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How the Lord Looks at People 

Do you see as the Lord sees?

First Samuel 15–16

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • December 21, In the year of our Lord, 2014

Scripture Reader and Reading: Gene Tomlinson – First Samuel 16.6–13

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph – Songs on the Lord


  1. What matters to you in other people? 
    1. Do you want them to be good-looking and hateful, or
    2. do you want them to be kind and humble, whether good-looking or not?
  2. Now, let us learn that the Lord and man look at people differently. 


  1. First Samuel 15.1–3 – The Orders

    1 Samuel also said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over His people, over Israel. Now therefore, heed the voice of the words of the Lord. 2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

    1. Amalek had disqualified themselves from further existence.
      1. They were already evil, but then
      2. they ambushed Israel as they left Egypt.
    2. The Lord gave Saul simple orders:
      1. Attack Amalek,
      2. totally destroy everything they have,
      3. take the lives of all the people and animals.
  2. First Samuel 15.4–9 – Partial Obedience

    4 So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

    1. Saul’s army numbered 210,000!
      1. Before attacking, Saul told the Kenites to leave, because
      2. unlike the Amalekites, they helped Israel.
    2. Finally, Saul made his attack, and
      1. he destroyed all the people, well,
      2. except for Agag the king, and
        1. while he was at it,
        2. Saul decided that he could use
          1. the best of the sheep, oxen, fatlings, lambs, and
          2. anything that he liked and wanted.
    3. However, if it did not appeal to him, he destroyed it.
      1. If you get plans to build a house with
        1. three bedrooms and
        2. two bathrooms, but
          1. you do not like the location of
          2. one of the bedrooms and one of the bathrooms,
            1. how many times did you follow the plans?
            2. Twice for the two other bedrooms, and once for the other bathroom?
      2. You did not follow the plans at all.
        1. It just so happened that the plans
        2. suited your taste.
          1. So it was with Saul.
          2. He did not obey the Lord at all, but
            1. did whatever he wanted to do, and
            2. it happened to coincide with what the Lord wanted in a few cases.
  3. First Samuel 15.10–23 – Justification for Partial Obedience

    10 Now the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night. 12 So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.” 13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak on.” 17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”

    22 So Samuel said:

    “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
    As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
    Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
    And to heed than the fat of rams.
    23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
    And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
    Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
    He also has rejected you from being king.”

    1. What a sad statement the Lord made about Saul in verse 11.
      1. It made Samuel very sad.
      2. He did not sleep that night, but
        1. grieved all night,
        2. crying out to the Lord all night!
    2. The Lord regretted having made Saul king, but
      1. Saul does not seem too disappointed to be king
      2. since he set up a monument for himself!
        1. Does this sound like the same man who would not tell his uncle about Samuel anointing him as the king of Israel?
        2. Does this sound like the same man who hid himself among the baggage when it was time to reveal him as the king?
    3. Saul truly thought that he had obeyed the Lord, but
      1. Samuel wanted to know why he heard the sound of livestock.
      2. Saul explained, according to verse 15,
        1. that he and the people saved the livestock
        2. to sacrifice to the Lord,
          1. making it sound so noble.
          2. The Lord said to kill all the livestock, but
            1. Saul thought he had a better idea.
            2. He would honor the Lord with sacrifices.
    4. After Samuel reminded Saul of how he was little in his own eyes, and
      1. the Lord made him king of Israel,
      2. that the Lord sent him on a mission with clear instructions,
        1. he still insisted that he had obeyed the Lord,
        2. although he had kept the best livestock and kept Agag alive.
    5. Saul did not have the mind of the Lord.
      1. The Lord was not hungry for livestock sacrifices.
      2. He did not love blood.

        10 “For every beast of the forest is Mine,
        And the cattle on a thousand hills.
        11 I know all the birds of the mountains,
        And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
        12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you;
        For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.
        13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls,
        Or drink the blood of goats?
        14 Offer to God thanksgiving,
        And pay your vows to the Most High.”
        (Psa 50.10–14)

        1. He wanted obedience, because
        2. obedience says He has the best way.
          1. However, Saul had rebelled and become stubborn.
          2. Since he rejected the Lord, the Lord rejected him.
  4. First Samuel 15.24–28 – Someone Better

    24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” 26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28 So Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.”

    1. Saul confessed his sin, but
      1. something seemed wrong with his confession,
      2. especially when he grabbed Samuel’s robe and tore it.
    2. How would you feel if the Lord had rejected you?
      1. I cannot think of anything more horrifying than the Lord rejecting me.
      2. Let the world, my friends, my family, and my church reject me, but
        1. please do not let the Lord reject me, for then
        2. I will have lost everything.
  5. First Samuel 15.29–31 – Which Should Concern Us More?

    29 “And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.” 30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.

    1. This formerly humble man only thought of receiving honor before the people.
    2. Once arrogance, and later jealousy and envy entered the heart of this man,
      1. he was on his way down, and
      2. he would stay down, because
        1. he never got it.
        2. He never understood true spirituality.

          12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
          And before honor is humility.
          (Pro 18.12)

          1. You will or have already become good at what you do.
          2. Remember from whom you have received your ability.
            1. Never become arrogant.
            2. Always be humble.
  6. First Samuel 15.32–34 – Samuel Finished the Job

    32 Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.” So Agag came to him cautiously. And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. 34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul.

    1. Saul should have done this, but
    2. Samuel, an old man, had to do it.
      1. He knew of Agag’s evil, and
      2. he knew of the Lord’s command.
        1. Therefore, he did not hesitate
        2. to hack Agag into pieces.
  7. First Samuel 15.35 – The Object of the Lord’s Regret

    35 And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

    1. Now that is a sad passage from the Bible.
    2. Imagine
      1. if a man of God did not want to see you anymore,
      2. he mourned for you, and
      3. the Lord regretted having put you in some privileged position.
    3. These things should have driven Saul
      1. to deep mourning for his sin, and
      2. to a changed life.
  8. First Samuel 16.1–3 – Stop Mourning

    1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.”

    1. The Lord completely gave up on Saul, because
      1. he lost his humility and
      2. became arrogant, and
        1. was only concerned with
        2. how he looked before the people.
    2. However, what impresses the Lord is what we are on the inside.
  9. First Samuel 16.4–7 – The Lord Looks at the Heart

    4 So Samuel did what the Lord said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

    1. Saul had impressed Samuel with his appearance, and
      1. he still seemed to be impressed with physical appearance.
      2. That is a hard thing for us to break, is it not?
        1. What we see is the body, the face, but
        2. we cannot see the spirit.
          1. Therefore, we judge people according to appearance.
          2. However, Jesus taught,

            24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7.24).
    2. The Lord looks at the heart.
      1. We can eventually see what is in the heart
      2. by the words and things that a person does.
        1. Kind of like with Saul.
        2. His life showed that his corrupted heart.
  10. First Samuel 16.8–13 – The Man After God’s Own Heart

    8 So Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

    1. Samuel had to wait for the Lord’s direction.
    2. Samuel had tried to guess the one whom the Lord had chosen, but
      1. the Lord would anoint the proper man for the job.
      2. That does not mean the man could not turn out bad, for
        1. we saw that happen with Saul, and
        2. everyone is a sinner.
    3. David became the new king, and
      1. he was good-looking, but
      2. remember why the Lord chose David.
        1. David had a good-looking heart.
        2. From that time on, the Spirit of the Lord was upon David.
  11. First Samuel 16.14–23 – David Entered Royal Court Life

    14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him. 15 And Saul’s servants said to him, “Surely, a distressing spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Let our master now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. And it shall be that he will play it with his hand when the distressing spirit from God is upon you, and you shall be well.” 17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.” 18 Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” 19 Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat, and sent them by his son David to Saul. 21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer. 22 Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

    1. Saul had no idea that he just invited right into the royal court,
    2. the next king of Israel, but
      1. the next king was an honorable man,
      2. who would not do a thing to harm Saul.
    3. I read a book called, How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.
      1. It was a good book.
      2. The author, Michael Gelb, showed why Leonardo was the greatest genius of all time.
        1. The writer listed great geniuses of the past, starting with number 10:
          1. Albert Einstein
          2. Phidias (architect of Athens)
          3. Alexander the Great
          4. Thomas Jefferson
          5. Sir Isaac Newton
          6. Michelangelo
          7. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German writer and statesman)
          8. The Great Pyramid Builders
          9. William Shakespeare
          10. Leonardo da Vinci, who excelled, not in one intelligence as the others, but seven:
            1. Logical-Mathematical
            2. Verbal-Linguistic
            3. Spatial-Mechanical
            4. Musical
            5. Bodily-Kinesthetic
            6. Interpersonal-Social
            7. Intrapersonal (Self-knowledge)
    4. I wrote to Michael Gelb and told him why I thought
      1. David could also be listed as one of the greatest geniuses of all time.
      2. He did not excel in one field only, but
        1. in seven fields:
        2. one of which we find in our text,
          1. that is, music, and
          2. knowledge,
          3. combat,
          4. poetry,
          5. faith,
          6. leadership, and
          7. family.
            1. Mr. Gelb seemed intrigued by my suggestions.
            2. Whatever David’s intelligence(s) might have been,
              1. he excelled more than anything
              2. in having a heart like God’s.


  1. God wants us to think as He does. 
    1. He wants us to see as He does.
    2. He wants us to be as He is.
      1. He is holy.
      2. For us to be holy means so much to Him,
        1. that the death of Jesus happened,
        2. that we might be holiness of God in Jesus.