bible.
In the case of Bathsheba, it is the description of her outward beauty that has touched so many of you who feel you have been judged by your outward appearance – whether you have been called, “beautiful” or “ugly,” as some of you have written and told me has happened in your life.
Your notes got me to thinking about our study text for today and I thought it would be beneficial to take a look at how God evaluates His children.
After the Israelites had demanded that a “king” rule over them, and their first king was chosen because he was tall and handsome and yet turned out to lack heavenly character traits, you would think that all of the people, including the prophet Samuel, would have thought twice about choosing another monarch based on just his outward appearance.
Not so, for in I Samuel 16: 6, 7, we find that when Samuel saw Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son, he thought for sure this was God’s choice, only to have God tell him:
“Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”
I Samuel 16: 7
The Message Bible
It is the idea of what’s inside each of us, combined with my intense interest in the history of people living in countries around the world that propelled me to begin reading some lengthy historical volumes on countries that are much older than the United States of America. One thing that struck me was how “history repeats itself.” Over and over again, the same problems and challenges rear their heads, just in different cultures or geographic locations.
This idea, that history repeats itself, is something I had no ability to comprehend as a young person. I hadn’t lived long enough, thus I had little history to draw upon.
As an adult, and with the passage of time, I have the ability to realize that even in my own life, history has repeated itself, sometimes for good and sometimes for ill.
Fortunately, instead of feeling like a failure when I repeat behavior which does not meet the desire my heavenly Father has for my life, God has been gracious enough to leave me with a great deal of encouragement in the Bible, especially from the lives of women and men who faced many of the same problems you and I confront every day. Although we live in a different time period than when the Biblical stories took place, the lessons we can learn will spare us a great deal of sorrow and heartache.
This idea certainly applies to the text in our study today. As I already shared, when Saul was chosen as King of Israel, he was fawned over because of his good looks and great height. He stood out. He had a commanding authority about him. From the outside, the choice for him to become king seemed brilliant. At first, his leadership skills, combined with God’s guidance appeared to make him a fit leader. But as time went by, even Samuel saw a difference and he warned Saul when he told him, “When you were small in your own eyes – you were successful.” But a sad thing happened to Saul. It appears success went to his head and soon he thought he was big enough to be the king and priest. His mistaken conclusion was in direct conflict to God’s instruction. What’s more, when advised to rethink his wayward path, Saul defied God and Samuel. What finally spilled out from the inside of Saul was in direct contradiction to what people saw on the outside. And if you think history doesn’t repeat itself, just listen to the news right now where politicians, athletes, stars, clergy, and even regular folk like you and me, try very hard to polish-up our images on the outside and then one day, what’s on the inside pours out and the illusion everybody has come to believe in is destroyed.
As I noted, one might think Samuel would have learned his lesson when what Saul was like on the outside didn’t match what he was on the inside. However, when Samuel was sent by God to anoint a new king, out came Jesse’s eldest son, Eliab, and the Bible says that when Samuel saw Eliab, he said to himself, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him” (I Samuel 16: 6, Amplified Bible). But God interrupted Samuel’s musings with the words: “Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him.” Then our heavenly Father gave Samuel the ground rules for heaven’s choice: “The Lord sees not as humans. Humans judge by the outward appearance. While the Lord looks on the heart.”
God isn’t looking for the prettiest or best dressed. He isn’t looking for the tallest or most handsome. He isn’t looking for the person with an image consultant who cleans up the mess their client creates. No, God looks inside our hearts. Just like He did when He saw that inside a girl in Jericho, who was called Rahab the harlot, was a person with a teachable heart who longed to follow in loving obedience the God of heaven and earth. And God looked into the heart of a Moabite, an outsider who wasn’t even supposed to be allowed to enter the camp of the Israelites. But when God looked into Ruth’s heart, He found a girl who became part of the lineage of David, the son of Jesse.
May we never forget that, thank God, He doesn’t judge us by the measuring stick of worldly standards, but by the cross of heaven’s grace.
“Has God deserted Heaven,
And left it up to you,
To judge if this or that is right,
And what each one should do?
I think He’s still in business,
And knows when to wield the rod,
So when you’re judging others,
Just remember, you’re not – God.”
“Awake, my soul, to joyful days,
and sing Thy great Redeemer’s praise;
He justly claims a song from thee,
His loving kindness, oh how free!
He saw me ruined by the fall,
yet loved me not withstanding all;
He saved me from my lost estate,
His loving kindness, Oh, how great!
When trouble, like a gloomy cloud,
has gathered thick and thundered loud,
He near my soul has always stood,
His loving kindness, Oh, how good!”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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