1 Samuel 16:1-13 (KJV)

1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go , I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. 2 And Samuel said , How can I go ? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said , Take an heifer with thee, and say , I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. 3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do : and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee. 4 And Samuel did that which the LORD spake , and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming , and said , Comest thou peaceably? 5 And he said , Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. 6 And it came to pass, when they were come , that he looked on Eliab, and said , Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him. 7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth ; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said , Neither hath the LORD chosen this. 9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by . And he said , Neither hath the LORD chosen this. 10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The LORD hath not chosen these. 11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said , There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither. 12 And he sent , and brought him in . Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said , Arise , anoint him: for this is he. 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up , and went to Ramah.   

1 Chronicles 28:9 (KJV)

9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.   

DEVOTION – Pramila Barataki (Uttar Pradesh, India)

When I went to the store, I requested a clean-looking gas cylinder for our home stove.  The manager obliged, and I was happy to receive a bright red cylinder that looked almost new.  When I connected it to the gas stove at home, a hissing sound warned me that gas might be leaking.  The smell of gas confirmed my fear.  I went back to the store to exchange the cylinder for another one.  This time I did not complain about the look of the cylinder.  I got an old rusty cylinder, did it did not leak and I was satisfied.

Often we place a high value on outward appearance, which does not necessarily reflect the inner state of an item or a person.  Saul was a handsome person; but after he was made king of Israel, his heart turned away from God’s commandments.  Later, the spirit of God departed from him.  God told Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesus as the next king of Israel.  When he saw Eliab, Samuel thought he was the one God had chosen; but the Lord said that God looks not on outward appearance but on the heart.  As a result, seven of Jesse’s sons passed before Samuel and none was chosen.  Finally, David was anointed king of Israel.  It wasn’t David’s appearance that caused God to choose him; he was a man after God’s own heart. (See Acts 13:22.)

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God values the faithfulness of our hearts.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us see as you see, looking not on outward appearance but on the heart.  Amen.