Most of us are familiar with the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
In other words, what we see may not accurately represent the content inside. The same could be said for 1 Samuel 15 & 16.
The time has come for Samuel to go to the house of Jesse, as the Lord told him, and anoint Israel’s next king. Samuel see’s Eliab, and based on what Samuel sees, he thinks, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord” (1 Samuel 16:6).
Look at verse 7. The Lord says to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.”
Wow. But why? Eliab looked kingly enough.
God continues talking. He says, “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).”
Samuel goes on to anoint Jesse’s youngest son, David. David was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but is referred to as “a man after God’s own heart” (See 1 Samuel 13 & Acts 13).
For most of us, judging character based on outward appearance comes naturally. We tend to create a list of qualities we admire in our own lives which then dictates what we perceive to be true about a person.
At times, our inability to see one’s heart can impede our ability to extend grace. Thankfully, God is not like that. He sees our value because of who we are in Him, all imperfections aside.