Tall People Problems

At the beginning of September, I started reading the book of 1 Samuel. It tells the story of the beginning of Israel’s monarchy. The prophet Samuel anoints Saul as Israel’s first king but after his demise, God instructs him to anoint David as the new king.

One of the themes in 1 Samuel is height. When Samuel anointed Saul as king the text states that Saul was a head taller than anyone else and handsome. Then after Saul becomes compromised and God rejects him as king, Samuel goes to Jesse’s house to anoint a new king at God’s direction. When Saul arrives he thinks Jesse’s son Eliab must be the king because he’s tall and physically impressive. It’s at this moment when God says to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

David, who isn’t tall at all, is anointed king of Israel and immediately goes to battle against Goliath the giant, and we all know how that goes for another tall person.

Let me get something off my chest, reading 1 Samuel makes me insecure as a really tall person. It’s almost like the whole book is screaming, tall is bad and not tall is good. I’ve been called Goliath a few times and it always stings since he lost to a short guy and got his head cut off.

But the point of these stories of tall people who fail aren’t really about height, they are about how we keep making the same mistake over and over again: we make assessments of people based on outward appearances. We think if someone looks like a leader, they must be one. We think if someone doesn’t look the part, they shouldn’t get the part.

God is showing us through Saul, Eliab, David, and Goliath that what we are naturally drawn to, He sees past and into the heart. It’s not that God has no concern for physical appearance (we shouldn’t eat Twinkies and let ourselves go), it’s that He sees who we actually are at our core.

God weighs our motives. God knows if we are simply honoring him with our lips but our hearts have no regard for Him. God knows if we say we love Him but we actually love money. God sees past charisma, beauty, toned-physiques and He isn’t impressed by pastors who are 6’8”.
What does impress God?

Those whose hearts are fully His. Those whose lives are surrendered in obedience to Him. Those whose faith is squarely in the person of Jesus Christ and none other.

Being tall is fine and at times it’s a blessing (except on planes), but having a heart for the Lord is where it’s at.

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