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How can priests be dishonest and refuse to obey the Lord? It’s a total oxymoron! Priests were God’s representatives to the people. They had been chosen by God for this position. There were very strict rules of behaviour and duties. Yet Eli’s sons brazenly disobey and disrespect God in public. Even the people who were offering sacrifices knew the “rules” of sacrifice and offering to the Lord (v 16).
Eli’s sons showed no respect for the sacrifices the people offered. They showed no respect for the position they were in. But, most importantly they showed no respect for God. Eli’s sons didn’t know it yet, but they were going to pay with their lives for their disrespect and disobedience to God (1 Samuel 4:11).
What a contrast when we read “the boy Samuel served the Lord…” (v 18). His mother, Hannah, willingly gave her son into God’s service. She had prayed fervently for Samuel’s birth and I’m sure those prayers continued as he served the Lord. Their yearly visits would have been bittersweet, but also reassuring as she saw her son growing in his love and service to God.
Eli, the priest, always blessed Elkanah and Hannah, and prayed that the Lord would give them more children. And, because of the Lord’s kindness she had more children.
Death or blessing? We face that choice every day. Honour, respect and obey God or thumb our nose at Him? The choice is ours.
Holy God, You know our attitudes and see the resulting actions. Please help me to be more God honouring like Hannah, and less like Eli’s sons with their soul destructive “me first” attitude, so that I sincerely honour and respect you more. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.