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God Looks at the Heart: 3 Examples From Scripture

In this article, we will look at 3 Biblical examples of how God looks at the heart and the meaning behind 1 Samuel 16:7. So, grab your Bible, and let’s dig in and see what the Lord reveals.

We usually tend to judge people by their outward appearance and how we perceive them. A prime example is watching talent shows like America’s Got Talent. The story of Susan Boyle is a prime example. Here this middle-aged woman decided to audition for the 2009 Britain’s Got Talent show. When she first gets on the stage you can tell quickly the judges and the crowd judge her based on her appearance. But when she starts to sing everyone is blown away by her amazing voice! (watch the audition here)

We humans are so quick to judge what we see on the outside. But God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance. He knows that our real selves are contained in the heart, and He wants us to engage with others based on what is in their hearts and not their physical attributes.

In 1 Samuel 16:7, we see the wisdom God gave the prophet Samuel when He sent Him to anoint a new king for Israel.

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 people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Samuel looked at the physical appearance of Eliab, David’s brother, and thought that he must be the one God wants to anoint as king.

But the thing is God had chosen David because He knew his heart. In fact, God said that David was a man after His heart, and who would do His will.

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ – Acts 13:22

God trusted that David would do His will after and pursue Him when he became king, and that is why He chose him.

God Looks at the Heart

God chooses people to do things on earth by looking at their hearts and not their physical appearance. He could care less if you are short, tall, ugly, beautiful, bald, or anything else. He also doesn’t care what your social status is or how big your bank account is. What He cares about is the heart! I love this about Him! God sees the heart and from there He responds.

We tend to choose based on a person’s appearance and when we do this, we are likely to choose the wrong person. We don’t see the heart or the character of the person.

Below are 3 examples of how God looks at the heart and not the physical appearance.

God Looks At The Heart

God Sees The Heart

1.  God Sees The Heart of Joseph

Joseph was one of the 12 sons of Jacob, and God had an amazing plan for his life. God made it known to Joseph in a dream that one day he would be great, and would rule over his family and others. Out of all his brothers, he is the one God chose. And in Jewish culture, the eldest brother was the one to inherit everything.

Joseph’s brother’s jealousy was burning within them and we see this when they plotted to kill him when he told them of the dreams he had. “Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him” (Genesis 37:18). They ended up selling him to merchants headed to Egypt.

The hearts of Joseph’s brothers were not soft like his and God knew it. What they did to Joseph was a reflection of what they would have done had any of them been promoted to Joseph’s position as second in command to Pharaoh. When God chooses us for an assignment, it is because He has looked at our hearts and knows we are the right people for the job.  

2.   God Sees The Heart Of Abraham

God told Abraham to leave his family and father’s household to go to a place He would show him (Genesis 12:1).

Out of the entire family, God chose Abraham and not his other family members. This is a choice He made because He knew Abraham’s heart. Abraham was a righteous man who obeyed God.

What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” – Romans 4:3

We know that when God asked him to sacrifice his son, he was going to do it because it was important for him to obey God. We sometimes wonder why God chooses one person over another until we see what the person is made of when they are in action.

It’s important to also note that when God does not choose us for a certain role, it is not because we are bad or there is something wrong with us. Maybe we are yet to grow or heal before we are ready for what God has planned for us.

God is full of wisdom and love for us. Be patient and go after Him! He will reveal His plan for your life.

3.   Jesus Sees The Heart Of His Diciples

We read in the gospels how Jesus went about selecting His 12 disciples. He simply said, “Follow me” (Matthew 9:9, John 1:43). Jesus did not go for those who were educated or the most influential, He chose those who He knew would help Him with His ministry even after He was gone.

Jesus chose His disciples by looking at their hearts and not physical appearance or profession. He didn’t care that Matthew was a tax collector or that most of his disciples were teenagers.

In Romans 8:30, we see that God calls people and then justifies them. He has already chosen us for what He wants us to do even though others may not agree. They may be looking at us from a physical perspective or our status, but God looks at our hearts.

What Can We Learn From God Looking at the Heart and Not Outward Appearance?

God reminds us through 1 Samuel 16:7 that we should seek to know what is in a person’s heart. This really goes against our natural way of doing things. Every day people are hired or asked out based solely on appearance and charm. We think they “fit” the part because of how they look.

I had a friend who was gifted and anointed musically. He decided to audition for a band. It was a very large audition bringing 100’s of different musicians and singers. He auditioned and they loved him. They then proceeded to tell him, “We like the way you look on stage.”

He was so turned off by this statement that he decided not to take the position. He later became one of my worship leaders for the young adult ministry I led.

1 Samuel 16:7 images

God doesn’t look at someone and think, “Oh, wow I like how she dressed, she’s very trendy and cool…I’m going to give her a position.”

When we judge people based on outside appearance and situations we will end up getting into relationships or situations with the wrong people.

But the opposite is also true, you can’t think that if someone is unattractive, or poor that they are the right person for the job either. A prime example is Esther in the Bible. She had the right heart but was also beautiful.

The true meaning behind 1 Samuel 6:7 or should I say “key” is the heart.

It’s like God strips off our outer shell and looks at one thing that truly matters and has value.

Our hearts are subjected to many things in life and we are not always up to the task that God has for us. In this case, God has to prepare our hearts for what He wants us to do. As we yield to His Spirit, He does a great work in us and transforms us to be more Christlike.

If we want to align ourselves with someone and feel like it is not God’s will, we shouldn’t push it. God knows why He does not want us to align ourselves with certain people no matter how good we think they are.

People always present their best foot forward and hide their true selves. We should rely on God revealing to us the hearts of those we want to bring into our lives. And just to clarify this isn’t just for romantic relationships.

When God knows that a certain person is not a good influence on us, He will put distance between us and them. These are the friendships that we hope will blossom and they don’t even take off. We get disappointed because we imagine that the other person could have been a good friend or colleague.

This is not always the case. It also does not mean that there is anything wrong with others when God distances us from them. Maybe He is taking them in a direction that He is not taking us.

Allow God to guide you as you engage with others out there in the world. Ask Him for discernment as you make new friendships. He will help you to see clearly and make wise decisions.

I always want to encourage you that God looks at YOUR heart. He sees your desires, willingness, and pain. Don’t lose hope if things have been hard or slow. Remember David was just little O’ Shepherd boy…it was in that time he learned to kill the lion and bear (1 Samuel 17:34-36). It was in that hard or slow time that he was being prepared to fight Goliath. God is also preparing you for something. Don’t lose heart, because God sees your heart!

If you would like to share what God is doing in your life. Please feel free to leave me a comment below! I would love to hear from you.