Outward Appearance

Susan Boyle

This past Sunday I had the privilege of teaching Bible class at our congregation, Zion Lutheran Church in Walburg, Texas. The topic was the selection of a successor to King Saul, the man chosen first king of the people of Israel. The title of the topic was From Shepherd to King.

King Saul was on his way out when the prophet Samuel was told by God to go to the house of a man named Jesse, where he would find the man God had selected to be Saul’s replacement. One by one Jesse’s sons were paraded before Samuel, who chose each of the first two fairly quickly. Each was a man of stature and made a very favorable impression. Both were nixed by the Almighty. So were all the rest of the sons of Jesse who were paraded before Samuel.

When Samuel asked if there were any more sons, Jesse said there was one more, a young man out in the fields taking care of the sheep. Samuel asked Jesse to bring in that final son, described in the Bible as ruddy and handsome, with beautiful eyes. Immediately the Lord told Samuel to anoint this 16 year-old named David to be the next king of Israel.

The most significant factor in this selection process was the Lord’s direction to Samuel: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature … For the Lord sees not as man sees. Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

During the class I shared a number of details about the life of David before he was actually inaugurated as king, including his miraculous defeat of the Philistine giant Goliath, nine and one half feet tall. Then I shared the story of Susan Boyle, 2009 contestant on Britain’s Got Talent.

Hardly the fairest lady in the land, Susan did not impress program hosts and judges Piers Morgan, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell. Even people in the audience were aghast at her very lackluster, homely appearance. However, after the first few notes of a powerful song from Les Miserable came out of her mouth, opinions changed drastically and visibly.

The YouTube video I played showed the incredulous looks on the faces of the judges and audience members when the end of her song was greeted with an enthusiastic, elongated standing ovation. All three judges offered superlative evaluations of her performance!

Susan Boyle was a phenomenal personification of the truth of what God told the prophet Samuel hundreds of years ago: People look at outward appearance. The Lord looks at the heart!

God anointed lowly David and used him to point many people to the Messiah! David became an ancestor of Christ! God created each of us and gave us special gifts. Regardless of your outward appearance, the Lord looks at your heart. What great things does God have in store for you


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