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"Appearances Can Be Deceiving" - Crosswalk the Devotional - Aug. 19, 2010

  • 2010 Aug 19



August 19, 2010

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 …

Hmmm.  "Only" this and "only" that. There's so much depth of meaning in the word "only," isn't there? As a child, 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 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. And 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.

How can you not be encouraged after hearing that?  If God can use "only a boy named David" to carry out his plan, can he not use you and me as well? Only a lonely girl named "Amy" or only a bed-ridden grandfather named "Ralph" or only a flunked-out college student named "Ted"? 

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? 

"But I don't have enough schooling," you might think. Or, "I'm not eloquent enough." Or "I don't have enough money." Or "I'm not gifted ." And so forth.

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. Who does God want you to see? What purposes does he have for you? And 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 all to be. 

Intersecting Faith & Life:  About a year ago, I had the opportunity to hear an amazing young man speak.  He was born without limbs, but hasn't let that slow him down as he travels worldwide sharing the Gospel through his ministry. I encourage you to learn more about his story at Be inspired and remember that no matter how the world sees you or me or 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

Luke 1:37Philippians 4:13



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