Summary: God’s criterion for choosing His servants is far different from man’s in that man tends to look only at the cover of a man, while God looks at the core of a man.

Text: I Sam.16: 1-5, 13a

Intro: If you were going to choose someone to do an important job, what would be your criteria? Would they have to have the finest educational background, be a picture of vigor and health, and exude charisma, or would they simply have to be able to do the job, and possess character and integrity to perform that job honestly?

Certainly, choosing someone for an important position is a serious matter. And because it is such, it’s only natural that we should want them to be as qualified as possible. That’s only logical. Of course, at the same time, we must be careful not to go overboard on qualifications. The main thing is getting the job done right, and getting it done with integrity. At least that’s supposed to be the point.

However, though most people want the job done right, and with integrity, sometimes they want more than that. Sometimes people want someone to not only do a job, but to look the part as well. In other words, they want qualifications plus attractiveness.

Some years ago a female newscaster sued her former employer for dismissing her because she didn’t meet their expectations of physical attractiveness. Her employer had come to believe that a more attractive woman would boost their ratings. As I recall, the lady won the lawsuit. But this kind of situation in the media really shouldn’t surprise us, since everything in that field seems to be about appearances.

The fact is man’s criterion for making a choice about someone is quite different from God’s. God has a whole different set of guidelines for making His choice. While man tends to make decisions based on the outward and the obvious, God always looks deeper. Ones talents, good looks, or high I.Q does not impress God. His choice is possessed of more substance than that. God’s choice is based on what a person is, not how they appear.

This is especially evident in the life of David. God sent His prophet Samuel, to anoint a new king over Israel. However, God’s choice was a surprise to all involved.

Let’s look into God’s Word today and see if we fit God’s qualifications for service.

Theme: God’s choice is:


A. God’s Choice Is Not According To Physical Stature.

I Sam.16: 6 “And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.

7 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.

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.

9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.

10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.”

NOTE: [1] One would think Samuel would have known better than to use appearance as a standard of qualification. After all, that same mistake had been made in choosing Saul as king.

I Sam.20: 13 “And they ran and fetched him (Saul) thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from the shoulders and upward.”

[2] The problem was that Samuel was looking for a handsome hunk of a man to be king, while God was looking for a man with a holy heart. In essence, God told Samuel, “Samuel, you’re looking at the wrong thing. You’re looking at the outside. I’m looking at the inside. You’re looking only at the cover. I’m looking at the core.”

[3] It’s almost strange how much stock we humans put in appearances. Like this illustration, sometimes man’s thinking along that line is rather illogical.

The Bigger the Better

It was absolutely amazing. I was in West Africa—Timbuktu to be exact—and the missionaries were telling me that in that culture the larger the women were the more beautiful they were thought to be. In fact, a young missionary who had a small, trim wife said that the nationals had told him she was a bad reflection on him—he obviously was not providing well enough for her. A proverb in that part of Africa says that if your wife is on a camel and the camel cannot stand up, your wife is truly beautiful.

Fan The Flame, J. Stowell, Moody, 1986, p. 119

[4] Jesse had seven of his sons stand before Samuel. The number seven is often used in the Bible as the number of perfection. In one sense, Jesse’s seven sons, “…picture the perfection of the flesh, but the perfection of the flesh is always rejected in heaven” (Alan Redpath, The Making Of A Man Of God, published by Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, pg. 13).

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