Samuel had been sent by God to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be king over Israel in place of Saul. However, the prophet was in danger of doing what we so often do – judging a man by how he looked. Seeing the first son who came before him he was sure that he was the chosen one. Eliab must have been a good-looking man because God had to speak into Samuel’s ear and say, ‘Don’t be impressed by his appearance or his height’. Eliab looked suitable, but he was not the one.
Our society is obsessed with physical appearance. The commercials which bombard us testify to this. People are constantly being encouraged to improve their appearance with beauty treatments, diet plans, fitness programmes, dental implants, and cosmetic surgery. So many things are on offer. The emphasis is always on making yourself more attractive on the outside.
Sadly, most young people today judge their own worth and that of their friends on the basis of appearance. Christians should be different, of course, but all of us are influenced by ‘good looks’. We need to hear God’s word to Samuel: ‘the Lord looks on the heart’.
Someone has said: ‘The kind of “looks” that God considers important are the inner beauty of the heart and the look of kindness, goodness, integrity, and holiness’.
When you meet a handsome man or a beautiful woman, don’t be impressed by their attractiveness. Ask yourself instead, ‘What does God see in this person’s heart?’ What God sees is what a person really is. The heart involves the emotions, the will, the mind, and the desires. Is this person caring or selfish; obedient to God or rebellious; are his thoughts pure or polluted; does he desire spiritual or worldly things?
The world is taken up with what people look like on the outside. God focuses on what people are on the inside.