But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.Matthew 4:1
Saul looked like a king: The most handsome in all of Israel and a head taller than everyone else (1 Samuel 9:2).
But under pressure, when tested, his true character was revealed. On the day of his inauguration, he went missing and was found “hiding in the baggage” (1 Samuel 10:22). And when the Philistine warrior Goliath taunted the LORD and his people, Saul sat and watched.
God rejected Saul as king: Impressive on the outside, faint of heart on the inside.
Jesus was led by the Spirit of God to the wilderness to be tempted – peirazo.
The first Greek historian, Herodotus (484-425BC), wrote about spies going into a city to look for weaknesses in its fortifications. They reported back to the general so a battle plan could be drawn up. The spies were sent to “peirazo whether the city could be taken.”
Metallurgists in antiquity would also peirazo metals to determine what they truly were. Their tests revealed whether what was before them was precious treasure or just shiny pieces of junk?
God sent Jesus into the wilderness to be evaluated by the devil. The devil’s aim was to search out and exploit weaknesses in the would-be-king’s character. But God’s aim was to reveal the character of Jesus, to authenticate that he was truly the Christ, the rightful King of Israel.
Jesus didn’t look like much to human eyes: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2). But the LORD looks on the heart. The wilderness brings the heart into view.
• What is this wilderness revealing about me today?
LORD, here in the wilderness, reveal our hearts to us.
Faithful God, fortify our hearts: Continually remake our thoughts, feelings, and desires to be more like Christ’s.
When the Tempter comes to spy and to destroy, may we be authenticated as genuine and precious.