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 your ancestor’s family 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 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 your priestly house, 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 priestly house, and they 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.”’”
Eli the priest and his sons had been taking more than their agreed portion of the sacrificial offerings given to the Lord by the Israelites. In doing so they were dishonouring God and those who had given the sacrificial offerings in the first place. The consequences of this grave sin was the wiping out of Eli’s family both now and in the future.
What a sobering passage of Scripture! Essentially Eli and his sons were taking and enjoying something that did not belong to them. These offerings were given to God and this should have been respected and not treated so lightly. They abused their positions as priests and it couldn’t go unpunished. It is a healthy reminder to firstly honour God and secondly those we serve as we go about doing what God has called us to do. It is so important not to take advantage of a position God places us in for our own benefit. Sometimes it’s good to take stock and ask ourselves, “Is what I’m doing honouring God and others?”
Dear Lord, please help me to serve you in way that brings you honour and glory. Amen
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods