by Randy Bushey – The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
If we’re honest, we’d have to admit that we all are concerned about image.
For some that means personal appearance: makeup and hair, clothing, physique.
Others project image and identity through their vocation and careers – the prestige of a cool job, an impressive title, a higher income.
Still others enhance their perceived image by signs of wealth or success: designer labels, nice cars, beautiful homes, vacations to exotic locales, or social media profiles. As Bible teacher Tim Keller observes, “we are encouraged to create a persona through the brands we choose to purchase and the identity we are able to construct for ourselves online.”
And then there’s the matter of one’s sometimes slightly distorted online social media image.
David’s story reminds us – or rather jars us – with a biblical concept so basic, it almost doesn’t need to be stated.
But because we so often forget, it is spelled out in unmistakable, graphically contrasting terms.
The Lord is not impressed with any of these image-builders. He is however, delighted by a humble, God-ward heart.
When the prophet Samuel was tasked by the Lord to anoint a man to replace King Saul, Samuel appears to have been looking for someone who exhibited the impressive physical dimensions of Israel’s first monarch.
Saul [was] an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others (1 Samuel 9:2).
Arriving at the home of Jesse in Bethlehem, Samuel caught sight of Eliab, Jesse’s eldest. His image conveyed striking characteristics and on the visible, physical image alone the prophet concluded, Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD (1 Samuel 16:6).
Samuel, the great prophet of God, was wrong.
Takeaway: Samuel learned that day a lesson that each of us must get into our bloodstream: physical beauty has its place, and is a reminder of the artistic genius of our Creator. Even wealth and success are gifts from God, entrusted to His people to steward for greater purposes.
However, all of the components that go into projecting striking, observable image – physical attractiveness, symbols of wealth and power, human achievement – must be valued less than a heart that beats for God. Loving Him as life’s priority. Pursuing Christ’s Kingdom, and His righteousness. Desiring more than anything to see His image and character built into me.
~ graphic by Sergi Montaner, freeimages.com