Consider a nice golden, pink-blushed pear. Its skin is unblemished, the aroma is enticing. A perfect eating experience awaits the sinking of gnashers into this bulbous beauty. Yet the risk of disappointment is real.
Sometimes a worm has beaten me to it and left brown slimy goo. Yum!
Sometimes it is deceptively unripe, and rock hard- goodbye dental crowns. Ouch.
Or over-ripe… and gone “sleepy.” Left another day, it might ferment!
Most times it is juicy, sweet and splendid- but we can’t be sure by external appearances.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel is instructed to anoint a new king (in place of the dangerous and unstable King Saul). Finding the right family of the right tribe, Samuel sees some big strapping lads who look up for the challenge. Job done, he thought, until God chimed in: “I look at the heart, not the outward appearance.” The whole story is in 1 Samuel 16, and well worth a read! The youngster chosen by God and anointed by Samuel was David, the best king of Israel, and part of the Covenant line of Jesus.
Jeremiah reminds Israel of this principle later on, and broadens it to show God looks at EVERY heart- justly.
“But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.” – Jeremiah 17 v10
This seems particularly relevant in the modern age when politicians have excused appalling behaviour by claiming we live in a “post-truth world.” Somebody ought to let God know, because either He is wrong or they are completely bonkers… and I’m pretty sure that God hasn’t changed His mind about truth, love, and justice!
We seem to spend far too much time and money on outward appearance and “image.” Perhaps it is time to learn to develop our inner life, our character and moral centre, our worshipful nature in place of shallow acquisitiveness. After all, God is looking at our heart…