God Looks at the Heart

21 Apr

It’s easy to think that outward appearance is what matters in life, but the Bible tells a different story. Take for instance, the time when the Prophet Samuel was sent to Jesse’s house to pick out a King of Israel to replace Saul. He made a snap judgment when he began looking over Jesse’s sons…

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” 1 Samuel 16:6 (ESV)

Eliab was surely a good-looking, movie star type, and Samuel reasoned the way we all would reason: “This is the guy.” But…

…the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

God looks at the heart, but we look on the outward appearance. Now, this happens in different ways, from picking out a king, to judging whether or not a man is fit for heaven – either way, we naturally look at externals. The Pharisees certainly did…

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?”

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;’” Mark 7:5-6 (ESV)

The Pharisees became consumed with certain external standards, many of which they made up for themselves. And in doing so, they left behind the commandments that God had actually given them. For instance, they set up standards for giving that actually kept people from helping poverty-stricken parents. Thus, they made a false command…which nullified the real command…and it was all about appearances.

But Jesus pointed to a better way, to the way of Yahweh, the way which Samuel learned that day when he was in Jesse’s home: a focus on the heart…

“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:21-23 (ESV)

Today, the great error that we make is to think that God will one day accept us based on our outward “appearance”, the works of righteousness that we have done in order to be acceptable to Him.  And believing this falsehood, on judgment day, many will plead before Jesus the supposed “beauty” of their works:

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

But on that day, as all others, the Lord will look…at the heart:

And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22-23 (ESV)

Therefore we have but one hope.  We must ask the Lord to make, not our hands, but our hearts…clean:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (ESV)

And on that day when He gives us a new and clean heart, glory to God, we will desire to walk, not in the false ways of legalism, but in the true ways of the Spirit and the Word…

And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 (ESV)

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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Uncategorized


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