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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, January 22, 2017
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Today’s scripture reading:
Saul was tall and handsome; he was an impressive-looking man. Samuel may have been trying to find someone who looked like Saul to be Israel’s next king, but God warned him against judging by appearance alone. When people judge by outward appearance, they may overlook quality individuals who lack the particular physical qualities society currently admires. Appearance doesn’t reveal what people are really like or what their true value is.
Fortunately, God judges by faith and character, not appearances. And because only God can see on the inside, only he can accurately judge people. Most people spend hours each week maintaining their outward appearance; they should do even more to develop their inner character. While everyone can see your face, only you and God know what your heart really looks like. What steps are you taking to improve your hearts’ attitude? (NLT)
1 Samuel 16:1-13 – Finally, the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel. Now fill your horn with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man names Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my new king.”
But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”
So Samuel did as the Lord instructed him. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the leaders of the town became afraid. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”
“Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them, too.
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 of height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.
Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” Next Jesse summoned Shammah, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep.”
“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”
So Jesse sent for him. He was ruddy and handsome, with pleasant eyes. And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”
So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the olive oil he had brought and poured it on David’s head. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.
Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. –Matthew 7:1 (NRSV)
Nancy Clark (Michigan) titled her story “SEEING THE POTENTIAL;” here is a portion of Nancy’s story:
“The plant had only two puny leaves sticking out of a dirty clay pot. . . .
“Every time I look at the now-flourishing plant, I am reminded of how easily I make judgments about the potential of everything from plants to people. I think, Oh, she’ll never amount to anything; look at all her tattoos! or What chance does he have, coming from a home like that? or She shouldn’t hire him; he’s done time in prison.
“God looks at people’s hearts, not their outward appearance or circumstances. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 7:1 not to condemn people. Instead, we can help others experience God’s love, care, and grace – and then step back and watch for the transformations.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Today, I will try to see others through God’s eyes.
Prayer: O Lord, help us today to refrain from judging others and instead to see each person as someone of worth, created in your image. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/