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"Appearances Can Be Deceiving" - July 26, 2011

  • 2011 Jul 26


July 26, 2011

Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Laura MacCorkle, Senior Editor

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. 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, NIV

Leave it to God to pick the guy no one else would have picked to become Israel’s greatest earthly king: David. 

When I think of how unlikely it is that a shepherd boy became a king, I am reminded of the song I used to sing in Sunday School as a child, “Only a Boy Named David” . . .

Only a boy named David
Only a little sling
Only a boy named David
But he could pray and sing

Only a boy named David
Only a rippling brook
Only a boy named David
But five little stones he took

And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round
And one little stone went in the sling
And the sling went round and round

And round and round
And round and round
And round and round and round

And one little prayer went up to God
And the giant came tumbling down

“Only” this and “only” that. There’s so much depth of meaning in the word “only,” isn’t there? At the time, I don’t know if I really grasped the concept of God’s powerful hand at work in and through the life of such an unlikely hero, but I sure do now.

David was small in stature, young and inexperienced when the Lord instructed Samuel to anoint him as the chosen one who would replace Saul as king.

In Samuel 16, the Lord had told Samuel to find Jesse because he had chosen one of his sons to be king. As probably most of us would do, Samuel first gravitated toward who looked best suited for the part: the oldest and taller child, Eliab. 

“Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD,” Samuel thought.

Nope. Not quite. 

In verse 7, we see how the Lord showed Samuel that what he was looking for was not in someone’s appearance or in anything that man can see. 

“Do not consider his appearance or his height . . . Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

So Samuel considered another son. And then another. Yet the parade wasn’t over until seven of Jesse’s sons had been seen by Samuel. 

“Are these all the sons you have?” he asked Jesse. “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied, “but he is tending sheep.” “Send for him,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down until he arrives.”

He was “only a boy named David.” But Samuel heeded the Lord’s command (“Rise and anoint him; he is the one”), and David was filled with the Spirit of the Lord and his life—and history—was changed forever.

Only a boy named David. How can you not be encouraged after reading these verses?  If God can use “only a boy named David” to carry out his plan, can he not use you and me as well?

Perhaps you are the one who is limiting yourself and all that God wants to do through you. Have you ever thought about it in that way? 

Stop looking at yourself the way the world sees you—the way the world wrongly places importance on what is temporal and fleeting—and start looking at yourself through the eyes of faith. What does God want you to see? What purposes does he have for you? How is he equipping you to serve him in mighty ways right now? 

Yes, appearances can be deceiving. But thankfully our God sees underneath to the wonderful creations he has made us to be.

Intersecting Faith & Life:

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Nick Vujicic speak. He was born without limbs, but hasn’t let that slow him down as he travels worldwide sharing the Gospel through his ministry, Life without Limbs. I encourage you to learn more about his story at Be inspired and remember that no matter how the world tries to label our “limitations,” God can see our true potential and can use any and all of us for his Kingdom.

Further Reading:

Luke 1:37

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Philippians 4:13