look on his face, or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for I don’t see as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, but Yahweh looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
1 Samuel 16 [5.] He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to Yahweh. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” He sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. When they had come, he looked at Eliab, and said, “Surely Yahweh’s anointed is before him.”
1 Samuel 16 [7.] But Yahweh said to Samuel, “Don’t look on his face, or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for I don’t see as man sees. For man looks at the outward appearance, but Yahweh looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Yahweh has not chosen this one, either.” Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. He said, “Yahweh has not chosen this one, either.” Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. Samuel said to Jesse, “Yahweh has not chosen these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your children here?”
He said, “There remains yet the youngest. Behold, he is keeping the sheep.”
- Rejection Based on External Criteria:
The initial context of this verse involves Samuel observing Jesse's sons, attempting to identify the one whom God had chosen as the future king. Samuel was naturally drawn to Eliab, Jesse's eldest son, likely considering his impressive appearance and stature. However, God corrects Samuel's perspective, asserting that external traits are not the primary factors in His selection.
- God's Unique Perspective:
The verse emphasizes a fundamental difference between human perception and God's perspective. While humans often focus on outward appearances—physical attributes, status, or achievements—God sees beyond the external. God's assessment is not limited to what is visible to the human eye; instead, He peers into the depths of the heart.
- The Significance of the Heart:
The heart, in biblical language, represents the core of one's being—the seat of thoughts, intentions, and character. God's emphasis on the heart underscores the importance of internal qualities such as faith, humility, obedience, and a sincere relationship with Him. It highlights the idea that God is more concerned with the inner qualities that shape a person's character than with external attributes.
Equality Before God: The verse conveys a powerful message of equality before God. Regardless of external differences, all individuals stand on the same ground when it comes to God's evaluation. This challenges societal norms that often prioritize external appearances and reminds believers that God's perspective transcends worldly standards.
Humility and Authenticity: The emphasis on the heart encourages humility and authenticity. It prompts believers to focus on cultivating a heart aligned with God's values rather than relying on external accomplishments or appearances. It underscores the transformative power of an authentic and surrendered heart.
God's Sovereignty: The rejection of Eliab and the subsequent choice of David as king also highlight God's sovereignty in choosing individuals according to His divine plan. It serves as a reminder that God's ways and criteria may not align with human expectations, and His choices are based on a profound understanding of the heart.
New Testament Connections: The principle of God looking at the heart finds resonance in the teachings of Jesus. In Matthew 15:18-20, Jesus emphasizes that defilement comes from within, from the heart, rather than external factors. This echoes the timeless truth presented in 1 Samuel 16:7.
In conclusion, 1 Samuel 16:7 is a foundational verse that challenges believers to align their perspectives with God's and emphasizes the importance of cultivating a heart that reflects God's values. It serves as a timeless reminder that God's evaluation goes beyond external appearances, focusing on the condition of the heart as a key criterion for His favor and selection.
PIB Scriptures are derived from the World English Bible