May 23, 2023
“Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy served the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest. Eli’s sons were wicked men...”
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“Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy served the Lord in the presence of Eli the priest. Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the Lord or for the priest’s share of the sacrifices from the people.” 1 Samuel 2:11-13a (HCSB)
A spiritual resurgence looked out of the question for the American colonies in 1740. Samuel Blair wrote, “Religion lay as it were a-dying and ready to expire its last breath of life in this part of the visible church.” This was the setting before the Great Awakening, where America’s soul was born again, so to speak. The Church-at-large had become corrupt, yet the Lord did not abandon His plan for America. He set into motion a chain of events, which led to America’s spiritual revival and their fight for independence from British tyranny. America could use that kind of revival today!
We can expect opposition from the secular world, but what can we do when the creeping death seeps inside the Church? How should we respond when religious leaders are lacking in faith and unholy in lifestyle? What happens when purveyors of the “light of the world” are themselves full of darkness? Hophni and Phinehas were such men, yet the Lord did not abandon His people, Israel. God was there – in both judgment and grace – when judgment began at the house of God.
There are many leaders in the Church today who are purveyors of darkness. They add to and take away from the Gospel as suits their personal agendas. Furthermore, they lead people along heretical paths on which the Lord has never intended His children to travel.
Reading today’s chapter, it may be easy for us to separate ourselves from these characters. After all, most of us do not hold the office of “priest”...or do we?
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be His very own and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 (ISV)
The truth is that God considers EVERY believer to be a priest. Maybe we never join a church staff, but the calling remains for each of us.
Setting aside, for a moment, the time you spend in church worship services, how well are you doing at representing Jesus in the World? In a church culture littered with “Hophni and Phinehas,” the Lord has called us to be “Samuels.” Consider this pattern as a challenge for us to faithfully serve the Lord in the midst of Worldly self-servers:
Samuel serving (2:11), Liturgical sins (2:12-17), Samuel serving (2:18-21), Moral sins (2:22-25), Samuel growing (2:26), Prophecy of judgment (2:27-36), Samuel serving (3:1a)
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©Steve Wiggins 2021