People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. —1 Samuel 16:7b
Click Here to Read Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
As I exited the supermarket, I saw an older lady in the parking lot near her car with its hood up. “It just won’t start,” she said, visibly distressed. She explained that she lived some 30 miles outside the city and didn’t know anyone she could contact. I made a phone call and reassured her I’d be back shortly: the mechanic was willing to come, but he needed a ride. He and I returned promptly but found that a gentleman had already helped start the car. The lady, however, still seemed uneasy—somewhat jumpy—even as I assured her there was no charge. I started to feel offended, believing she was distrustful of my motives because of my skin color. But then I realized that, in assessing me and the mechanic, she had no other information than what her eyes and instincts were telling her.
The prophet Samuel was in a similar situation when the Lord sent him to anoint one of Jessie’s sons to replace Saul as king. When Samuel saw the first son, he reacted as you and I most likely would—impressed with Eliab’s physical stature. “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord,” Samuel said to himself (1 Samuel 16: 6). But the Lord said to him, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (v. 7). When David was ultimately chosen, it wasn’t because of his good looks (though he was good looking); it was because even as a teenager, he had a good heart.
Almost every day we’re tempted to judge others by outward signs: the color of their skin, the clothes they wear, the church they attend, the neighborhood they live in. We even judge people by their grammar. Sometimes we find ourselves on the receiving end of prejudice, or we may be the ones projecting it. The good news is, as children of God we’ve inherited His eyes that see beyond outer appearance. May we grow stronger each day in using them in all our encounters.
Reflection: When have you experienced or committed prejudice? What would you do differently today?
Lord Jesus, help me to follow your example of compassion for others, even those who wrong or misjudge me. Forgive me for the times when I have wronged or misjudged others.
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