Friday, May 27, 2011

1 Samuel 2:27-36

27 Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to the family of your ancestor when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? 28 I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites. 29 Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’

30 “Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that the members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. 31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of the members of your family, so that no one in it will reach old age, 32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age. 33 Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.

34 “‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. 35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his family line, and he will minister before my anointed one always. 36 Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.”’”

Questions to consider:

  • How would you respond to this announcement if you were Eli?
  • Were you surprised that God accused Eli of honoring his sons more than God? What do you think of that statement?
  • What has God promised to do to Eli's family line? Why is this punishment being given?
  • Who do you think the "faithful priest" that God mentions will be?

Possibilities for prayer:

Wow. Those were some pretty harsh words conveyed to Eli. They would have been difficult for me to take. We learned yesterday that Eli's sons were not very godly men, God's proclamation here still feels a little bit hard to swallow.

There is still the hint of redemption here, however. Even though things don't look so great for Eli's family, there is the promise of something new, in the form of the "faithful priest" that God will raise up. This little indication of redemption gives me hope, and helps me see the compassionate and loving God with whom I am familiar from my readings of the Old Testament. Let's take some time in prayer today to thank God for his power to redeem things, and people, that often appear quite broken.