Summary: God looks at the character of the person - his heart. He does not focus on our having the right things or doing the right things, but rather on our being the right person.
Man goes by what they see. Have you ever misjudge someone, finding out later that it was not true? Someone once said, we tend to value people in at least 3 ways:
(1) what a person HAS - his looks, his possession - rich, car he owns, house he stays... this is not only a very inaccurate measure, but temporary. It changes over time...
(2) what a person DOES - his accomplishments... the world looks for these. In our resume, we’ll try to put forward every possible accomplishments we have in the past.
(3) what a person IS - his character. This is God’s priority - He does not focus on our having the right things or doing the right things, but rather on our being the right person. Because if our heart is right, our actions will be right.
Samuel the prophet was mourning for Saul, because Saul has become so disobedient to God. God said, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king."
But Samuel said, "How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me."
The Lord said, "Take a heifer with you and say, ’I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate." Taking a heifer to sacrifice is going on official business for a prophet. But, the real reason he is going to Jesse’s house is to find a new king.
When Samuel arrives, he first in Jesse’s family he saw was Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son. Apparently Eliab must have had kind of a royal look, he must have looked impressive, well-built, strong and tall... Samuel thought, "Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord..."
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." It reveals God’s priority and perspective.
Jesse has six more sons, many of them look equally good. Yet Samuel has to say, "No, this is not the one the Lord has chosen." Finally he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?"
"There is still the youngest," Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep."
Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives." So David arrives.
David is the youngest, probably around 15 years old. Physically not as strong as his brothers. No governing experience. The only thing he knows was how to do is tend sheep. From the human point of view, he is definitely not a candidate for a king. But, the Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one." (16:12b).
That day Samuel learned what we are learning. God is not concerned about the outside, but about the inside. Character, not appearance, is what counts. Remember 16:7b "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
From God’s perspective it doesn’t matter if you are black or white, short or tall, fat or thin, beautiful or ugly. Your your past record, your qualification, current status... is not important to God. What positions you have held or how popular you are don’t matter. God cares about what is on the inside, and He can see exactly what is there.