Beauty is Much More Than Skin Deep

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, NIV.

You would have thought that Samuel might have learned a better head-hunting technique after the debacle with Saul. Israel’s first king had some sterling qualities but his appearance and strength were what really attracted the people to him. When the silver began to tarnish in the later years of his reign, they all realized their mistake.

But here is Samuel choosing a new king, but judging among Jesse’s sons as though he were conducting the male version of Miss Universe. God had sent him on a mission. Saul’s character defects were beginning to show and among Jesse’s sons was the king God wanted to place over his people. Jesse lined them all up from the oldest to the second youngest. Somehow it didn’t occur to anyone to call in the youngest, David, from his duties in the fields. I suppose no one thought that a young boy would be the man God wanted to make king.

As Samuel goes down the line inspecting the stalwart sons of Jesse, God speaks to him, reminding him that God has different standards by which to make his judgments. God is more concerned with spiritual qualities than he is with any other one factor, or combination of factors.

We spend a lot of time and money improving the outside. We judge a lot by what we can see. We are limited by what our senses tell us. We can’t see the heart as God sees it. But if we listen to God’s promptings we might hear his voice and look for what isn’t obvious, and ask for what doesn’t seem possible.

When David arrived from the fields, Samuel discovered that he was a handsome lad.  In his case, his youth had been held against him. But God knew his heart. God also knew that David would grow into the job of being king.

Our church is currently working on improving its library. In the next while someone will be culling the books, discarding those that no one has been paying attention to. Many of those are books with old covers. Most of the library’s clientele don’t bother with those books because they are judging them by those covers. But inside those old covers are treasures from the masters that are worth more than much of the modern material published today.

God judges what’s behind the cover. That’s an excellent practice to imitate. Listen to his prompting. Consider that what you might be seeing might not honesty reflect the value of what you can’t see. You never know what treasures in people, and books, you might discover.


  1. Oh yes. It's wonderful that God gives us that insight if we only ask. Thanks, Lynda.


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