So this morning I was reading my Bible in 1 Samuel about Hannah wanting a child and getting pregnant and because God answered her prayers she gave him to the priest, Eli, to raise him up. I continued to read about how Eli’s own sons were misusing offerings (a big deal) and sleeping with different women and the door of the tabernacle (again, a big deal). It goes on to say how Eli honoured his sons over God by allowing them to continue on with their sins (chapter 2 vs. 29). Chapter 3:1-18 is the part of this story that spoke to my heart.
And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
4 That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
6 And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him.
8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.
15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
So, the Lord is going to punish Eli and his sons for the sins they have committed against God. (By the way, his son’s sins affected not only themselves, but their dad and wives and offspring too.. your sins have an affect on more people than you realize.)
When Eli hears what God had told Samuel, his reaction spoke to my heart. He didn’t weep, or try to bargain his way out of it. He didn’t argue or get angry at God, he accepted it. More than that, he praised God with his response. He acknowledged that God knows what is good.
If I had just been told that I was going to die early because of sins my sons committed and because I didn’t stop them, I would not have replied like Eli.
I mean, how many times have I prayed for God’s will, yet didn’t want to hear it because I was afraid it would go against my will…. Yes Lord, I want to follow you and do what you want and praise you but only if the outcome is what I have planned.
Sure, Eli obviously had major family issues, but his response showed a heart of humility, and obedience. When God chastises me, do I say He knows what is best because He is good. Or do I pout and feel bad for myself then give excuses for my behavior.
Yes Lord, You know what is good, chastise me according to how you see fit. What strength it took to say those words. Strength that can only come from one who trust God wholeheartedly and wants His will.