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...For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samual 16:7
In this particular passage of scripture, Samuel made the mistake of judging Eliab based on his appearance. This was the same mistake Israel had made when it came to the failed King Saul. Saul looked the part of a king, but he didn't have the heart a king of God's people should have.
Unfortunately for all of mankind it is very much a fact that man looks at the outward appearance of things. I think in so many ways it is just our natural inclination. A man (or woman) "appears" to be successful if they are dressed well, drive the right kind of car, have a large bank account, the right friends, fame, an important job, a beautiful home, or whatever the particular measuring stick being used dictates. I think sometimes even among Christians this can be true. Who is it that "appears" to have it all together in the midst of adversity? Who is being used more by the Lord, or appears to have a ministry that is truly being blessed by God? Whose kids are more obedient or respectful? Like I said, it all depends upon the measuring stick begin used. And yet everyone of us knows from experience that none of these things means FOR SURE what kind of a person they really are on the inside. Only God can see inside our hearts and know what's truly hidden there. I do believe however that many times a heart truly devoted to God is easy to see. I'm glad it's not up to me to judge anyone. And even though it's been proven over and over again that the attractive person is much more likely to get the job, the promotion, the mate, or whatever the sought after prize might be, we need only to concern ourselves with pleasing God and with what the Lord see in our hearts.
"The world is full of idolatry's, but I question if any idolatry has been more extensively practiced than the idolatry of the outward appearance." BLAIKE
I have been guilty of this for sure, as I imagine most of us have been at one time or another. I think there has been many times in my life recently where I felt like I didn't measure up very well by the worlds standards. I look around me sometimes and feel like I have let too much of my appearance go, my house isn't as clean as it could be, I've never worked much outside of my own home, and have not done much of anything at all that the world would tell me means that I am successful as a person. And yet, this is NOT the measuring stick that the Lord will use when I stand before Him someday. I need to concern myself ALOT more about that, and remember to do the things He would have me do.
In this verse we are told that God looks not at the outward appearance of man, but in his inner most being of his heart. We need to keep our eyes on the Lord as we are not capable of seeing into the heart of a man. Knowing that our natural inclination is to judge someone or something on it's outward appearance does not mean we need to give into that. We should seek the Lord and seek God's heart and mind when looking at other people. There really is nothing as attractive as a heart that has truly been touched by God...
I think what I am trying to say here can be summed up in this Helen Steiner Rice poem...
We are often discontented and much dissatisfied
That our wish for recognition has not been gratified.
We feel that we've been cheated in beauty, charm and brains
And we think of all our "losses" and forget about our gains.
And dwelling on the things we lack we grow miserable inside
Brooding on our "deficits" that are born of selfish pride.
We begin to harbor hatred and envy fills our heart
That we do not possess the things that make others "seem so smart".
And in our condemnation of the traits that we possess
We magnify our painful plight and sink further in distress.
Oh Lord, forgive our foolishness, our vanity, and pride
As we strive to please the eye of man and not GOD who sees INSIDE.
And little do we realize how contented we would be
If we knew that we were BEAUTIFUL when our hearts are touched by THEE....