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 man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 SAMUEL 16:7
This has been a week for frequent reflection on 1 Samuel 16:7.
What was to be a one-night stay for my wife at her parents’ house in northern Minnesota has turned into a five-day, four-night “Mister Mom” marathon for me at our home back in the Twin Cities. And while the reason that her visit has been extended is completely legitimate, and the physical, emotional, and spiritual rest she is getting is an immense blessing, the itinerary change has resulted in a daily meditation for me on 1 Samuel 16:7.
But before I get into that, there are a couple of things I need to make clear. First, my two oldest daughters (Alex and Erin) are pretty much self-sufficient and have done a better-than-expected job of helping me out. Second, I am not in any way writing this blog entry as an attempt to get sympathy or praise for my “sacrifice”–I’m an adult and a dad and I should be able to handle it. It’s not brain surgery. So don’t get distracted…remember, 1 Samuel 16:7:
“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
So, you may ask, “what has cause you to dwell repetitively on 1 Samuel 16:7?” What has me so focused on outward appearances? Nothing less than…my youngest daughter’s hair.
Yes, you read that correctly.
You see, since everyone else in my family is gone when she wakes up, I’ve been solely responsible for “doing” Carly’s hair. And it hasn’t been pretty. Her hairstyle requires a ponytail on the top. There are apparently reasons for this…but as a dad, I’m not really sure what they are. In any case, each day I have attempted to re-create the beautiful ponytails that my wife and older daughters are so good at fashioning. And each day the result has been a crying girl with a ponytail that holds too much of the “wrong” hair and too little of the “right” hair. And it has looked completely different everyday. I’m quite sure her teachers at school have been thinking, “Dad must be home alone.” And they would be correct.
Which brings me back to 1 Samuel 16:7.
You see, each day this week I have been reminded that the Lord looks past Carly’s multiple consecutive bad hair days and looks at the purity of her heart. Every day this week, I have been reminded that the Lord looks past my ineffective efforts and looks at my heart of love and service for my daughter. I’ve also been reminded of the importance the Lord places on the substance of my life…on what is really going on in my mind and my heart, not the external appearances that I try so hard to maintain. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
He can see right through me, to the truth that lies inside.
As we approach this Christmas season, may we all spend some time looking beyond the outward appearances of presents and trees and decorations. The heart of the matter is that God sent His Son to us as a baby in a manger.