But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7, ESV
As Samuel was called by God to anoint a new king to succeed Saul, he is called to Bethlehem to meet Jesse and his sons. Upon seeing the firstborn son of Jesse, his eyes delighted at his stature and looks, but these words of God confirmed what we should know. God doesn’t look at the outside, but the inside of a person. We can often be delighted by how things appear. Worship isn’t about what is worn by those leading or those attending, nor is it about the type of music that is played, but about the heart of what is proclaimed and how the people are engaged in worship life together. It is about the centrality of the Word of God and the proclamation of the Law and the Gospel in which people are made aware of their sin and their need for Jesus as well as the saving grace given to all who believe in our Lord. The message is as old as time but rings fresh and new in the heart of the hearer that seeks relief. Saul was a delight to the eyes of the people and looked like what a king should be to the people as he stood above all others, but when put in place, the power went to his head, and his heart was not near to God. In Samuel’s visit to Jesse, he anointed the youngest of all Jesse’s sons, and the path to promise was continued as we follow the line to Joseph and the young virgin, his betrothed Mary, who brings to us the hope and promise fulfilled in Jesus. In David, we find a man after God’s own heart and the one who united the Kingdom of Israel, establishing the promise and carrying on the hope. David was by no means a perfect man, but he was called and chosen. We, too, are called and, for those who believe, are chosen. Not because of how we may look from the outside and to the world, but because of what God has written upon our hearts.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.