“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 man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’. 1 Samuel 16:7
Who among us has not felt convicted by this verse at some time or another? For me, it is usually after averting my eyes from that homeless man or woman on the street. When shaking my head “no” from inside my car as they panhandle at traffic lights. Sometimes, it’s when I cross the street or take a different direction to keep from passing a person who just doesn’t look right. You see, I have been conned by people posing as homeless and physically threatened by mentally unstable people while walking to the parking garage from work. So, I’m leery but I do tend to go against instinct and let my guard down. I’ll still offer money and a blessing to the men and women holding signs on the street corners. I’ll push aside past experiences and walk by that person on the street.
When reading the verses leading to 1 Sm 16:7, you will discover the context in which the Lord spoke these words to Samuel. Samuel was sent to Jesse to appoint one his sons king. Samuel saw Eliab’s impressive appearance and thought surely he was the anointed one. Thankfully, the Lord guided Samuel. For it is from the lineage of David that Jesus was born.
Like many, I have no problem with guarding myself against individuals who appear unsavory. But how many times have I been pleased by the outward appearance only to be hurt when the true nature, or heart, shows through? Often, we see people for what we want them to be, not for who they actually are. God doesn’t have these limitations. He sees the heart and knows the person’s strengths, weaknesses and intentions. Before rejecting someone God has placed in your life, pray for discernment. Outwardly, he or she may not be what you expected, but his or her heart may be everything you need.