|artwork by Krista Hamrick|
NASB: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Heart, kardia, does not refer to the physical organ, but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will.
While kardia does represent the inner person, the seat of motives and attitudes, the center of personality, in Scripture it represents much more than emotion, feelings. It also includes the thinking process and particularly the will. For example, in Proverbs we are told, “As (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Jesus asked a group of scribes, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts?” (Matthew 9:4). The heart is the control center of mind and will, as well as emotion.
The Scottish writer John Eadie writes, “The “heart” belongs to the “inner man,” is the organ of perception as well as of emotion; the centre of spiritual as it is physically of animal life.”
Pastor John MacArthur commenting on kardia writes, “While we often relate heart to the emotions (e.g., “He has a broken heart”), the Bible relates it primarily to the intellect (e.g., “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders,” Matt 15:19). That’s why you must “watch over your heart with all diligence” (Proverbs 4:23). In a secondary way, however, heart relates to the will and emotions because they are influenced by the intellect. If you are committed to something, it will affect your will, which in turn will affect your emotions.”
Heavenly Father, I am so grateful that when You look at me, You see my heart covered by the blood of Jesus...You give me a heart which yearns for Your Presence, a yearning for You that draws me over and over into Your Presence, a yearning that makes only a few days without time in prayer and Your Word seem like an eternity. You give me a heart which is motivated first and foremost by a desire for You, not for what You can do for me, but a yearning for Your Presence. You give me a heart that wants You more than anything else You could give, to love You and know You more than anything in life. You give me a heart that takes what You have made known to me and makes You re-known to everyone else, a heart that makes Your name and renown the desire of my heart. You give me a heart to feel Your Holy Spirit woo me once again to the place where I meet You. In the simplicity of my prayer time, You give me a heart to be suddenly confronted by the majesty of my Redeemer—the One Who is responsible for any good in me. Lord, each morning, You give me a heart that welcomes Your fresh mercies which fall like manna from Heaven, and once again move my heart. I gratefully surrender all. Morning after morning.
Look Up—meditate on 1 Samuel 16:7