Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Looking at the Heart

"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart'." (1 Samuel 16:7)

This is an often quoted and spoken of verse. At least the part about God looking at the heart rather than the outward appearances is quoted.

We often use this verse when we talk about not basing our assessments of a person's character based on how they look when we first meet them. We use it to remind ourselves of the importance of not judging people based on appearances.

But, when I look at the context of this verse, I wonder if there's more to it than that. Samuel had been sent to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the next king of Israel. The words in 1 Samuel 16:7 are God's response to Samuel when he sees the oldest son and thinks he is the person to be the next king based on his appearance. God makes it clear that He is using very different criteria to choose the next king than Samuel was using.

I wonder if this verse also speaks to our judging of people based on what we see when they are asked to do something by God. Or maybe if we use it to judge ourselves when God asks us to do something.

When God looks at us, He sees His child and He sees us as people capable of doing what He asks us to when we are depending on Him.

We look at ourselves or others and see all the reasons why we can't or shouldn't do it. We judge ourselves based on our outward appearance. Or we judge others as being able to do it based on their appearances.

But, we would do well to remember that God isn't looking at our outward appearance when He asks us to do something. He is looking at our heart, and if we have a heart that is soft and available for Him, then He sees us as the one to do what He is asking us to do.

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