Monday, November 9, 2009
The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
You may recall the story. Samuel was looking among Jesse’s family for a new king of Israel which the Lord had told him to anoint to replace King Saul. Jesse’s finest, strapping sons looked the part to Samuel, but it was David, a strip of an adolescent that God chose. Perhaps his “ruddy” complexion hid his acne; probably not. Nothing like fresh air and sheep smell to clear it up! Either way, God was looking for a suitable heart, not smooth skin.
All I can say after reading today’s text is: thank goodness. If God was looking for stature, physique or pock free skin, I’d never have made it into his call list. The only wanted list I ever made was the local constabulary traffic division on a regular basis, but, glad to say, it never became a permanent relationship. The only other recourse to desirability was deep pockets, and mine were rarely deeper than David’s would have been. Sheep minding was the lowest rung of the ladder.
All I had left was my heart, and Ann eagerly seized that. Still not sure why she did then, or even less likely, why she still hangs on to it! Especially after nearly sixty years since we first met, she knows in detail what is wrong with it. I guess that’s the mystery of love, it perseveres beyond the defects of the heart, even in human relationships.
What was it that God saw in David’s heart? Certainly not sinlessness, as David’s subsequent biography reveals. If that was God’s pre-requisite for David or me, we would have joined David’s other brothers. For David, it must have been the real intent of the heart, not his later actions. 1 Samuel 13:14 records that the Lord “sought out a man after his own heart,” and that was David.
God was attracted to David because, despite the impurity of his heart on occasions, David thought, cared about and loved those things that were close to God’s heart. The record shows that David’s attitude always led to genuine remorse following failure. The need to spruce up our appearance to be acceptable to others and the rueful awareness of the frailty of our hearts, must make this story the consolation and hope for us all in our desire to please God.