7 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

1 Samuel 8:1–9:27
John 6:22-42
Psalm 106:32-48
Proverbs 14:34-35

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

1 Samuel 9:1-2 (CSB): “There was a prominent man of Benjamin named Kish son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, son of a Benjaminite. He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else.”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

While we would never want to admit being superficial, virtually all of us would have to admit that we are, to some extent.

We look at a person and we place value on them because of various things that are visible.

  • The color of their skin.
  • Their country of origin.
  • Their accent.
  • Their gender.
  • Their sin of choice (that is different than the primary sins we struggle with).

On and on we could go to elaborate on how we place value on others based upon things we can see.

And it’s wrong! Sinfully wrong!

With our country’s vitriol for Iran, I had developed a disdain for that country and the people in it … until we welcomed Nazdim into our family. Nazdim is an Iranian who attends Murray State University. We welcomed her into our home last Fall and have come to love her as a family member. While we have shared the wonderful news of the Gospel with her, we have made it clear that her acceptance or rejection of Jesus will not affect our love for her.

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A family picture (Sean was at work) with Nazdim as we said our good-byes. We are moving to Florida and she is moving to California. But she has promised to visit us in Florida soon.

And I have come to realize how recklessly superficial I had been in lumping all Iranians together. I was predetermining the value of people based upon their country of origin.

When we read the text I have chosen for Today’s Bible Verses, it demonstrates that the man who would be Israel’s first king was noted for his outward appearance. As Samuel showed up to anoint him, we are told that “there was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he.”

Why was Saul the most “impressive among the Israelites”?

Because he was tall!

How much more superficial can you get?!

1 Samuel 9:1-2 (CSB): “There was a prominent man of Benjamin named Kish son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, son of a Benjaminite. He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else.”

But, while we can stand in judgment of the people who valued Saul simply because he was tall, I’ve already mentioned how we tend to place value on people (or deny them value) based upon other superficial traits.

If you are familiar with the storyline of King Saul, you realize that his reign was pitiful. He was a sorry excuse for a king. Being tall had nothing at all to do with being a good king. The Lord eventually rejected him (1 Samuel 15:26) and took His Holy Spirit away from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14).

There’s got to be another way! How do we come to understand the value of a person?

While Christians acknowledge that ALL people have intrinsic value because we are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27), we also recognize that not all individuals are equally pleasing and useful to the Lord for Kingdom purposes.

So, how can we ultimately determine who is useful and of value to the Lord?

We get that answer in a few chapters. After King Saul was rejected by the Lord, the prophet Samuel was out looking for the next king to anoint. Saul had failed and the next king of Israel needed to be chosen.

When Samuel saw the eldest son of Jesse, he was impressed. Samuel looked on the outward appearance and thought that the impressive young man standing in front of him would surely be the next king.

Samuel was being superficial. So, the Lord needed to clarify how we determine who God delights in and those God delights to use for Kingdom purposes.

1 Samuel 16:6-7 “When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, ‘Certainly the LORD’s anointed one is here before him.’ But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.'”

The Lord spoke to Samuel and said that He looks at people VERY differently than we look at them.

“Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”

This principle has a thousand applications:

  • God isn’t interested in our religious activity. He is interested in the nature of our heart behind the religious activity. (e.g. Don’t just hold your tongue when you are angry at someone – develop a heart that loves them through the injustice. The Lord is looking at your heart.)
  • Whether it’s in a church or a secular business, it is an unfortunate reality that competence almost always outweighs character. But that gets churches and businesses into trouble. You can teach competence but you can’t teach character. So, hire people of character and help develop their competence.
  • Don’t be prejudiced! Prejudice is ALWAYS based upon the superficial. A person’s value, according to the Lord, is seen in who they are, not what they look like or what they can or cannot do.

Well, I could go on and on but you get the idea.

Conclusion

Today, ask God’s Holy Spirit to point out where you have been superficial. Ask Him to seal it home to your heart that assessing value based upon superficial traits is wrong and reckless.

Strive to look at people’s character, not simply their countenance or their competence.

And, as a Christian, realize that it is your privilege to speak love and truth into people’s lives to help develop character. And allow God to use His Word, circumstances, and other people to help you with your own character development.

As you grow in character, you will truly be a person of value in the hands of a God that delights to use His children for Kingdom purposes.