The View from the Balcony – 1 Samuel 16:7

balcony_view“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart'” (1 Samuel 16:7, HCSB).

In 1 Samuel 16:1 God told Samuel to go and anoint David as the new king over Israel. From biblical descriptions, David and Saul had contrasting appearances. Saul was tall and striking in appearance while David was a young boy with a ruddy appearance.

King Saul had turned out to be completely untrustworthy as king. Samuel had anointed Saul as the first king over Israel and he was saddened by the fact that Saul had not been obedient to God and was irresponsible in his duties as king.

God told Samuel to put it behind him because He had rejected Saul as king. God wanted Samuel to go and anoint a new king.

God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse, a man with eight sons. He didn’t know which of Jesse’s sons God had chosen and when Samuel saw Jesse’s oldest son, he thought surely he was God’s choice for the next king of Israel. That’s when God told Samuel that He has a different view of people.

God considers what’s in a person’s heart, not a person’s physical appearance. God looks at what’s on the inside, what He can transform a person into, rather than what’s on the outside, what a person looks like.

God has a view from above, from outside of His creation because He is separate from His creation.

This verse reminded me of something I once read as part of a leadership training program. In their book, Leadership on the Line, Harvard professors Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky point out that leaders should get out on the balcony to get a different perspective of everything that is going on below. Being on the balcony is a mindset where a leader tries to step outside of the details to gain a clearer, more strategic view–the big picture. Regularly spending time on the balcony is important for leaders to see what they need to do to grow and lead their businesses.

The parallel to spiritual growth and development couldn’t be more evident. Being an effective Christian requires regular trips to the balcony!

To be an effective Christian requires that one periodically (daily) escape the activity of the day and find that place where you can be in the presence of God (the balcony) through prayer, Bible study and meditation.

You need to view your life and those around you from the balcony because:

  • On the balcony is when the Holy Spirit opens your eyes and heart to see things as God sees them.
  • On the balcony is when you gain perspective.
  • On the balcony is when you determine to do God’s will in your life.

To see things like God sees them–isn’t that the whole point of spiritual growth? Isn’t that really the purpose of discipleship?

And when you come down from the balcony, you will better know how to live your life in Christ!

“Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation of shadow cast by turning” (James 1:17, HCSB).

6 thoughts on “The View from the Balcony – 1 Samuel 16:7

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