I am guilty. I have been known to make personal judgments based on what I see. Tattoos and body piercings can mean one belongs to the rougher crowd and I ought to be on my guard around them and probably just keep my distance. Graduates with honor cords have obviously worked very hard and likely have a greater chance of success in life. They would certainly make good friends or managers or business partners. Watch to see what a person drives – that way you can see if they have what it takes to succeed.
Judging by what one sees has been a problem for a long time now.
God’s chosen people had been saved from Egypt under Moses. Joshua had led them into the Promised Land. Then during the period of the judges (nearly 400 years) various leaders were brought up to save the people because they had slipped away from following God and their surrounding enemies were overtaking them. Then, (in 1st Samuel 8) the people clambered for a king. They wanted to be like the other nations around them – not always the best idea! Samuel tried to convince them they didn’t need a king when they had God on their side, but they wouldn’t listen because they thought they knew better than Samuel and God. So, God allowed a king and Saul was chosen. He had been regarded as, “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites – a head taller than any of the others.” (1 Samuel 9:2). Saul did successfully drive out some of their enemies; but unfortunately, he strayed from the Lord and did not follow God’s direction, but rather what he selfishly wanted from life.
God had given Samuel the job of anointing one who would become the next king of Israel, even while Saul was still reigning. God sent Samuel to the home of Jesse of Bethlehem to find the one that God had chosen.
“When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.’
“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 16:6-7).
Samuel thought the oldest son, Eliab, must be the one God had chosen. He was likely tall, perhaps looked confident, with fair features and maybe even a striking personality. Perhaps he had honor cords and drove a big shiny SUV with all the gadgets. Okay, well that is ridiculous speculation, but you get where we are going.
God had not chosen the oldest son Eliab to be the king, even though from the outside he appeared to be a great choice for a leader. God had a much better indicator of success – look at the heart. And in the youngest son, David, God saw a heart that wanted to please God. So, it didn’t matter that he was young or inexperienced or the smallest of the bunch. If his heart was in the right place God would use him to do great things.
Dear God, help me to see past outward appearances. Help me to see the heart behind the tattoos. Help me to see the hard work and great potential and the heart that could beat for you in the young and inexperienced and the graduate without the honor cords. Help me to not make judgments based on what the world values but help me to see what you see – into the heart. Help my heart be steadfast in following you.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- In what ways have you found yourself judging by outward appearances? Have you ever found yourself proved wrong by a hasty judgment of someone? What is the danger in choosing friends, leaders, or business associates based on what you see on the outside?
- What does God see when He looks into your heart? What does He want to see? How can you work on refining your heart – or all-out heart surgery if need be – to have the heart that pleases God? What will it take to be a man – or woman – after God’s own heart?
- How does the world’s values differ from God’s? How can you remember to look at the heart?