Never Judge A Book by Its Cover

One Saturday afternoon, while I was parked at the grocery store and still sitting in my car, my oldest daughter nudged me as I was busy searching for my grocery list in my purse. “Ma, look at him! Oh, my goodness! He’s absolutely gorgeous! I hope my husband looks like that!” She said. This man was impeccable. The grooming, the styling, the smile—mesmerizing. It was almost as if he walked in slow motion so that we could take in every ounce of his handsomeness. Instantly you assume that someone that pretty on the outside is equally so on the inside. You can’t judge a book by its cover. This is a lesson that maturity and a few heartaches under your belt will teach you. I schooled my daughter with the same wisdom I received from my mother; looks aren’t everything, it’s the heart of a person that you want to see. But like many of us, sometimes we learn this lesson the hard way.

The cover of a book typically gives us an indication or an inkling about its contents. It often evokes an emotional response from us. The cover is supposed to whet our appetites and make us curious and excited to read what’s inside the cover. It shouldn’t be lost on us that sometimes the cover is misleading. We open the book, begin to read its contents, and may find that the inside is quite different from the outside. The outside may be incredibly appealing, but the inside may pale in comparison. So, although some books are as exhilarating and interesting as their covers, some are not, and that can be disappointing.

In the Old Testament, Saul was appointed the first king of God’s people, the children of Israel. From all accounts, his exterior was very pleasing to the eye. He was strong and virile, and looked like one would expect a king to look. Samuel, God’s prophet, was very fond of King Saul, and for a time, Saul followed God’s statutes and led the people as God instructed, but this changed. Saul began to think that he knew better than God, and he started to do things his own way. Of course, Heavenly Father found this unacceptable and rejected Saul as king of Israel. God selected another king, and Samuel the prophet was saddened because of his fondness for Saul.

God told him in 1Samuel 16:1(NLT), “Now the LORD said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” Saul had the right cover—he looked the part of a king, but the content of his heart was disappointing. Again, Samuel had grown very fond of him and was attached to Saul so to speak, so much so that he mourned over God’s rejection of Saul. We can understand this so well, because sometimes we meet someone who is attractive, and their looks draw us in. After we get to know them better, it might be clear that their character isn’t as attractive as their exterior, but we develop an attachment. We want them in our lives, but deep down, we know this isn’t a person that can walk with us through life.

When Samuel saw one of Jesse’s sons that was striking and virile, he thought surely he was the one. Again, he was making a character judgment that was based on the exterior and not on the interior. In 1Samuel 16:7(NLT), the Lord told Samuel, Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Our Heavenly Father is schooling us on His standard for choosing what is best. It’s about the heart.

Samuel obeyed God because he knew that God always knows best. You and I must have this confidence towards God in our hearts as well. We must have faith that not only does God know what is in our hearts, but He knows what’s in the heart of the person we choose. Sometimes, the wrong things are in that person’s heart, and they will end up causing us great harm or causing us to miss the blessings God wants to give us. When it comes to dating and finding the right person for us, surrendering our decision making to the guidance of the Lord is the very best thing we can do. It can be fun and exciting to look at the cover of a beautiful book, but we shouldn’t invest our time and energy into reading it unless God tells us the contents are as pleasing to Him as the cover.■

Scripture quotations marked (MSG) are taken from The Message. Copyright ©1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Never Judge A Book By Its Cover”, written for Copyright©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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