The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7).
Man sees physically, but God sees spiritually.
In the letters to the seven churches in Revelation, God couldn’t have seen them more differently than man:
- Jesus told Smyrna, “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty, but you are rich” (Rev 2:9). A terribly poor and struggling church to man, but Jesus looked at it spiritually and said it was rich.
- Jesus told Laodicea, “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev 3:17). A rich, thriving church to man, but Jesus saw it spiritually and said it was terrible.
When God chose Gideon, the Angel of the Lord called him “a mighty man of valor” (Judg 6:12), but he looked like a complete coward:
- He was so scared when he saw the Angel of the Lord, the Angel had to say, “Don’t be afraid, you won’t die” (Judg 6:23).
- He was told build an altar in the middle of town, but “he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, [so] he [built] it by night” (Judg 6:27).
- He was so terrified he asked God if he could put out the fleece, not once, but twice.
- God said, “If you’re still afraid, go down to the Midianite camp to hear them discuss being afraid of you” (Judg 7:10). And he went!
Why did the Angel give him such a title? In looking at Gideon spiritually, God saw what he would become.
The same with the twelve disciples. Jesus saw their weakness, but He also saw the potential in them. We see this most clearly with Peter. By nature he was brash, vacillating, and undependable. He tended to make great promises he wouldn’t keep, but God changed him into a rock.
The book of Acts is a record of situations that reveal Jesus’ wisdom in choosing the twelve men He did. He took them as they were, trained them, gave them the Holy Spirit, and changed the world through them. Their actions and lives have dramatically affected our lives. We – the church – are here today as a testimony to their work.
Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench.
Reeds were the stalks of certain plants, and shepherds would use them to fashion small musical instruments. But once the reeds were bruised or cracked or worn, they were useless. Once a candlewick was smoldering it wouldn’t put out light and was therefore useless.
Isaiah 42:3 is applied to Jesus in Matthews 12:20. Is this talking about the Messiah dealing with plants and candles?
Bruised reeds and smoking flax are pictures of people that look useless to the world, but Jesus doesn’t break them. Instead He restores and rekindles them. He uses them for good.
Being a Christian is never about who we are—it’s always about what Jesus can do with us.
How has Jesus changed you? Bless others by briefly sharing below.
You can listen to the entire sermon this is drawn from here.