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THE LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART

Daily Devotional 1 Samuel 16:1–13


In 2017, Jayson D. Bradey wrote an article titled “10 Qualities Church Members Expect in a Pastor.” Here’s his list: 1) Scriptural understanding; 2) An ability to listen; 3) Competence; 4) Teaching ability; 5) Good character; 6) Vision; 7) An ability to lead a team; 8) Disciple-building focus; 9) Self- awareness; and 10) Drive. I think it’s important that “good character” made the list. Our human admiration can be so drawn to great gifting and charismatic personality that we overlook deeper matters of holiness, humility, and devotion.


People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

1 SAMUEL 16:7


In 1 Samuel 16, we find two more specific callings of God, His call of the prophet Samuel and of the young shepherd David, who would be king. Samuel was still grieving over Saul’s disobedience when God instructed him to go to the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite and anoint a new king from among his sons. God was doing a new work.


Samuel’s initial response was fear. “If Saul hears about it, he will kill me” (v. 2). Notice that God didn’t rebuke Samuel for wavering. Instead, He provided more detailed instructions about how to approach the family—with a sacrifice. Then, Samuel obeyed.


At Jesse’s home, Eliab was the oldest and the first son to appear. Impressed by his physical appearance Samuel felt certain that he was God’s choice. But God rejected Eliab and explained, “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (v. 7).

One by one, Jesse’s other sons came to Samuel, and the Lord rejected each one. Then Samuel asked: “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep” (v. 11). Clearly, even David’s dad didn’t expect him to be chosen. But when David came in, the Lord told Samuel, “Rise and anoint him, this is the one.”


>> God alone is the judge of whom He wants to do His will. And His criteria often do not match our own. Ask God to help you see people as He sees them.


Pray with Us


We tend to allow our own irritability or even insecurity to influence our attitudes toward certain people, regarding them with disdain, jealousy, or indifference. Please convict us, forgive us, and give us Your heart for others.

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