May 17

1 Samuel 16:7 7But 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 man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

The LORD sent Samuel to anoint a new king from the house of Jesse. When the oldest was presented, a strong, tall warrior, Samuel thought surely this was the man. The Lord responded with our verse for today. From these ancient roots we have the expression, "Don't judge a book by its cover." We are so governed by what our senses tell us. Man makes associations with things he has been through in the past. We all have prejudices of one kind or another, but God sees straight into the heart.

The sharpest looking man among us with the warmest smile and most pleasant mannerisms may be the vilest person we ever met. The street person in dirty clothes with not a penny to his name may have a heart totally given to God. That is why the LORD tells us not to judge by outward appearances. Jesus told us to judge by the fruit produced from the life (Matthew 7:20).

If we must make a quick decision without a chance to see the fruit of a life, then we must listen to the One who sees the heart. Only the LORD can look in and give us direction. Man is quick to make judgment calls about another's motivations or heart attitudes. That is God's area of expertise, not man's. I have seen the most discerning make the worst judgment calls at times. All men are fallible, but God sees the heart. He sees ours too. We don't fool God with our outward appearance. We would be better off to be the poor dirty fellow in the street with a heart after God than Mr. Slick that has everyone but God fooled.

Consider: Do I make judgments based on how a person appears? What does a con-artist look like?