Read – 1 Samuel 9
Focus on verse 2
We live in a culture in America that is obsessed with appearance. Billions of dollars are spent every year in America on gym memberships, exercise coaches and plastic surgeons by people consumed with how they appear to others. If the same attention was invested in building character and personal integrity I suspect it would transform our society dramatically.
In today’s reading we meet the man who will become the first king of Israel. His name is Saul, and is appearance apparently is striking. He appears to meet the quintessential “tall, dark, and handsome” description of a man.
He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others. (v. 2)
The description the writer uses here of Saul is almost exactly the antithesis of the description given of David a few chapters later. The description of Saul focuses on his physical stature, which was no doubt astounding, while the description of David’s outward appearance is hardly impressive. As the history of each of these men play out in the book of Samuel, it becomes apparent that at least one of the points of the story is that God is more concerned with what is on the inside of a man than his outward appearance, and for good reason. Saul’s reign and life come to a tragic end, while David leads the nation of Israel to its zenith in terms of influence and power in the Middle East.
God has not changed in regard to what he considers important in a person. He continues to consider what is on the inside of us as more important than what we look like on the outside. This is not to suggest that our outward action, or even our appearance is of no consequence. The outward actions of a person very often reveal what is within, and the appearance of a person is a highly subjective matter in the eyes of the beholder. When God looks at a person He sees not only what is visible to other people, He also sees the hidden thoughts and attitudes of the heart. It is in these hidden places that our true relationship with God resides. The judgments of other people may be unjust and difficult to bear at times, but the judgment of God upon the deep secrets of our hearts has eternal consequences that potentially make the difference between eternal life and death for us.