Look At The Heart

1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

The Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But 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 people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.


King Saul was the people’s choice. He failed miserably at leading the nation. He came to power because the nation had rejected God’s leadership. God allowed them to choose an earthly king to rule over them. Saul was chosen in part because of his physical appearance. In 1 Samuel 8, we read, “He had a son named Saul, am impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others.” On the outside, Saul was a very impressive figure. God was going to give the people a leader who was physically appealing on the outside, but lacked the courage and the heart on the inside to lead the people well. Saul lacked the internal qualities that he would need to be an effective leader.

Before Saul’s reign was over, God instructed Samuel to find and anoint the next King of Israel. God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to find and anoint the next king. When Samuel arrived, he saw Jesse’s oldest son Eliab. Like Saul, Eliab was an impressive figure. Samuel was ready to anoint him the next king. But God intervened and told 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 I look at the heart.” In Samuel’s mind, he had a vision for what a future king would look like. God was more concerned with the heart and character of the next king. David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons. He was not even included in the line-up for Samuel. He was the baby of the family who was given the menial task of tending the sheep. But God saw something more in David. God knew that David had a heart for Him and a faith that gave him a boldness and courage to face even the fiercest foe.

So often we make value judgments based on outward appearances. Like Samuel, we enter into life with preconceived ideas that cause us to view life in a certain way. Martin Luther King once said, I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” God said, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.” Sounds like there is a lesson in this for us to learn!

Questions to Ponder:

What preconceived ideas do you carry in your mind concerning people of a different race? How do these ideas impact the way you interact with people of a different race? In what ways have you made value judgments about others based on outward appearance? Have others made value judgments about you based on your outward, physical appearance? What do we learn about God from this text?

Prayer Points

  • Ask God to show you ways that you are judging others.
  • Ask God to reveal to you anyone that you are hindering or holding back because of pride or prejudice.
  • Pray that God would give you eyes to see people’s heart rather than just their outward appearances.
  • Thank God for being faithful to you despite your many sins. Receive His forgiveness and walk in the truth of His Word through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Suggested Prayer
God, thank You for loving me just as I am. Thank You for caring and providing for me. Thank You for my salvation. Thank You for equipping and for surrounding me with such amazing family, friends, leaders, pastors and church family at Oak Pointe Church. I am so blessed and thankful for You and Your body. Lord, I do want to say I’m sorry for all the times I have overlooked someone, because I was looking at appearance when You look at the heart. Forgive me Father. Will You help me to see the moment I start judging wrongly Lord? Restore those I have crushed or “pushed down” by oversight, miscommunication or by passivity. Thank You Lord that You see everything. You hear and You will grant justice and mercy to those I have oppressed. Father, for those who have oppressed me over the years and recently in my life, I ask Lord that You bless my persecutors. Grant them eyes to see You and to know Your love that is unfailing and faithful. Draw them close to You and change them and me to look more like You Lord. I ask in Your son, Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.

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