Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Appearances can be deceiving

But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart.” - 1 Samuel 16:7

The lesson the Lord teaches Samuel is one that is lost to our modern secular society. The longing for physical perfection has resulted in a boom of both medical (Botox) and surgical procedures (We all know what I mean; I don't have to spell it out.) geared toward sculpting the "perfect" body. Through this quest we see the outward appearance of the body as defining the person. God sees otherwise. He sees the person as defining the person. In other words, God sees who we are and altering our outward appearance does not change the essence of who we are, of what defines us in God's eyes.

Samuel has been given the order to go to Bethlehem to visit Jesse in order to annoint one of his sons as the new king of Israel to replace Saul. Recall Saul had failed to live up to God's commands, and therefore God stripped him of his kingship. He sees Jesse's sons, one by one, and one by one he rejects them as king of Israel until he gets to David, the youngest, who is out tending the sheep. This is who God chooses. Not exactly what Samuel and Jesse were expecting, but nonetheless God's chosen ruler of Israel.

God challenges us all to see as he does in our encounters with one another every day. We have to try hard to not let physical appearance define dignity in those we meet. Underneath that exterior, be it handsome or homely, lies the person created in God's image, an image of transcendant beauty. An image which God himself will reveal to us if we allow ourselves to see with the eyes of wisdom.

Just a side thought: can you imagine David's surprise? He wakes up that morning to tend the flocks, but by that evening he is King of Israel!

“I have found David, my servant;
with my holy oil I have anointed him,
That my hand may be always with him,
and that my arm may make him strong.” - Psalms 89:21-22

St. Anthony the Abbot, pray for us.


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