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What God Sees


Some say the modern age of image-oriented political campaigning began in 1960 with the first televised presidential debate between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. On camera, Kennedy seemed more comfortable than Nixon, whose appearance and awkward manner made him appear less confident to viewers.

Beauty may only be skin deep, but we often make judgments about people’s character based solely on their appearance. Saul might have looked the part of a king, but by his actions, he was proving to be deficient in faith. God’s choice for Saul’s replacement would be surprising; He chose the least likely of Jesse’s eight sons. When David’s older brother Eliab presented himself to Samuel, the prophet was convinced he was God’s chosen. “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him,” the Lord warned. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (v. 7). David was the least likely to be selected. He was the youngest of all Jesse’s sons and wasn’t even invited to attend. He was tending the sheep (v. 10).

With the anointing of David, the Holy Spirit departed from Saul, and an evil Spirit “from the Lord” tormented him (v. 14). Some commentators believe this wasn’t a demon but a “spirit of disaster” sent from God. However, the New Testament makes it clear that even the demons can go no further than God allows (Matt. 8:31–32). Whatever its nature, it is clear that the arrival of this spirit was both divine judgment and the means God used to introduce David to Saul and his court.

>> There is much more to godly leadership than image. This is why the qualifications for church leaders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 focus mainly on a person’s character. Leadership is about being as much as it is about doing.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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