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People Look at the Outside, but God Looks at the Heart

To help children look beyond the surface of people

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To help children look beyond the surface of people.

Preparation and materials

  • You might like to look up the Bible reference: 1 Samuel 16.1-13.
  • As you tell the story, ask your volunteers to enact it.

Assembly

  1. Begin by recruiting ‘actors’ to help you tell the story. You will need Samuel, Jesse, Eliab, Abinadab, Shammah, David and four unnamed people. Jesse here is male, as are all the named characters, so you might like to use girls for those without names, or go in for some creative cross-casting!
  2. Tell the story.

    A long time ago, in a country called Israel, there lived a man called Samuel (steps forward). Samuel was a prophet. Do you know what ‘a prophet’ means? It doesn’t mean ‘making money’ or someone who sees the future; in this context, a prophet is someone who can hear, and speak for, God. Samuel was God’s prophet.

    Now Israel had a king called Saul, but Saul had got big-headed about being king, and God was fed up with the way he was behaving.

    So God told Samuel the prophet to go to Bethlehem – yes, the same place as where Jesus would be born – to see a man called Jesse. (Place Jesse a distance away, and take Samuel on a walk to get to Jesse.)

    Jesse had eight sons (bring on the remaining actors except for David) and Samuel asked to see each one of them separately. God had said to Samuel that one of these boys was to be the next king, after Saul. God would tell Samuel which one it was to be.

    Samuel looked at Eliab (bring Eliab forward). Eliab was tall, and ever so good-looking. Samuel thought, ‘This must be the one.’

    But God said, ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart.’ (Eliab steps back. Carry on with sons stepping forward and back as their turn arrives.)

    So Samuel moved on to Abinadab, and he was handsome too. Once again, Samuel thought, ‘This must be the one.’

    But God said, ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart.’

    So Samuel moved on to Shammah and he was handsome too. Once again, Samuel thought, ‘This must be the one.’

    But God said, ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart.’

    So Samuel moved on to the next one, and he was handsome too. Once again, Samuel thought, ‘This must be the one.

    But God said, ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart.’

    So Samuel moved on to the next one, and he was handsome too. Once again, Samuel thought, ‘This must be the one.’

    But God said, ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart.’

    So Samuel moved on to the next one, and he was handsome too. Once again, Samuel thought, ‘This must be the one.’

    But God said, ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart.’

    So Samuel moved on to the next one, and he was handsome too. Once again, Samuel thought, ‘This must be the one.’

    But God said, ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart.’

    So Samuel thought, ‘What is God doing here?!’

    Samuel asked Jesse: ‘Is this it? Have you any more sons?’

    Jesse did have another son. David was off looking after the sheep. So Jesse sent for David. (David walks forward.)

    When Samuel looked at David he thought, ‘He must be the one.’

    And God said, ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart. And this boy’s heart is good and he wants to do what is right. He’s the one.’

    So Samuel poured oil on David’s head to anoint him, and said that one day, David would be king.

    Then David went back to his sheep, and Samuel went home.

    By the way, David was also tall and really good-looking, but we know that God chose him not because he was tall and good-looking, but because ‘People look at the outside, but God looks at the heart’.

Time for reflection

Reflection:

Do you take time to get to know what people are really like or do you just look on the outside and make snap judgements?

 

Prayer:
Dear God,
Help us to look beyond the outside, and see people as you do.
Amen.

Song/music

‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: May 2005   (Vol.7 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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