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1 Samuel 2b

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1 Samuel Chapter 2b***
Tonight, we are doing something a little bit unusual.
We studied back in September of last year.
But the recording was lost, so in order to have the complete book of 1 Samuel, we are going back and I’m going to re-teach that chapter.
I apologize for this break from our current study in 2 Samuel.
I remember as a little boy playing football in a neighbor’s backyard.
Usually, when we were playing, eventually the “My father can do this or that” conversation would start up.
One person would say, “My dad can kick a football as high as that tree.”
Then another would say, “Oh yeah, well my dad can punt a football over that tree.”
It’s been said that:
Childhood is when you think your parents are perfect …
… Adolescence is when you realize they’re not perfect, …
… and you become an adult when you accept them for who they are … imperfections and all.
According to TV commercials and sit-coms the dad is the fool of the family.
He’s portrayed as a narrow-minded bigot, a buffoon, the butt of all jokes, the one the whole family looks down on.
But a real man is a Godly man.
He’s the spiritual leader of his home.
He loves his family with a self-sacrificing unconditional love.
He is honest and faithful and a model of integrity to his children.
This is quite a contradiction from how hollywood presents fathers.
The sad thing is many people are taking our queues from the media.
The best way to fix that is to recognize the Biblical model for fatherhood … something that we can all aim for.
And I’m far from having it all figured out.
But I want us to look to the Bible this evening …
… not only for instruction on what to do, but also warning on what not to do as fathersand parents in general.
As parents and fathers there are 2 things that are certain:
We are always going through trials.
I’m sure every parent in this congregation could write a list - possibly a long list - of things they are dealing with.
We fail sometimes.
Our children today need for us to be real with them.
One of my greatest desires as a father is for my children to know the real me.
I don’t want to present some facade of a man who never shows weakness, or admits to failure, or never says I’m sorry.
I want my kids to know me, just as I believe God wants us to know Him as our Heavenly Father.
This leads me to a pitfall we parents often face.
As I searched the Bible for the perfect example of a father I only found one, that being God.
Apart from God as our heavenly Father, there is no such thing as a perfect father because there are no perfect people.
And we here tonight surely know this, but our culture is always pushing us in every area of our life to be perfect.
Elite’s, politicians, and Hollywood stars portray themselves as perfect (with the help of the media) …
… and if you’re not perfect like them, you just don’t measure up and need to try harder.
Well I’m here to say that’s not Biblical.
But here’s the thing … God doesn’t expect perfect parents, He expects us to be obedient.
He knows we are fallen sinners and desperately in need of His grace.
Our children need to learn to recognize their sinfulness and that they can ask for forgiveness.
Another pitfall is this:
We are not perfect … In turn we shouldn’t expect our families to be perfect.
So then … Another hard lesson for parents isOur children need room for failure.
And when they do fail, they need to know that you still love them and support them.
Failure is where we learn our life lessons the most effectively.
Failure is where we learn our life lessons the most effectively.
As a dad some of us might need to lighten up, … perfectionism is counter productive.
And it’s a standard your Heavenly Father holds you to only so far as you are clothed in someone else’s righteousness …
… that is Jesus’ righteousness, which as a Christian, you are clothed in.
This evening we re-visit a very busy man who lived in a town in Israel called Shiloh.
He was not only the High Priest of Israel but also served as a judge of Israel for 40 years.
So, we might expect him to be the perfect example of fatherhood with 2 Godly sons … Hophni and Phinehas.
But verse 12 says, “Now the sons of Eli were corrupt; they did not know the Lord.”
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How did this happen?
How did this happen?
Well, as we pick it up with verse 13 of this chapter, we realize that Eli is neglecting his family.
And this is another pitfall that parents often face:
That pitfall is:
We only have so much enthusiasm, creativity and emotional strength to give.
When we give it all to the work place there is nothing left for our families.
The same thing goes for time … it’s a limited quantity for all of us (at least in our current state).
But it’s not only quantity that matters.
It’s also the quality of the time we give them.
Some people say it’s not the quantity of time we give our children …
… it’s the quality time we give them that matters.
That’s simply not true.
The amount of our time we give someone, to that person, equates to our value of them.
But so does what we do with that time … discipline, guidance, play, instruction, etc.
Certainly, our jobs come with expectations and those jobs provide for our families.
So, we must give our jobs due weight in our considerations.
At the same time our families, like our jobs, are given to us by God and we must be a steward of them as well.
And so balance is important, keeping the LORD forefront in both the job and the family.
And consider this: The job you work will someday end.
Your kids, however, will serve either God or idols while here on earth, and then continue to an eternal destination.
Because the focus of your life is going to focus the life of your family.
Now, to our text … These men who had the responsibility for ministering to the LORD on behalf of Israel …
… are described as “Corrupt” … or as the ESV puts it, they were ‘worthless men.’
However, we shouldn’t see Israel as totally empty of such guidance.
As verse 27 reveals, the LORD still had local prophets (‘men of God’) who would pronounce His word.
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Throughout the ages this has always been the case.
Throughout the ages this has always been so.
God has always had people in place who would faithfully speak His Word
The central place of Israel (which was at this time, Shiloh) at which that guidance should have been made available … was empty.
The central place where God’s Word should have been flowing was instead dry.
Meanwhile, God’s Word was being faithfully spoken elsewhere.
It was a pattern that would be revealed again and again throughout history.
It was a pattern with Israel that would be revealed again and again throughout history.
So, again tonight is a little unusual in that we’ve backed up all the way to because the recording was lost and I’d like it to be available.
HIs mother, Hannah, had vowed to the LORD that if He gave her a son, he would serve the Lord all his life.
Hannah, his mother, is pregnant with him … a
And so, after he was weaned, she took him to the Tabernacle in Shiloh and he was then under the care of Eli, the High Priest.
And this is where we pick up tonight.
Prayer: Lord, as we embark to study your Word, we ask that our hearts would be open to receive all that You have to say to us. We desire to be hearers and doers and for You to lead us in Your ways. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
And when it came to the portion of the sacrifices that the priests were supposed to receive … They didn’t want the meat with the fat boiled off because it wasn’t as tasty as meat roasted with the fat.
The Law had laid down clear instruction in the book of about the priest’s portion.
There we learn that their portion consisted of the breast and shoulder after the fat was boiled.
But these two sons of Eli took no notice of the Law.
So, they would take the meat before the meat and fat was boiled.
AND … They would take more than was allotted to them.
This way they got what they wanted … the best meat … cooked the way they wanted it - roasted not boiled.
They cared more for what they wanted instead of what God instructed.
I’m sure that with Eli’s busy schedule, he faced the 2nd pitfall that parents are up against.
That is, he gave his best everywhere else but to his family.
But Eli also may have struggled in another way … and introduced his children to that same struggle.
That is:
The temptation is to substitute being with the family for what we can purchase the family.
Toys instead of time.
But buying stuff to make up for not being present becomes damaging to the child.
Many dads think that if they work longer and later they can give more to their families.
And this is true, in a way.
He can give more material possessions at the cost of less time, but that equals less influence.
I have a great father who balanced these things really well.
I can’t remember what my dad made for a living … I can’t forget the life he modeled for me.
And no one dared to argue with God’s ‘holy’ priests.
In the same way we might ask ourselves whether we are, like the sons of Eli, robbing God.
We too are His servants, and all we have in our care … is His.
The danger for us also is that we can use for our own purposes what we should really see as being His.
In , Jesus directed his disciples to consider the widow who gave her mites in the Temple.
In the eyes of the world, it wasn’t much, but it was all she had.
He revealed to them that our giving is judged on the basis, not of how much we give, but of what we keep for ourselves.
But when we
Others of us want more than God intends for us.
When that’s the case, we might spend time that we should be spending in His service trying to obtain more for ourselves.
The priests got tired of boiled meat and so they devised another plan in order to satisfy themselves.
Now, let’s look how far Eli’s 2 sons had taken this.
They actually demanded to be given the meat before the fat (which was to be given to the LORD) had been burnt.
So then, it was before the fat had been removed.
That means they were stealing from what was to go to God.
And at such a gross breach of the Law the people protested.
The Law emphasized that the fat must first be given to the LORD and burned on the altar.
(In other words … It was sacred.)
The people who protested were told force would be used so that the priests would get their way.
And nobody could prevent it.
So they had to let them do it.
It’s been said that ‘One bad apple spoils the bunch’ … and it is true.
The sin of these young men, Hophni and Phinehas, was very great before the LORD.
By their actions they were demonstrating that they despised the offering of the LORD.
AND the result was that the giving offerings would become despised by the People of Israel.
The whole sacrificial system was being brought into disrepute because of the behavior of these 2 priests.
And it seems that Eli did nothing about it.
In total contrast, the young Samuel, dressed similarly to a priest even though still a child, …
… ministered before the LORD, and continued to grow in righteousness.
He wore a linen ephod, which distinguished him as a ‘holy’ child, a child set apart wholly to the worship of the LORD.
An ephod was a garment which went over the head and covered the shoulders and was secured round the waist like an apron.
According to , it was to be made of threads “of blue and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen” …
… and embroidered in gold thread “with cunning work.”
It was mainly distinctive of the priests, although it could be worn by others when engaged in sacred activities.
Recognize here that both mother and father never forgot their son, and never neglected to worship the LORD.
It would seem that Eli watched out for Samuel’s parents and gave them his personal attention.
No doubt Samuel had won his heart, and he was certainly thankful to have him ministering in the Sanctuary.
Thus when he offered sacrifice on their behalf he blessed Elkanah and his wife.
He prayed that God would continue to answer her petition by giving her more children.
And with that blessing they went to their own home.
In our time, there have been situations where a Pastor has been in unrepentant sin yet at the same time his ministry has done very well.
What’s happening is the people are the Lord’s sheep.
He will still care for them even if His co-shepherd has veered from following the True Shepherd whole heartedly.
We all know however, that when the Lord is ready, and the people can be cared for …
… this Pastor’ life and ministry will come crashing down.
God was giving her a family to fill the gap that Samuel’s departure had unquestionably left.
God will be no man’s debtor.
It is the LORD’s joy to give to His children.
In , Peter questioned Jesus about what he and the apostle get because they committed their lives to Him.
We read, ‘Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, “who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.
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Mark 10:29 NKJV
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,
Our hands must be open to the Lord rather than trying to hold onto every possession we have.
Our hands must be open to the Lord rather than trying to hold onto every possession we have.
Our hands must be open to the Lord rather than trying to hold onto every possession we have.
By this time Eli was an old man.
His time as Priest was coming to an end.
And while Samuel cheered Eli’s heart continually, the news that he heard about his two sons grieved him greatly.
It had become so serious that he finally determined to give them a severe warning.
But it’s a warning that would come all too late.
Not only did they continue to sin before all Israel, but they slept with women who were in the service to the LORD.
We do not know whether the women freely consented.
The text doesn’t say.
It is probable that they at least had pressure put on them by the priests …
… and, of course, the priests should have known better.
Submitting or giving in to one of these areas will lead to the ending of one’s ministry.
But worse, it brings shame upon the church, God’s Word, and casts a bad light on the Lord Himself.
AND notice that this sin occurred ‘At the door of the tent of meeting.’
This was particularly egregious.
The very women who served at the door of the tabernacle had been made into adulteresses by the priests of the LORD.
And now, the very women who served there had been made into adulteresses by the priests of the LORD.
Abd here in verse 22 we find another potential pitfall:
When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
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“Dragged away” means: To lure away from a place of safety to a place of danger.
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
When sin is crouching at your door instruction won’t keep you from having an affair – “you must master it.”
Charles Swindoll says that all husbands and fathers need to keep a picture of their children with them.
Well, we don’t look to ourselves.
When a woman is tempting them all they need to do is take the picture out and tell her all about their wife and kids.
We are delivered from sin by Jesus Christ.
We master sin by turning to the Word of God.
It is no fool who learns from Jesus’ use of God’s Word to fight the temptations of Satan.
The same is available to us … God’s Word.
As Christians, even when we “face trials far beyond our ability to endure,” we can echo the reassuring words of Paul, who declares, “God has delivered us and will continue to deliver us” ().
And here we arrive at another pitfall that parents may fall into:
Respect comes because you earn it.
If you are a parent, how do you react when things get out of whack at home?
Eli gave his sons a lecture when he should have taken their priestly robes from them and kicked them out of the tabernacle.
And their lack of respect for their earthly father rolled right over to their heavenly father.
My dear brothers, take note of this: let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
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One thing God has really been driving home to me lately is WHEN I’M ABRASIVE I’M NOT PERSUASIVE.
And it’s a lesson that I forget a lot … and then God re-visits it to me.
One thing God has really been driving home to me lately is WHEN I’M ABRASIVE I’M NOT PERSUASIVE.
As a parent the worst thing we can do is simply react.
Because when we “react” our emotions are in the drivers seat and they can get out of control and cause a wreck.
To “respond” we must be prepared.
That may mean taking a time out before responding to pray …
… and to prepare ourselves and think through all possibilities and potential problems.
Everyone is talking about it.
(Previously he had closed his ears to the ‘rumors’ … But now they could be ignored no longer).
And he reproves them because the report he is receiving is not good.
Why, he asks, are they doing such things?
Do they not realize that they are making the LORD’s people transgress?
And the answer is, “no one” for there is no one whose plea would be sufficient in view of the greatness of the sin.
All sin, our sin, is against God.
So then, Who will intercede for us?
Fortunately, answer's Eli's question: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Praise God, there is some to intercede for us when we sin against the LORD!”
But we receive His advocacy when we are in right relationship with Him.
For that, our hearts have to be softened so that we have faith in Him.
They had hardened their hearts for too long, and God had now hardened their hearts.
… Samuel continues to grow and learn.
He is doing the exact opposite of Eli’s sons.
He is increasing in favor both with God and with men.
He was in total contrast to the sons of Eli.
In this case there comes an anonymous ‘man of God’ to Eli.
He may well, of course, have been known to Eli, but like a number of ‘men of God’ in Samuel and Kings he is not made known to us.
He is one of God’s anonymous witnesses.
He is important nonetheless, and his message is even more important, for he has come to signal the demise of Eli’s house.
He had revealed Himself to the house of his ‘father’ (ancestor) Aaron when he was in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh’s house.
He had chose him out of all the tribes of Israel.
He had chose him to be His Priest, so that he might go up to His altar, burn incense, and wear the ephod (of the Priest) before Him.
And the charge, is that Eli and his house have trampled on the LORD’s sacrifice and offering.
And Eli, by allowing it, has honored his sons above the LORD.
What is more, Eli has participated in their behavior by consuming what they stole.
Eli is thus not to be exonerated from blame.
They would be cut off from the priesthood, and the promise would from then on only apply to the house of Eliezer.
The future for Eli’s house is grim.
They will never again produce satisfactory priests.
It should be noted that they are not being excluded from the priesthood, only from its greatest blessings and benefits, …
… and above all from the High Priesthood.
And the house of Eliezer would not be safe, either, as they would trouble Jesus …
… and because they did, they would later be cut off by the destruction of the Temple.
In God’s eyes, Israel no longer has a priesthood, apart from the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
But that was yet in the far future at the time of 1 Samuel.
Both of Eli's sons will die in one day, and Eli will see this, and know the judgment of God has come against his house.
By this he will know that one day the priesthood will be removed from his family.
This takes us to one more thing that fathers (and parents) may fall into:
The unknown prophet tells Eli the fate of not only his two sons but also all his descendants after him.
At this point I feel sorry for Eli because I truly believe that Eli was a good intentioned man but he was a week man.
Every time we read about him in the Bible the personalities that surround him dominate the story.
And here Hophni and Phinehas dominate his family in a negative way.
That’s because they don’t have the perspective of a full life yet.
Their thoughts are on today, tonight, and (maybe) tomorrow.
When we have a hard time making it fun and attractive that says more about us than our God.
When we make it tedious and about only rules and shame, we put our children off.
Be careful not to get caught up in overkill.
Raising our kids in a legalistic manner can drive them away from God when our whole goal is for them to be attracted to Him.
What if (God forbid) you where taken in an accident?
What would be the spiritual void in your family?
When he comes, this Priest will serve God’s anointed one ‘forever.’
As you might suspect, this promise had a partial soon fulfillment and a later ultimate fulfillment.
This promise was partially fulfilled in Samuel, because he functioned as a godly priest, effectively replacing the ungodly sons of Eli.
The promise was partially fulfilled in Zadok, in the days of Solomon, because he replaced Eli's family line in the priesthood.
The promise was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, because He is a priest forever according to the order of Melchezedek ().
So then, the thought in this verse is ‘Messianic’, and it finds its ultimate fulfillment in our Lord Jesus Christ.
He would become our great and perfect High Priest, acting on our behalf.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for this time in Your Word. May it bring a harvest for You in our lives and the lives of others. We ask for wisdom and guidance as parents, mentors, and representatives of You.
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