"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
The Prophet Samuel was sent to find the new king for Israel. He was sent to the house of Jesse who had eight sons. When Samuel arrived, his father presented him with only seven of his sons. He saw Eliab and thought surely this is the Lord's anointed, but the Lord spoke to him and said "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."
Clearly, Eliab was tall in stature, good looking and strong. He seemed to be the perfect choice outwardly. He was probably the first born as well. However, God did not choose him. As a matter of fact, Jesse presented all of his sons, but his youngest. He surely thought that it had to be one of the seven. Even his father did not think it could be his youngest son. However, God chose the most unlikely. He chose the youngest son who was tending the sheep. He had a ruddy appearance and had handsome features. But compared to his brothers he was not as tall in stature. He was being prepared for what God had for him. He was busy doing what God had planned. He was going to rule over Israel and need to know how to tend to sheep and watch over the flock that God was about to give him. He was being prepared for battle to defeat those who would try and kill the flock he was watching over. He was in training by learning to kill a bear and a lion that tried to kill the sheep. He was out seeking the God of Israel learning to trust in him to give him wisdom, strength and power.
Do you ever think the same way too? You look at someone and think, hey this one is the one who is going to be a great leader. Like Samuel and Jesse, we see their stature, good looks and how they carry themselves. They are charismatic. They seem to have it all. They are the perfect person outwardly. But think about people who outwardly seemed perfect for the calling, but we find out later that they were liars and cheats. They were doing evil and living ungodly lives. They were disobedient and prideful. It was brought to the light. We were deceived by their outward appearance.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 11:31 "if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged." We are also told in Matthew 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with what measure you use, it will be measured to you." However, God still expects us not to walk around blindly and not judge anything. He tells us we are to judge the others by their fruit (Matthew 7:16). It is important to observe how they are living not what they look like. People can be charismatic and draw you away from the truth. People can be generous but with wrong intent of heart to lead you away. People can be kind to get their way with you. We need to be careful and know if whether or not the person is bearing fruit that is good or bad (Matthew 7:15-20). God tells us to ask the ability to discern. He also tells us in Luke 6:45 that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
Wisdom and a discerning spirit are required to observe the fruit of others. We need not to be quick to judge them based upon their outward appearance, but be willing to judge them on their fruit. Also we need to judge ourselves rightly to see where our heart is. We need to listen to what they are speaking and divide the truth with the word of God.
May the Lord gives us all the ability to discern and not be deceived by the looks of others.