Heart Exam: An Open Book

Defined by Your Heart: How God Judges Our Value


“Lord, you have examined me and know everything about me” (Psalm 139:1).  Because the Lord knows everything about you, He can describe you, measure your value, and define who you are.  To do this, God does not look at your résumé, posture, or rank in society. Like an open book, He reads your heart, and nothing is hidden from Him. The examples of King Saul and King David from the Bible illustrate the difference between the judgement of the world and the judgement of God.


When reading the scriptures, Saul, the son of a valiant man, is first described as “a choice and handsome man… from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people” (1 Samuel 9:1-2). On the surface, Saul appears worthy of the crown; a man who truly stands above the people.  However, his character is displayed throughout the rest of the book.  Before Saul was declared king, he hid amongst baggage (1 Samuel 11:22).  During his reign, he did what was right in his own eyes, offering sacrifices to God in his own manner and swearing foolish oaths (1 Samuel 13:9-13, 14:24-44, 14:3-9). When confronted, Saul explained himself, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice. Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me… I have sinned, but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel” (1 Samuel 16:24-25, 30).


God’s example of Saul’s kingship shows people today that judging someone’s character and ability by looking at the outside is a flawed practice. In spite of his impressive stature and heritage, he acted sinfully before God. Continuing His example, “The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people...” (1 Samuel 13:14). He sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to anoint a son of Jesse to be king. When Samuel saw his son Eliab, he thought “‘surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him’.  But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the Heart” (1 Samuel 16:6-7). It was soon revealed that God chose the youngest of Jesse’s sons, David. Although David’s own father did not see him fit to be king and did not present him before Samuel as an option, the Lord favored him. Unlike Saul, who looked worthy of the throne in the eyes of man, David was deemed worthy in the eyes of the Lord, who examines the heart.


Today, Christians need to remember to not pass judgement by looking at the surface. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 4:5, “Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes.  He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”


God already sees what is written on our hearts, and He reads them like open books. Knowing what is coming, we must “in our hearts sanctify Christ as Lord…” (1 Peter 3:15).