a Devotion for 22 February 2018 Anno Domini
“. . . . for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The heart of man is a great treasure chest. The treasures contained therein are the measure of the man in the eyes of God and his fellow man. Some hearts of men contain only perishable and unwholesome treasures. These are comprised of jealousies, envy, hate, violence, and pride. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5) The hearts of other men are stocked with those treasures which are edifying to both God and man, and these treasures are of eternal value (such as love, reverence, kindness, faith, gentleness, and honesty). “. . . out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” (Matthew 12:34-35)
That God sees where no man can see is a biblical fact: “the LORD looketh on the heart.” Suppose we could see the secrets of each other’s hearts? Would that not be a great benefit – or would it be disastrous? If we could see into the secret chambers of another’s heart, we would see there sentiments and emotions that lie hidden under the cover of darkness. We would see only those thoughts and motives that exist at the precise moment of our observation. But when God looks upon the heart of man, He sees not only what is buried there of past thoughts and deeds, but also the present state of the man’s character. But God sees more – He sees what treasures of the future may replace those present cobwebs of perhaps doubt and avarice.
I will tell you a story of young man (William) whose life was changed by an amazing, and tragic, possession. The young man had, over a few recent years, begun his career as an up-and-coming physician whose practice was in an upscale part of the country. Already, he was respected and admired by peers, patients, and those of established reputations in the field of medicine. He was a kind, caring, and dedicated man, and he was an excellent specimen of his profession.
Having already amassed a small nest-egg, William married the girl of his youth. She was a member of the local aristocracy as well as beautiful, thoughtful, and of unblemished reputation. Not many months after the wedding, the young lady was found to be with child. Of course, the young doctor William was elated along with his wonderful wife. A home of many rooms had been purchased in an exclusive neighborhood, and, when the child arrived, he found himself settled in a home of both love, opulence, and security. Later, when the child was enrolled in school, he proved to be a fine little scholar of which his parents were very proud.
This young father was blessed above all around him. It seemed that he led a life of which others could only dream – and he was truly the happiest of all in his circle of acquaintances. Moreover, he was a regular attendee at religious services of his local church, although he didn’t place an overabundance of importance to the matters pertaining to his soul. Certainly, he believed in God, but refused to be carried away as some others were with those constant Bible studies and teachings upon which they seemed to place an inordinate value.
Is it not quite often the curse of the well-established in our society to be distracted by the mundane wealth and successes of their lives? Is there, for example, ever enough wealth or treasure in a man’s vault of fortune to achieve satisfaction? Many marriages are ruined, not by a home lacking in a good wife or husband, or plentiful resources – but just the opposite. When life is easy and unlabored, the eyes are often turned to gleaming mirages scattered about us in society.
There came a day when William was called away to a distant city to attend a medical seminar – a requirement of his profession. The city to which he travelled was one known for its luxurious hotels, gambling casinos, exotic restaurants and lounges. The seminar was only scheduled for three days, yet the attendance there included only morning sessions of three hours each. So, the doctor found himself whiling away the extra hours of his day, at first in long walks along the boulevards, and glancing into the windows of exclusive jewelry shops on the chance that he might find a fitting gift for his lovely wife.
As chance would have it, he met an old college friend during one of his walks who was attending the same business of the seminar. His friend invited him to a rather nice cocktail lounge. Though William was not known to imbibe in alcohol, neither was he averse to having a few drinks on occasion when socializing with friends.
After a couple of drinks, his friend had to rush off to another engagement, and William remained behind to have only one last drink. He saw a somewhat appealing gentleman siting at an adjacent table who seemed to be remarkably gregarious and whose conversation was an apparent delight to those around him. The man caught Williams glance and invited him to join the company at his table which William did with unaffected alacrity.
This strange fellow proved to be a world traveler, and quite knowledgeable of history, science, and religion. William was entranced by the man’s smooth and informed conversation. Before long, only the stranger and William remained. In awe of the man’s apparent accomplishments in life, William ventured to ask him how he had achieved such stunning success. The stranger responded that he had discovered a mysterious secret resource that had led to, not only his financial success, but his refinement in arts. William could scarcely contain his curiosity. “What mysterious resource, friend?” he asked the stranger.
The stranger slyly looked about himself, reached into his inside breast pocket, and withdrew a small case. Carefully opening the case, the stranger removed a pair of very strange spectacles. These were furnished with green lenses. “These spectacles are my secret mystery to life, William,” the stranger remarked. “But what is so special about those simple glasses?” asked William.
“Well, when a man places these glasses on his nose, he can see every detail about him.” “Well, I can see every detail about us as well,” replied William, “and I do not need spectacles to do so.”
“Yes, but there is more,” responded the stranger. “You see, with these green lenses, I can see into the heart of every man, woman, and child that I survey. This has been a godsend in business investments as well as in personal relationships!”
“That is a fantastic power,” said William. “How could I have such a pair of spectacles?”
“You are a special young man, William,” replied the stranger. Since I have seen into the mysteries of your heart, I can see that you are honorable and faithful. So, I happen to have an extra pair of these green glasses which I am going to give to you as a token of our new friendship – only please wait until you get back home before wearing them!” Upon this exchange, the man excused himself and walked away, leaving the spectacles, without as much as a ‘good-bye.’
William could not wait to try out the glasses, but he did wait until his return home since he had given his word to the stranger.
He placed the glasses on his face as he entered the house. His wife greeted him at the door but seemed a bit curious about the glasses, though she did not ask. Suddenly, William could see into the heart of his lovely wife. She was not all that happy to see him. Moreover, he saw in her heart that she still held a cherished memory of a previous romance. He also saw that she had been storing away a large portion of the money he had been giving her for expenses in running the house. She was suddenly no longer beautiful and lovely to William. When he discovered the ember of love in her heart for a previous fellow, he could bear that thought no more and began to hate his wife.
About that moment, his little son came in from school and rushed to hug his father’s neck; but William soon saw that the boy’s love was not so great for his father as was his desire to get gifts and advantages from him. William concluded that his son, too, was unworthy of his affections. His hopes for a happy home in the future was ruined in an instant. He saw every human weakness clearly in the hearts of his family.
Even during office calls the next day, he found that his secretary loathed him for his demands on her work. The patients, too, were petty and dishonest when they complimented the doctor on his treatments. William was aggrieved at these revelations. He hated that he had ever worn the green glasses, or met the devilish figure who provided them. He crushed them on the floor of his office in a rage of regret – but the damage had already been done just as surely as the moment that Adam partook of the unwholesome fruit of the Forbidden Tree.
We do not know what happened to William’s marriage and family afterward, but it is certain that an unprofitable judgment can be made of a man’s soul simply by an instantaneous judgment of his heart condition at the very moment of observation. Man can only judge by what he sees at an instant. He may see an incorrigible drunk, a hopeless prostitute, or a swindler of enormous proportion, but that judgment was made without the benefit of future knowledge such as God possesses. God sees how the man or woman’s heart may be made anew in some future faith and time by the work of the Holy Spirit. We do not! Friend, I suggest that you refuse the ‘green spectacles’ just as Adam should have refused the bad fruit in Eden. Follow that Commandment of our Lord: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)