Forgetting God's Call
Lord God, I am many things to many people, but in Your sight I am Your beloved child. What a privilege!
Read 1 Samuel 2:27-36
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it” (Rev. 3:3). Eli’s plight is a warning to us all.
“They had so much promise, but …” What examples come to your mind of people who received much, whether as gifts or opportunities, and yet failed? Such is the story of Eli. An anonymous prophet announces the first words from the Lord in the book. The message is judgment, given with a tinge of sadness: “Why have you done this? I appointed you to this key role, gave you abundant food, and promised your family a great future, but you have disdained all this.” Eli and his sons were not satisfied. Had the wonder of God’s call and provision become commonplace?
Why blame Eli? It was his sons who took the sacrificial meat. Yet, he could be held responsible, as revealed in the telling question, “Why do you honor your sons more than me?” (29). The first “you” of v. 29 is plural, but the second is singular, focusing on Eli’s complicity and accountability. When we are in a group, even as leaders, it is tempting to be more concerned about what they think of us than about God, and to commend, implicitly, what others do. We may even enjoy participating, although at heart we know it displeases God. Eli knew God’s will (25), but he neglected God’s generous call. He had overlooked that the food he enjoyed flowed from God’s decree and that he had no freedom to alter the terms to suit himself. He took for granted that his position would continue (which had been God’s intention) but he neglected his corresponding responsibility to honor God. God would continue doing “good to Israel” (32) but Eli’s descendants would die young and another would become “a faithful priest” (35; 1 Sam. 4:17; 22:9-20; 1 Kings 2:27, 35). The prophet announced God’s activity in the history of Israel, but Eli’s behavior and its consequences provide warning that is widely applicable.
Reflect on your life of service in response to God’s call and pray for perseverance in honoring God by your words and actions.
Merciful Lord, I’m blessed to be Your child, and amazed to be called to serve You. Sharpen my understanding of my gifts and calling and give me opportunity to serve.