Looking on the Heart

February 20, 2018
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."  -1 Samuel 16:7-8
The husband walks into the house like a refugee from a slam-down. He’s had a tough day in which he’s been beaten up, chewed-up, slandered, kicked, and abused. He growls a greeting and limps off to the bedroom. His wife has two options. She can look at the external behavior and get insulted at his growling at her, or she can look inside, and see what is troubling her spouse. Sometimes the situation is reversed. He comes home skipping with the delight of breakthroughs at work, while she is weary from wrestling with kids, bills, housework and the evidences of creeping age. The husband can be an insensitive lout who wonders why she can’t be as enthusiastic as he, or he can look on her heart and try to understand.

It’s a good thing for all of us that God looks on the heart and not the outward appearance. “Look,” as used in our text, means not only to see externally, but to perceive and understand. God knows what is really going on, what is really driving our behaviors. When others see the pout, God sees the pain. Our “High Priest” is “touched with the feeling of all our infirmities.” (Hebrews 4:15 KJV, emphasis added)

This doesn’t excuse bad behaviors, but lets us know we have a Lord Whose forgiveness is based on His understanding of why we did wrong. It also means when things don’t come out like we intended, that He sees and smiles on what we really intended, not the mess others may see. All our relationships would be improved if we reacted, not on the basis of external behaviors, but on the matters of the heart.
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