Healing the human body might seem like it is only about science, but it is both a science and an art. The science is knowing the illnesses and treatments for a particular symptom. The art form of healing is in the diagnosis. A cough can indicate a mild cold, lung cancer, or anything in between to a doctor. If the doctor judges poorly, the patient might receive chemo for their cold or be told to get rest and drink fluids despite having lung cancer. In this way, treating an illness of the body is similar to guiding a soul to God. Assess a person’s soul haphazardly and it can poison their heart. Measure their soul righteously, however, and the soul will be one step closer to the Great Physician—Jehovah Rapha.
In 1 Samuel 16:1-13, the Bible tells the story of how David was anointed to be the second king of Israel. Samuel was the Lord’s prophet and was told to go to Bethlehem to make sacrifices to God and there he would anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be king. When Saul was anointed as the first king, he was a tall and strapping man that looked like he was worthy to be a king. It is possible that Samuel assumed the next anointed king of Israel would look similar in stature because of his previous experience with Saul. 1 Samuel 16:6-7 (ESV) reads, “When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height…man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’”.
After Jesse’s sons present at the sacrifice aren’t chosen by Samuel, he asks for the youngest son David to be summoned. David was anointed and one can imagine the bitterness that must have arose in Eliab. In 1 Samuel 17:28-29 one can read the contention Eliab must have held for David as he declares to know his brother’s evil heart. 1 Samuel 17:50 describes the Israelite army’s elated pursuit of the Philistines after David defeats Goliath. It is both marvelous and sad that David had to defeat a giant of a warrior before Eliab could begin to recognize David’s potential.
As children of God, do we quickly listen to Him like Samuel or judgmentally assume like Eliab? Appearances, biases, and assumptions should not get in the way of encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ. The adage of “it’s not what you say but how you say it” rings true to us as followers of Christ. There is a difference between guidance done with Godly love versus putting down our fellow brethren.