You’re probably familiar with the phrase, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”. For those who aren’t, it means that a person’s outward appearance may not accurately reflect who they really are. So, we shouldn’t make blanket assumptions based only on visual cues. I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of doing this quite often. If someone is well-dress, well-groomed, and wearing glasses, I assume that person is intelligent. If someone is well-muscled and tall, I assume they are into sports. And if someone is unusually attractive, I assume they are popular. Most of us make snap judgments based on the appearance of others. Sometimes we are right and many times we are wrong. Samuel made that mistake when considering who God might anoint as the next king. After king Saul was rejected, God sent the prophet, Samuel, to the house of Jesse. God had in mind one of his sons to be the next king. Then it says in first Samuel, chapter 16, verses 6 and 7:
“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 man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
Saul looked like he would be a great leader. The Bible described him as, “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites - a head taller than any of the others.” He looked impressive. But only a few chapters later God rejected him as king because of his disobedience. David, who God chose to replace Saul, is later described as a man after God’s heart. He didn’t look as impressive as Saul, but as it says in first Samuel, “man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” If we are to reflect the character of God, we should look at the heart as well. It may take us a little longer than it takes God to discern the heart of a person, but the Bible teaches us that we can judge a person by their fruit. We will know where a person’s heart is if we listen to what comes out of their mouth and examine what kind of fruit they are bearing - or what kind of results are born from their actions. So I encourage you not to judge a book by it’s cover. Give everyone a chance to show you what is in their heart. It might surprise you who God may use to do great things.
David is described, in first Samuel, as a ruddy young man with a fine appearance and handsome features. Though these are nice attributes, they aren’t necessarily features one might associate with a great king. But David proved to be a great king in the eyes of his people and in the eyes of God. Why? Because, “the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” How is your heart today? What kind of fruit are you producing? Are you producing any fruit at all? God doesn’t really care if you are impressive to men. What gets God’s attention is your heart. Let us all pursue getting God’s attention like David did. Let us all be people after God’s own heart.