When Samuel was sent to anoint a new king to replace Saul, he fell into a common trap. It’s not about appearance, countenance, height, or stature. It’s all about the heart.
When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the LORD’s anointed!”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:6-7)
It’s not about the appearance, countenance, height, or stature
This is a fundamental truth throughout the Bible, and yet we need to be reminded of it constantly. From Genesis to Revelation, God has tried to get us to understand it’s not about the countenance, it’s all about the heart.
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 3:3-7)
When they came to the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, because the oxen nearly upset it. The anger of the LORD burned against Uzza, so He struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark; and he died there before God. Then David became angry because of the LORD’S outburst against Uzza; and he called that place Perez-uzza to this day. David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God home to me?” (1 Chronicles 13:9-12)
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the LORD,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:7-9)
So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven. (Acts 1:23-26)
I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!” (Revelation 22:8-9)
It’s all about the heart
When we judge by our own standards of appearance, countenance, height, or stature, we fail to acknowledge God’s standards about the heart.
When the festival was half over, Jesus went to the temple courtyard and began to teach. The Jews were surprised and asked, “How can this man be so educated when he hasn’t gone to school?” Jesus responded to them, “What I teach doesn’t come from me but from the one who sent me. Those who want to follow the will of God will know if what I teach is from God or if I teach my own thoughts. Those who speak their own thoughts are looking for their own glory. But the man who wants to bring glory to the one who sent him is a true teacher and doesn’t have dishonest motives.
Didn’t Moses give you his teachings? Yet, none of you does what Moses taught you. So why do you want to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You’re possessed by a demon! Who wants to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I performed one miracle, and all of you are surprised by it. Moses gave you the teaching about circumcision (although it didn’t come from Moses but from our ancestors). So you circumcise a male on a day of worship. If you circumcise a male on the day of worship to follow Moses’ Teachings, why are you angry with me because I made a man entirely well on the day of worship? Stop judging by outward appearance! Instead, judge correctly.“ (John 7:14-24 GWT)
Even though this is a consistent truth throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, it is our human nature to judge based on the things we think and see. How can we, as humans, with such limited intellect and such short sight, judge righteously?
Let the LORD judge the peoples. Vindicate me, LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. (Psalm 7:8)
Before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness And the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:9)
But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously, Who tries the feelings and the heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them, For to You have I committed my cause. (Jeremiah 11:20)
“And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live. The Father has life in himself, and he has granted that same life-giving power to his Son. And he has given him authority to judge everyone because he is the Son of Man.d Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will. (John 5:25-30)
Warning against judging according to appearance, countenance, height, or stature
My brothers and sisters, practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ by not favoring one person over another. For example, two men come to your worship service. One man is wearing gold rings and fine clothes; the other man, who is poor, is wearing shabby clothes. Suppose you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say to him, “Please have a seat.” But you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor at my feet.” Aren’t you discriminating against people and using a corrupt standard to make judgments? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! Didn’t God choose poor people in the world to become rich in faith and to receive the kingdom that he promised to those who love him? Yet, you show no respect to poor people. Don’t rich people oppress you and drag you into court? Don’t they curse the good name [of Jesus], the name that was used to bless you?
You are doing right if you obey this law from the highest authority: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” If you favor one person over another, you’re sinning, and this law convicts you of being disobedient. If someone obeys all of God’s laws except one, that person is guilty of breaking all of them. After all, the one who said, “Never commit adultery,” is the same one who said, “Never murder.” If you do not commit adultery but you murder, you become a person who disobeys God’s laws. Talk and act as people who are going to be judged by laws that bring freedom. No mercy will be shown to those who show no mercy to others. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (James 2:1-13 GWT)
Sadly, I know of so-called Christian groups that have turned this concept upside down and inside out. They spend all their time cleaning up the outward appearance, countenance, height, or stature in order to be a testimony to the world. They have decided the outward appearance, countenance, height, or stature is the most important because that is what man sees. They devise countless rules and regulations to control each other, but these rules and regulations are useless against the constant desires of the corrupt nature. Don’t fall into this trap. Help others out of this trap.
Dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you to expect: “In the last times people who ridicule [God] will appear. They will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the people who cause divisions. They are concerned about physical things, not spiritual things. Dear friends, use your most holy faith to grow. Pray with the Holy Spirit’s help. Remain in God’s love as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life. Show mercy to those who have doubts. Save others by snatching them from the fire [of hell]. Show mercy to others, even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives. (Jude 1:17-23)