Read: 1 Samuel 9:1—10:8

There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. He had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders above everyone else. 1 Samuel 9:1–2

Saul looked so good. He was handsome, tall, commanding, and he came from a wealthy family. What a perfect choice for Israel’s first king! The Hebrew people gave up their invisible God as their king and set in place a man who was a vision of beauty and success. Saul appeared to be everything anyone could have hoped for in a leader—he was the kind of person that others looked up to and dreamed of becoming.

Yet, while Saul looked good on the outside, he had deep character flaws on the inside. He lacked resolve, he was a fearful man, and he wound up dying amid a feverish attempt to maintain his power and authority. As it turned out, Saul’s servant boy was more resolute and faithful than his master. It would likely have been better if Samuel anointed the young boy instead of his handsome and towering master. Can it be any surprise that once Saul’s leadership unraveled, Samuel discovered the next king not among the tall and strapping sons of Jesse but in Jesse’s youngest boy, the one who was thought worthy only to be left in the fields to tend his father’s flocks? Leadership is not about looking good on the outside but, rather, being good on the inside.

How do looks influence your decisions?

Lord, I make the same mistake that Samuel made all the time. I am captivated by outward appearances and often overlook internal flaws. I make purchases, choose friends, and assess investments based on how good they look on the outside. That kind of evaluation can lead to disastrous results. Help me to be more discerning. In Your holy name, I pray. AMEN.