Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thoughts on Learning the Lord’s Way of Looking

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance,
or on the height of his stature;
because I have refused him:
for the Lord seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

It’s a very well-known scripture and it might be hard to engage it because we have heard it often.  However, I want to take another look at it here.

How does this scripture actually help us?

To me it reminds that the Lord sees much more of a person than man sees.  The Lord has the advantage of knowing each of us before we were born and knowing each of us as we progress through life.  We, however, do not.  We know very little even of ourselves!    The Lord has the advantage of knowing our thoughts and feelings, whereas we do not know those things of another person, except as they are revealed honestly through words and actions.

The context of this verse is one of a religious leader choosing a future king even before those qualifications for rule could be discerned by others.  It takes revelation to do this, and we are reminded that priesthood leaders only need to have revealed to them who when extending a call; they don’t need to know how or why.  (This is not to say that the Lord can’t reveal the how or why; He can and He does what He thinks best.)

To me this verse also suggests that we can learn to look on our hearts more in the way the Lord does.  Perhaps if we do, we will be less likely to excuse ourselves in committing sin or procrastinate our repentance.  Maybe we will be more likely to take satisfaction in doing good.  If we were to know ourselves, we might be more likely to humble ourselves without beating ourselves up.  We might be better able to appreciate our talents and strengths without boasting or puffing ourselves up.  We might be more interested in seeking opportunities for personal growth.

This verse also suggests it would be wise to be more slow to take a person’s measure when I meet them, but wait to see how their character is revealed in time.  It might help me be more interested in learning about other people and try to know them as God knows them.

A final note: Samuel’s anointing of David was a great act of faith.  He did not live to see David ascend the throne of Israel, and at the time of Samuel’s death, David was still a fugitive from Saul.   Yet as far as we know, Samuel did not go out and anoint anyone else to be king, just because he did not see David progressing toward kingship.