Looks Can Be Deceiving

1 Samuel 16:6–7 6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 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 Lordlooks on the heart.” 

When Saul was anointed king, he was an impressive-looking young man. He stood out, standing head and shoulders above most men. Unfortunately, his heart became full of pride and arrogance. He cared much more about what people thought about him than he did about obeying the Lord. Because of disobedience, the Lord determined to remove and replace Saul, the first king of Israel.

The Lord sent the prophet Samuel out to anoint one of the sons of a man named Jesse to replace Saul as the king of Israel. Samuel sees Jesse’s eldest son Eliab and is impressed by his stature. But the Lord directly told Samuel that His selection of the next king will not be according to human standards. God doesn’t humanly evaluate people. God knows what people are like down to their core. Externals do not influence Him. God chose to anoint David, the youngest and most expendable of Jesse’s sons, knowing that he would be a man after God’s own heart.

We can learn important truths from this passage. People can put on impressive performances. Like King Saul, they can play to human perceptions and work people for their selfish ends. The fact that such conduct is ordinary doesn’t make any less sordid.

Conversely, we need to be people of honesty and integrity from the inside out. This is the fruit of the work of God’s grace in us and through us. We are not to play to people, but to live wholly and uprightly to the Lord. We are to own His truth and walk in His light for His glory and not the affirmation of man. 

Child of God, the Lord is at work in you and through you. Others may disregard the truth of God that is important to you while exalting the selfish and sinful achievements of others. Do not be dismayed. The Lord promises never to leave you or forsake you. 

While other people listen to the voices of darkness, remember the promise of Jesus. Because you are one of His sheep, you hear His voice. He knows you, and you follow Him. He gives you eternal life, and you will never perish. No one will snatch you out of His hand. (Cf. John 10:27-28)

May you entrust yourself to God and not fret over the perception of others. Seek the Lord above all else. He will cause everything to fall into place.