The world gets faster and faster every day. And when you’re a 26-year-old single guy in 2015, that acceleration has changed the way dating works. In recent years, online dating has risen and become much more commonplace. A couple of years ago I took my first chance making a couple of accounts on a couple of different websites that promised to help match me with my perfect companion. Well, unfortunately, I didn’t find her online. But I learned a lot in the process. Every morning these sites would send me profiles of potential matches with a quick glance of information: likes, dislikes, height, occupation, etc. It was helpful information, but I found myself drawing conclusions about these people’s character because of bullet points. Unfortunately, people are much more complicated than we can tell from first impressions.
David’s story in the Bible started a lot like this. The prophet Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to find Israel’s next king from among Jesse’s sons. He arrives at Jesse’s home and immediately Jesse brings out his oldest son, Eliab. Samuel takes one look at him and knows he’s found his man. Eliab is strong and good-looking and confident. In short, he’s everything Samuel thought a king should be. But God stops Samuel. “You’re looking for all the wrong things,” God warns. Jesse presents son after son who all look the part, but for one reason or another, they’re not quite right. All out of options, Samuel asks if there are any more sons in the house. “There’s one,” Jesse replied, “but you can’t mean David. He’s my youngest and he’s out tending the sheep.” David was the last person anyone would expect to be king. Jesse didn’t even bother having him there to introduce him to Samuel.
Luckily, God sees past first impressions and prioritizes things a little differently than we do. When we follow God, it’s likely that God is going to lead us places we didn’t expect and into the paths of people we never would have chosen to interact with. When we follow God, it’s likely things will get more complicated and we’ll learn to see further than simply skin-deep.