1 SAMUEL 16:1-12
APPEARANCES can be deceptive. What a person is on the outside does not necessarily reveal what he is on the inside, deep in his heart. Humans tend to judge from outward appearance. Thankfully, Jehovah God looks beyond outward appearance. This is clearly revealed in the words recorded at 1 Samuel 16:1-12.
Picture the scene. Jehovah is about to anoint a new king over the nation of Israel. God says to the prophet Samuel: “I shall send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, because I have provided among his sons a king for myself.” (Verse 1) Jehovah does not give the name but says only that the chosen one will be among the sons of Jesse. As Samuel heads for Bethlehem, he may be wondering, ‘How will I know which one of Jesse’s sons has been chosen by Jehovah?’
Arriving in Bethlehem, Samuel arranges for Jesse and his sons to share a sacrificial meal. When Eliab, the oldest son, enters, Samuel is immediately struck by his appearance. Samuel thinks that Eliab’s stature is by all means kingly and says to himself: “Surely his anointed one is before Jehovah.”—Verse 6.
Jehovah, however, sees things differently. He says to Samuel: “Do not look at his appearance and at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him.” (Verse 7) Jehovah is not impressed by how tall and handsome Eliab is. Jehovah’s all-seeing eyes look past outward appearances to where true beauty can be found.
Jehovah explains to Samuel: “For not the way man sees is the way God sees, because mere man sees what appears to the eyes; but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart is.” (Verse 7) Yes, it is the heart—the inner person, the source of one’s thoughts, attitudes, and feelings—that matters to Jehovah. “The examiner of hearts” rejects Eliab—as well as the next six of Jesse’s sons who come before Samuel.—Proverbs 17:3.
Jesse has one more son, David, the youngest, who “is pasturing the sheep.” (Verse 11) So David is summoned from the fields and comes before Samuel. Then Jehovah tells Samuel: “Get up, anoint him, for this is he!” (Verse 12) Granted, David is “a young man with beautiful eyes and handsome in appearance.” But it is his heart that makes him truly agreeable in God’s eyes.—1 Samuel 13:14.
In a world that puts so much emphasis on external beauty, we can find comfort in knowing that Jehovah God is not swayed by outward appearance. It does not matter to him how tall you are or whether others see you as handsome or pretty. It is what you are inside, in your heart, that matters to Jehovah. Does knowing that move you to want to cultivate the kind of qualities that will make you beautiful in God’s eyes?