"Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
In Peter De Vries’ story “The Glory of the Hummingbird,” one of the characters declares, “There has been enough of personality; it is time for character.” Indeed, the cult of personality, the preoccupation with good outward appearance and skin-deep beauty, the good-image projection, the greater emphasis on style than on substance – we’ve had enough of these; it is time for upright character, truth, and reality.
People are often misled by what they see. So it was with the prophet Samuel, whom God sent to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as king. Samuel was impressed by the imposing stature of Eliab, the oldest son. But he was not God’s choice, for the “LORD does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). This is to be a warning, as Jesus said to and of the Pharisees: “You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25). A superficial piety is not pleasing to God, for He looks on the heart.
The fact that God examines the heart is also a comfort, for God, who searches our hearts, truly knows us and provides for all our needs. He especially sees the saving faith in Jesus Christ, as well as the love we have toward our Savior and His needy brothers and sisters. He looks on our hearts and sees our needs.
God knows our hearts better than we do. Saint Paul writes that the Holy Spirit knows our needs and intercedes in our behalf. The heavenly Father understands the Spirit’s plea: “He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Romans 8:27).
PRAYER: Lord God, give me a clean heart and help me to follow Jesus’ example so I may love and help my brothers and sisters in need. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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