Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
It was time to prepare for a new king. Much like the anointing of Saul earlier in the book, the anointing of David was done secretly. While God would identify David as the next king, it was not time yet to place him upon the throne.
Samuel came to Jesse’s house and, one by one, examined his sons. He thought the oldest, Eliab, would be the next king of Israel. God, however, explained to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
You may recall what was said of Saul, “There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people” (1 Samuel 9:2). He looked like a king, and to Samuel, Eliab did as well.
The process is repeated with each of Jesse’s eldest sons, including Abinadab and Shammah. None of them were chosen as Saul’s successor. Finally, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, described as “ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking” (1 Samuel 16:12), was called to Samuel. It was upon the appearance of David that God said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” (1 Samuel 16:12).
We must be careful that we do not overlook someone in need of the gospel simply because they don’t fit our preconceived ideas of what a Christian looks like. In fact, those are often the very people who may be more receptive to the gospel message!
There are multiple warnings in the Scriptures against judging someone based upon appearances. In the first century, anyone who was not a Jew was prevented from hearing the gospel until Peter preached to Cornelius, and even Peter needed to be convinced that God approved of such!
Everyone is a candidate for God’s grace! The apostle Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Don’t judge a book by its cover; take the gospel to everyone!