While a student at Harding University, one of the Bible professors told this story. One fall semester during registration, he was walking across campus and noticed this girl. He said to himself that the poor creature had to be the homeliest girl he had ever laid eyes upon. As luck would have it, she enrolled in his freshman Bible class. Before the semester was over, he thought to himself, “This is one of the most beautiful Christian young women I have ever had the good fortune to know”.
Saul had been king of Israel. What a physical specimen he was, head and shoulders (I Samuel 9:2) above his peers. When Saul was rejected as king and God told Samuel to select a replacement, no doubt Samuel thought God would choose someone similar to Saul. I Samuel 16: 6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD'S anointed is before him. 7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. God proceeded to choose David to be king, one whom Jesse, his father, had not offered for consideration.
Lot was given a choice by his uncle Abraham when it was determined that the two families could no longer stay together because of the size of their herds. Gen 9: 9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. 11 Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12 Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom.
The common thread in all these events is man’s focus on the physical. The Harding professor’s initial reaction to the young lady was based solely on the physical. Samuel’s idea of a king for Israel was for someone who looked the part. Lot’s choice was based on what he saw. It was based on purely economic considerations, how he could physically prosper more. Lot’s preoccupation with material things led him to eventually end up in Sodom itself where no mention is made of the herds for whose benefit he had based what proved to be his fateful decision. His decision caused him to lose all the physical possessions on which he had based his choice. It resulted in the death of his wife who looked back as they fled (Gen. 19:26). It led him to become drunken and father his own grandchildren, Ammon and Moab (Gen 19:30-38), whose descendants became a thorn in the side of the children of Israel.
So often our choices are based on the physical, what will make us money, give us prestige, or power, what’s pretty, what looks good or feels good. Number one on the list for choosing a mate for a man is a woman who is beautiful and for a woman a man who is handsome. Many other physical attributes are often considered such as popularity, wealth, etc. What is often the last consideration or no consideration should be the first. Is this someone who can help me get to heaven and whom I can help to get there? Our choices as to the colleges we attend, our career paths and even the churches we attend are often based primarily, if not solely, on physical and not spiritual considerations. What colleges offer the most fun, will enable me to meet the most influential people and earn the most money upon graduation are often ”the” considerations. What career will enable me to make the most money? What church do the movers and shakers in the community attend, the political, social and economic elite attend? What church will give me the best connections to advance my career?
The Bible is clear. We need to look at the beauty within, not just the outer appearance. We need to be concerned about treasures in heaven, not on earth. Mat. 6: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Our emphasis should not be on the here but the hereafter. Mat. 6: 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.