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Looking Good

by David Treybig

Just how important is it that you look good? Given the fact that others often judge us by our appearance, the way we look does matter. As we all know, many today go to great lengths in order to fit in. But how does our society's obsession with the shapes of our bodies, our clothing and the latest hairstyles square with the Word of God? Does God care? Should we? An ancient example from the Bible provides insight.

CrowdApproximately three thousand years ago, the prophet Samuel's visit to Bethlehem caused quite a stir. The elders of the city "trembled at his coming" and wondered if this man of God was coming peaceably (1 Samuel 16:4). Assuring them that they had nothing to fear, the honorable prophet told them part of the reason for his visit—to hold a special sacrifice. This event would be by invitation only, and an invitation was offered to Jesse and his sons (verses 3-5).

What Samuel hadn't told anyone was that he was also on a mission from God to anoint one of Jesse's sons to succeed Saul as king over Israel. As Samuel carefully looked over the six sons of Jesse who had come to the sacrifice, his eye fell on Eliab—a tall, good-looking young man whom Samuel immediately suspected was the one God had in mind.

As part of the instructions for attending, those invited had been told to "sanctify" themselves (verse 5). To sanctify something means to prepare or treat it as holy. When the Israelites sanctified themselves before receiving the Ten Commandments, one of the things they did was wash their clothes (Exodus 19:14). Since Samuel had instructed everyone attending the sacrifice to sanctify himself, Eliab had probably taken a bath, washed his clothes and maybe even gotten a haircut so he would look sharp. And as some people might say, "He cleaned up pretty good." Anyway, Samuel was impressed by Eliab's appearance.

As impressive as Eliab looked, he wasn't the one God had chosen. As God told 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" (verse 7). Undoubtedly, God respected the fact that Eliab had carefully groomed himself for this occasion, but as we will see, God was also looking for something else.

After considering the six sons of Jesse who attended the sacrifice, God told Samuel that He hadn't selected any of these. So Samuel asked if this was all of Jesse's sons. Jesse then said that he had one more son—David, his youngest—who wasn't there because he was taking care of their sheep. Samuel immediately asked to see David as well. When David arrived, Samuel saw that "he was ruddy [with reddish hair or complexion], with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, 'Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!'" (verse 12, emphasis mine).

Other scriptures tell us that what God so admired about David was his heart (1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Kings 11:4). But did you notice that David, as the previous scripture says, was also "good-looking"? God selected a man to succeed Saul who had a good heart and who had a pleasing appearance. To God, David looked good on the outside and the inside.

In this issue of Youth United, we want to help young people become more like King David in the sense of honoring God through their thoughts and their appearance. Respecting our Creator starts on the inside—from the way we think about Him. When we honor God from the inside, we will also want to honor Him in the way we appear to others. Both concepts go hand in hand. Addressing this very concept, we begin with an article titled, "What Your Appearance Says About You."

Pierced Person Continuing the theme of how we present ourselves to others, we then offer articles titled, "You Want to Pierce Your What?" and "Pornography: 'Adult' Entertainment Is Definitely Not for Adults—or Youth." Realizing that to some extent, we all follow others' examples, the article, "Who Would You Follow?," helps us decide on role models. Then comes a self-explanatory article titled, "Treating People (Including the Opposite Sex) With Respect."

This issue's article on education features some amazing principles that almost guarantee that a young person will be financially successful. Be sure to read, "Predicting Your Success" to learn how you can significantly boost your odds of being successful.

In the personal relationship arena, we have a sobering and instructive real-life story in which Michelle Zollner tells her story of dating and then breaking off a relationship with a young man who didn't share her Christian beliefs. Finally, this issue concludes with "Q & A" comprised of answers to specific questions from young people.

We hope you enjoy and profit from reading this issue. It is the hope of our staff that this information will help each of you look good to God on both the inside and the outside. YU



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