The LORD looks at the heart
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7 NKJV
So He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is prized among men is detestable before God.
You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
And they prayed, “Lord, You know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two You have chosen
but He had no regard for Cain and his offering. So Cain became very angry, and his countenance fell.
1 Samuel 2:3
Do not boast so proudly, or let arrogance come from your mouth, for the LORD is a God who knows, and by Him actions are weighed.
2 Samuel 7:20
What more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord GOD.
1 Kings 8:39
be heard by You from heaven, Your dwelling place. And may You forgive and act, and repay each man according to all his ways, since You know his heart–for You alone know the hearts of all men–
1 Chronicles 28:9
As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve Him wholeheartedly and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought.
If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.
Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD–how much more the hearts of men!
All a man’s ways are pure in his own eyes, but his motives are weighed by the LORD.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know about this,” will not He who weighs hearts consider it? Does not the One who guards your life know? Will He not repay a man according to his deeds?
But, O LORD of Hosts, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and mind, let me see Your vengeance upon them, for I have committed my cause to You.
I, the LORD, search the heart; I test the mind to reward a man according to his way, by what his deeds deserve.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
But the Lord said to Samuel,…. By a secret impulse upon his mind, as if he had spoken with an articulate voice to him:
look not on his countenance; which was comely and majestic:
or on the height of his stature; which was like that of Saul’s; and because the Lord had chosen him, who was superior to the people in this respect, Samuel thought he meant to have such an one now anointed king:
because I have refused him; or it is not my pleasure that he should be king; though Ben Gersom thinks this refers to Saul, that the Lord had rejected him, though of an high stature, and therefore Samuel should not look out for such a person to be king; and Abarbinel refers it to the height of stature itself, that God had rejected that, and laid it aside as a qualification of a king, or as a rule to judge of a proper person to be a king; but no doubt it respected Eliab:
for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; man only sees what is without, but the Lord sees what is within; only the outward visible form of the body is seen by man, but the inward qualifications and endowments of the mind are seen by the Lord:
for man looketh on the outward appearance; the comeliness of a man’s person, the majesty of his countenance, the height of his stature, and size of his body, things which recommended men to be kings among the nations of the world; See Gill on 1 Samuel 9:2, or “to the eyes” (a); the liveliness, and briskness, and sharpness of them, thereby to judge of the sagacity and penetration of the mind, as physiognomists do; who guess at the disposition of men by them, when they are small or great, watery or dry, of this or the other colour (b):
but the Lord looketh on the heart; and knows what is in that, what wisdom and prudence, justice and integrity, mercy and goodness, and other princely qualifications are in that. The Jewish writers conclude from hence that the heart of Eliab was not right; it may be, full of wrath, pride, envy, &c. which disqualified him for government.
(a) “ad oculos”, Montanus. (b) Vid. Schotti Thaumaturg. Physic. par. 4. l. 7. c. 8.
Matthew Henry Commentary
16:6-13 It was strange that Samuel, who had been so disappointed in Saul, whose countenance and stature recommended him, should judge of another man by that rule. We can tell how men look, but God can tell what they are. He judges of men by the heart. We often form a mistaken judgment of characters; but the Lord values only the faith, fear, and love, which are planted in the heart, beyond human discernment. And God does not favour our children according to our fond partiality, but often most honours and blesses those who have been least regarded. David at length was pitched upon. He was the youngest of the sons of Jesse; his name signifies Beloved; he was a type of God’s beloved Son. It should seem, David was least set by of all the sons of Jesse. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. His anointing was not an empty ceremony, a Divine power went with that instituted sign; he found himself advanced in wisdom and courage, with all the qualifications of a prince, though not advanced in his outward circumstances. This would satisfy him that his election was of God. The best evidence of our being predestinated to the kingdom of glory, is, our being sealed with the Spirit of promise, and experience of a work of grace in our hearts.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary
According to the Bible, the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. “Heart” and “soul” are often used interchangeably (Deuteronomy 6:5; 26:16; Comp. Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30, 33), but this is not generally the case.
The heart is the “home of the personal life,” and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise (1 Kings 3:12, etc.), pure (Psalm 24:4; Matthew 5:8, etc.), upright and righteous (Genesis 20:5, 6; Psalm 11:2; 78:72), pious and good (Luke 8:15), etc. In these and such passages the word “soul” could not be substituted for “heart.”
The heart is also the seat of the conscience (Romans 2:15). It is naturally wicked (Genesis 8:21), and hence it contaminates the whole life and character (Matthew 12:34; 15:18; Comp. Ecclesiastes 8:11; Psalm 73:7). Hence the heart must be changed, regenerated (Ezek. 36:26; 11:19; Psalm 51:10-14), before a man can willingly obey God.
The process of salvation begins in the heart by the believing reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart (Psalm 95:8; Proverbs 28:14; 2 Chronicles 36:13). “Hardness of heart evidences itself by light views of sin; partial acknowledgment and confession of it; pride and conceit; ingratitude; unconcern about the word and ordinances of God; inattention to divine providences; stifling convictions of conscience; shunning reproof; presumption, and general ignorance of divine things
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
hart (lebh, lebhabh; kardia): The different senses in which the word occurs in the Old Testament and the New Testament may be grouped under the following heads:
- Various Meanings:
It represents in the first place the bodily organ, and by easy transition those experiences which affect or are affected by the body. Fear, love, courage, anger, Joy, sorrow, hatred are always ascribed to the heart-especially in the Old Testament; thus courage for which usually ruach is used (Psalm 27:14); joy (Psalm 4:7); anger (Deuteronomy 19:6, “while his heart is hot,” lebhabh); fear (1 Samuel 25:37); sorrow (Psalm 13:2), etc.
Hence, naturally it came to stand for the man himself (Deuteronomy 7:17; “say in thine heart,” Isaiah 14:13).
- Heart and Personality:
As representing the man himself, it was considered to be the seat of the emotions and passions and appetites (Genesis 18:5 Leviticus 19:17 Psalm 104:15), and embraced likewise the intellectual and moral faculties-though these are necessarily ascribed to the “soul” as well. This distinction is not always observed.
- Soul and Heart:
“Soul” in Hebrew can never be rendered by “heart”; nor can “heart” be considered as a synonym for “soul.” Cremer has well observed: “The Hebrew nephesh (“soul”) is never translated kardia (“heart”).. The range of the Hebrew nephesh, to which the Greek psuche alone corresponds, differs so widely from the ideas connected with psuche, that utter confusion would have ensued had psuche been employed in an unlimited degree for lebh (“heart”). The Biblical lebh never, like psuche, denotes the personal subject, nor could it do so. That which in classical Greek is ascribed to psuche (a good soul, a just soul, etc.) is in the Bible ascribed to the heart alone and cannot be otherwise” (Cremer, Lexicon, article “Kardia,” 437, German edition).
- Center of Vital Action:
In the heart vital action is centered (1 Kings 21:7). “Heart,” except as a bodily organ, is never ascribed to animals, as is the case sometimes with nephesh and ruach (Leviticus 17:11, nephesh; Genesis 2:19 Numbers 16:22 Genesis 7:22, ruach). “Heart” is thus often used interchangeably with these two (Genesis 41:8 Psalm 86:4; Psalm 119:20); but “it never denotes the personal subject, always the personal organ.”
- Heart and Mind:
center of its moral, spiritual, intellectual life. “In particular the heart is the place in which the process of self-consciousness is carried out, in which the soul is at home with itself, and is conscious of all its doing and suffering as its own” (Oehler). Hence, it is that men of “courage” are called “men of the heart”; that the Lord is said to speak “in his heart” (Genesis 8:21); that men “know in their own heart” (Deuteronomy 8:5); that “no one considereth in his heart’ (Isaiah 44:19 the King James Version). “Heart” in this connection is sometimes rendered “mind,” as in Numbers 16:28 (“of mine own mind,” Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) ex proprio corde, Septuagint ap’ emautou); the foolish “is void of understanding,” i.e. “heart” (Proverbs 6:32, where the Septuagint renders phrenon, Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) cordis, Luther “der ist ein Narr”). God is represented as “searching the heart” and “trying the reins” (Jeremiah 17:10 the King James Version). Thus, “heart” comes to stand for “conscience,” for which there is no word in Hebrew, as in Job 27:6, “My heart shall not reproach me,” or in 1 Samuel 24:5, “David’s heart smote him”; compare 1 Samuel 25:31. From this it appears, in the words of Owen: “The heart in Scripture is variously used, sometimes for the mind and understanding, sometimes for the will, sometimes for the affections, sometimes for the conscience, sometimes for the whole soul. Generally, it denotes the whole soul of man and all the faculties of it, not absolutely, but as they are all one principle of moral operations, as they all concur in our doing of good and evil.”
- Figurative Senses:
The radical corruption of human nature is clearly taught in Scripture and brought into connection with the heart. It is “uncircumcised” (Jeremiah 9:26 Ezekiel 44:7; compare Acts 7:51); and “hardened” (Exodus 4:21); “wicked” (Proverbs 26:23); “perverse” (Proverbs 11:20); “godless” (Job 36:13); “deceitful and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9 the King James Version). It defiles the whole man (Matthew 15:19, 20); resists, as in the case of Pharaoh, the repeated call of God (Exodus 7:13). There, however, the law of God is written (Romans 2:15); there the work of grace is wrought (Acts 15:9), for the “heart” may be “renewed” by grace (Ezekiel 36:26), because the “heart” is the seat of sin (Genesis 6:5; Genesis 8:21).
- Process of Heart Renewal:
This process of heart-renewal is indicated in various ways. It is the removal of a “stony heart” (Ezekiel 11:19). The heart becomes “clean” (Psalm 51:10); “fixed” (Psalm 112:7) through “the fear” of the Lord (verse 1); “With the heart man believeth” (Romans 10:10); on the “heart” the power of God is exercised for renewal (Jeremiah 31:33). To God the bereaved apostles pray as a knower of the heart (Acts 1:24 Acts 15:8, kardiognostes). In the “heart” God’s Spirit dwells with might (Ephesians 3:16, eis ton eso anthropon); in the “heart” God’s love is poured forth (Romans 5:5). The Spirit of His son has been “sent forth into the heart” (Galatians 4:6); the “earnest of the Spirit” has been given “in the heart” (2 Corinthians 1:22). In the work of grace, therefore, the heart occupies a position almost unique.
- The Heart First:
We might also refer here to the command, on which both the Old Testament and New Testament revelation of love is based: “Thou shalt love Yahweh thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5); where “heart” always takes the first place, and is the term which in the New Testament rendering remains unchanged (compare Matthew 22:37 Mark 12:30, 33 Luke 10:27, where “heart” always takes precedence).
- A Term for “Deepest”:
A bare reference may be made to the employment of the term for that which is innermost, hidden, deepest in anything (Exodus 15:8 Jonah 2:3), the very center of things. This we find in all languages. Compare Ephesians 3:16, 17, “in the inward man,” as above.
J. I. Marais
We are made up of both physical and invisible attributes. It is amazing to consider that the heart is the core of both. We see here in Leviticus 17:14, “For the life of all flesh is its blood.” The heart is the center of this operation. It is blood that connects our organs and carries life and the heart the pumps it.
In a spiritual realm one’s heart must be given to God. It is blood that brings cleansing and atones. Blood of lambs and all kinds of animals were sacrificed and made as offerings. Jesus was and is the ultimate Lamb and everlasting sacrifice by His precious blood poured out for us on the cross. Yet the heart must believe in the blood.
The intersection of these two realms is the act of communion. Read what Jesus stated emphatically here: So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
In another “Truly, truly (of extreme importance)…we see here n John 3:5-6, Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
The heart touches the spirit and flesh.
The invisible heart is more than feelings as the Bible is concerned. It is the core our our being. It is the place of will, deep thoughts, emotions and soul. This is the place where God’s Spirit touches our spirit.
Our heart is amazing vast and has its dark and wicked spots which only God can cleanse.
I encourage you to read My heart, Christ’s home by Munger what a vivid portrait this is. Here is a brief video that is on YouTube, the quality isnt the greatest but it sure makes the point.
10 BIBLE VERSES FOR SPIRITUAL HEART HEALTH
“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath; there is none else.”
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
1 Samuel 13:14
“Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.”
From Luke 10:27 the Greatest Commandment from Jesus is to love the Lord will all our heart!
Hebrews 13:20: Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.