Transition of power is probably on many people’s minds given the current state of our nation, so it’s fitting that our passage today sees the transition of the king of Israel pass from Saul to David. The reason that Saul had lost his position of power was not because of an election, but because of a disobedient heart. In our passage yesterday, we saw in verse 11: “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” To choose a new king, God sent Samuel to the sons of Jesse. Jesse showed Samuel seven of his sons, who in his mind, were good candidates to be king. But we see here something that is so important to understand about the character of God and what he values. Read this again:
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
The contrast of David and Saul is obvious; Saul was one who was physically dominating and handsome; David was of much smaller stature. Even compared to his brothers, David did not stand out as one who would be an obvious choice to lead.
What does this mean for us today? Two things:
- Human Perspective
The way people make judgments, both about other people and about themselves, is to judge on the outward appearance. This goes beyond physical appearance, and bleeds into how people act and carry themselves. Think about it for yourself: how many times have you looked at another person and not been jealous about their walk with Jesus, but about how their life appears to look on the outside? Maybe they have a better job, a nicer house, cooler car, more attractive spouse, better performing kids, the list can go on and on. How many times have you looked at another persons situation and been fooled into thinking, “if only I could have what that person has, I would be satisfied.” When we look at the outward appearance of man, we are not taking on the perspective that God has; instead, we are laying a trap of disappointment for ourselves that will never be truly satisfied.
2. God’s Perspective
Instead of judging by the outward appearance, God looks at the heart. This means that God cares much more about the inward than the outward. God cares about what motivates you and what you delight in. It is only when we pursue God fully, are motivated by God’s glory instead of our own, and find our delight and joy in Christ, that it begins to make sense that often what we envy about others will never truly satisfy us. It is not through a better job, a nicer house, cooler car, more attractive spouse, or better performing kids that we will find joy, because these are all created things, and we were created to worship and find fulfillment in the Creator not creation.
By: Graham Withers