November 8, 2021
Scripture: But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV
Observation: Continuing our four-part series that examines Samuel’s anointing of David (1 Samuel 16:1-13), today we are looking at the second step to anointing the next generation: looking beyond outward appearances to the person’s character. When Samuel sought to consecrate the oldest son, God tells him to look beyond outward appearance to the heart (above verse). David, a shepherd boy and the youngest son of Jesse, did not yet meet the profile of an Israelite king. But Samuel knew that God had in mind a replacement for Saul, who would be a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). A millennium later, Jesus would also look to the heart in choosing twelve social misfits from the back hills of Galilee (fishermen, zealots, a tax collector) to become world-changers for the Gospel.
Takeaway: Bear with me as this devotion is a little longer than usual. I want to tell you a story that illustrates the takeaway. On Dec 8, 1941, the Japanese invaded the Philippines. US Forces responded, but after five months of outnumbered and undersupplied troops, the Americans surrendered to the Japanese. For the next three and a half years, the Japanese subjected our American POWs to harsh treatment that eventually spurred Allied Forces to invade Luzon in 1944. This time, they wisely recruited Filipinos to help transport maps and other critical information through enemy lines to Allied positions.
One of their top spies was a former Filipino beauty queen, Josefina Guerrero. Joey, as the US military nicknamed her, was a master at navigating through enemy strongholds. Yet, she had no prior training in espionage. Raised by her grandparents in Manila, Joey married a physician and settled into family life. But the brutality of war eventually compelled her to volunteer. Joey learned how to smuggle vital intelligence to where no one else could go. She created and delivered maps of enemy installations and aircraft batteries that allowed American planes to target and destroy critical strongholds. How did she do it? Joey would conceal messages inside of pieces of fruit, on the ribbon in her hair, or taped to her back. Yet, the Japanese never searched her. Why? Because Joey had contracted leprosy in 1941 that had left her once radiant skin marred by scars. The Japanese made the critical mistake of judging her outward appearance while ignoring her brave heart.
After the war, Joey came to the States to receive treatment for her disease—but not before a hero’s welcome. Credited with saving thousands of lives, Joey received the Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm, the highest civilian honor. Time Magazine reported in its July 1948 edition that: ‘Mrs. Guerrero, now a pale, scarred woman of 30, arrived in San Francisco on the dock to greet her Army officials, civic dignitaries, and a crowd of 300 veterans who remembered Joey. Bands played the Philippine national anthem. With her arms full of flowers, Joey could only stammer: “This is more than I expected.”‘
God looks to the heart, and so should we! Once we have consecrated ourselves to serve the next generation, the next step is to tap into the wisdom of God that will allow us to look beyond outward appearances to the heart and soul of his children. Who knows who he will bring across our paths. We just might be investing in the next Josefina Guerrero.
Prayer: Father God, thank you that you look beyond outward appearance and behavior and see us through the righteousness of your Son. Would you please help to look beyond outward appearances and follow your Son’s example of investing in the lives of the next generation of leaders as led by your Holy Spirit? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling