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The Inner is not the Outer...
Marc Chagall -Detail

The Inner is not the Outer

Divine Transposition and Perception

by John J. Parsons

Hebrew Text

"For man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart"
(1 Sam. 16:7)

WHEN THE PROPHET SAMUEL WAS COMMANDED to anoint Israel's next king from among the sons of Jesse, he was admonished not to be distracted by the outward form and superficialities that mark the way of men and their vanities. After being initially impressed with the looks of Jesse's firstborn son Eliab, the LORD said: "Do not look on his appearance or the height of his stature..." Why? Because God delights to choose the least likely of candidates to confound those who are esteemed in their own eyes: "For it is not as a man sees - for man looks "for the eyes," but the LORD looks "for the heart." Therefore it was David - the youngest son, the overlooked, the lowly family servant covered with schmutz from tending the sheep - who was chosen; it was David who had the "beautiful eyes," that is, who had eyes of faith to behold the goodness of the LORD (1 Sam. 16:12). God turns everything upside down: what is big in this world is small in the world to come, and vice-versa.

A principle of spiritual life is that the "inner is not the outer," and vice-versa. People are easily deceived by mere appearances, yet the eye of faith must be trained to look beyond surface phenomena to discern the underlying Reality that upholds the world. This is perhaps most evident in the case of the cross of Yeshua, which the carnal eye regards as a matter of shame and defeat, but the eye of faith regards as the very wisdom, power, and love of Almighty God Himself...

Those who rely on mere appearances will invariably find themselves confounded. The LORD therefore commissioned the prophet: "Go, and say to this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive'" (Isa. 6:9). Where it is written, "God gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own devices" (Psalm 81:12; Rom. 1:24); and "they went backward and not forward" (Jer. 7:24), we learn there is no place of "neutrality" or studied indifference toward God... We are either going forward with Him or going backward; we are either drawing near or pulling our hearts away (Rev. 3:16).

"For God so loved the world" that He became entirely unesteemed -- "despised and rejected of men, a man of pains, acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3) – so that he could taste rejection, sorrow, pain, and death for every man (Heb. 2:9). "For our sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21). It was the love of God that put Yeshua on the Cross, and because of Yeshua, God exchanges our inner hell and abandonment with His everlasting love and acceptance.

נִבְזֶה וַחֲדַל אִישִׁים
 אִישׁ מַכְאבוֹת וִידוּעַ חלִי
 וּכְמַסְתֵּר פָּנִים מִמֶּנּוּ
 נִבְזֶה וְלא חֲשַׁבְנֻהוּ

niv·zeh · va·cha·dal · i·shim
ish · makh·o·vot · vi·du·a · cho·li
u·khe·mas·ter · pa·nim · mim·me·nu
niv·zeh · ve·lo · cha·shav·nu·hu

"He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
and we hid, as it were our faces from Him.
He was despised and we esteemed him not"
(Isa. 53:3)

Chagall Detail

Hebrew-English Transliteration:

Hebrew Transliteration

ki ha'adam yireh la'einayim, vadonai yireh lalevav

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