There is a proverb in my native Yoruba Language that goes like this: “All lizards crawl on their bellies; but we do not know which ones have belly aches.” This means that by looking at what is on the outside it is not possible to tell what is on the inside.

It is not uncommon to make decisions based on outward appearances or on what we see on the surface. Yet we cannot tell who a person is by merely looking at them.

In the bible, even the prophet Samuel, as revered as he was; as spot on with his prophesies as he was and as used mightily by God as he was; still made a faux pas when God sent him to Jesse’s home to anoint the next king of Israel in place of king Saul who had messed up. He made a decision based on what he saw and would have proceeded to anoint the wrong person had God not intervened. “When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.’ But the LORD said 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: 6-7 NIV

David was the youngest son of Jesse and probably in the eyes of his father and of Samuel, he was the least qualified to be anointed king. Jesse had not even seen fit to ask him to come to the sacrifice. David had been left alone to tend the sheep. But God saw beyond the height and stature of Eliab as impressive as they were. He saw the kind, caring, generous heart of David. When David came in from where he had been with the sheep no doubt he might have been sweaty and maybe even a little smelly but God paid no attention to all that. “So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the LORD said ‘This is the one; anoint him.’” 1 Samuel 16:12 NLT

The LORD knew the hearts of all David’s brothers and He did not bother to choose anyone of them to be king. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 NLT

Nobody sees the heart of another. Therefore we must not trust our visual perception in making choices and decisions. We must trust God alone who sees and knows everything to guide us and order our steps. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. Proverbs 3: 5-7 KJV

Whether it is the choice of outfit to wear or to what neighborhood to live, to what schools our children should attend or to the choice of a life partner, it behooves us to seek the face of God and allow God Himself to make the choice for us. When the disciples sought a replacement for Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus, they did not trust their own wisdom. They asked God. “And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen.” Acts 1: 24 KJV