Samuel grew up godly despite his environment. Use this whole chapter as a word about children.

February 20, 2000
February 27, 2000 (See another file)
March 5, 2000
March 12
March 19
April 2

February 20

1 Samuel 2
Vv. 1-10 is one of the greatest and most beautiful passages in Scripture, and anyone who reads it should overflow with joy.

God answered Hannah's prayer in chapter 1, and she had a son. Now Hannah's heart overflows with praise for the God who answers prayer. Prayer and praise go together throughout Scripture:

Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

In Romans 1, the first step down to destruction was the lack of thankfulness.

Though her prayer was without words, her praise was very vocal.

Let us skip to the last verse of her praise, v. 10, for it is the basis of her song.

His king and his anointed. God gives strength to his king, Jesus Christ. The anointed he exalts is Jesus Christ. And one day every knee will bow before him. His anointed is Jesus Christ, and this is the first reference in Scripture to the Lord's Anointed, and it is made by a woman in her song of praise. Her praise is based in herfaith in the coming Messiah who would subdue his enemies.

Therefore, her song of praise is properly understood in the context of God's Anointed King, King Jesus.

V. 1, My mouth is enlarged over mine enemies - Hannah's answered prayer enabled her to answer those who criticize her because she had no children.

Because I rejoice in thy salivation. Anyone can rejoice over his adversary. Why? Because the rejoicing is in HIS salvation, not in circumstances.



Now see the many things here that Hannah rejoiced in:

1) the Lord is holy, and his ways are right and perfect, and past finding out, so we normally cannot understand his ways.

2) none like thee. And that includes US. When we question the Lord and his works in our lives, we place ourselves on his level - knowing what is best for us.

3) no rock like our God. No one, nothing can satisfy like our God. The sands of humanism are crumbling.

Christ gave a parable in Matthew 7:

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

We build upon the rock by hearing and doing the word of God.

V. 3, Talk no more exceedingly proudly... Those who condemned Hannah's barrenness showed their pride against God, for God is the one who withheld children from her.

When we get lifted up with pride over someone else, it is pride against God. He is the one who gave us our gifts and abilities. He is the one who made others as they are. We have nothing he did not give us, so why do we act as though we did not receive it? (1 Cor. 4:7.)

The Lord is a God of knowledge. And he does all things good in terms of his perfect knowledge. He is just, and loves his people; he does not seek our harm, but our good.

Actions are weighed. God alone determines what is right and wrong in all the actions of men. And his actions are always right.

V. 4, those who are lifted up with pride in their strength, he is able to abase, or put down. The Lord can stop wars, and put down the mightiest armies on earth, and he has done that many times in the past. He can break the bows of Satan and his powers; in fact, Satan's power was broken on the cross.

The Lord can and does strengthen those who are about to fall.

V. 5, those who have a lot lost everything, so that they must hire themselves out for bread. Those who have nothing are given what they need. In other words, the Lord has a way, at times, of turning things around. He can easily humble the proud and lift up the poor and beaten down.

Born seven does not mean that Hannah had seven children. Seven is a number many times used in Scripture to represent completeness, or many. Hannah now considers herself complete with the birth of Samuel, and she will have more children, 3 sons and two daughters, vv. 20, 21.

Feeble. Tradition says that each time Hannah had a child, Peninnah buried two children. Thus when Hannah had 5, Peninnah buried all ten of hers.

We are told in Isaiah 54:1 that as the Gentile church grew, the Jewish church lost its power.

V. 5, barren hath born - she speaks of being happy or content in the Lord first. She does not say, "I rejoice in my children," nor does she say, "I rejoice because my adversary has waxed feeble." Rather, she says, "I rejoice in thy salvation," then she lists all these things, v. 6

When and if things go "our way" - a better paying job, good health, new children, or whatever it might be - we must remember what is the foundation of our rejoicing -- it is always the Lord and his salvation.

February 27, see another file

March 5, 2000

1 Samuel 2:10

V. 10 is at the end of Hannah's prayer of rejoicing in the Lord who heard and answered her prayer for a son. In her prayer, she lists many things the Lord does, including keeping his people faithful to himself. For no one can keep himself.

V. 10, the Lord breaks HIS ADVERSARIES, not necessarily ours. I am afraid that many of my adversaries are self-made, and have nothing to the Lord.

Those who have never been "slain in the spirit" and shown their condition - dead, lost and in darkness - will be judged by the Lord Jesus, and cast into the literal lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

However, here are several ways to look at v. 10, and all fit fit well within the context:

Out of heaven the Lord thunders upon them. The Lord's enemies are destroyed out of heaven. In other words, his judgment against the ends of the earth is from his throne in heaven, not from a literal throne upon the earth,i.e., Jerusalem.

The Lord has many ways of judging the earth:

First, the Lord might see fit to use a literal sword, but that sword is not "wielded" by him, e.g.:

Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant , and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. (Jer 25:9.)

Second, the Lord might see fit to use a spiritual sword, as he did against Jane Fonda, e.g.:

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. (Ps. 45:5.)

Third, the Lord might see fit to use the weather, and literally thunder out of heaven or send serious droughtagainst sinful man, e.g.,:

23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. 24 The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. (Deut. 26. I have done several studies concerning God's use of the weather to judge sin, e.g., "Storm Winds.")

Fourth, the Lord might use bugs and plagues as he did against Egypt.

Regardless, the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth by whatever means he pleases.

V. 10, His king to whom he gives strength is no doubt Christ Jesus, as is the anointed whom he exalts. (Every knee will bow to him.) This is the first reference to the Lord's Anointed, and it is made by a woman in her song of praise. Her praise is based in her faith in the coming Messiah who would subdue his enemies.

The conclusion of this section:

First, the Lord God controls every aspect of life and human activity here on this earth. Though Satan has power here on this earth, he does not have the power to exalt one person over another, to honor one person over another; he does not have power to make people rich; he does not have power over life and death.

The Lord alone determines one's social condition, his wealth, and his time of death.

SATAN ONLY HAS POWER AS GIVEN OR PERMITTED BY GOD. Satan is a liar, and the father of lies, and he lies about his power. When man believes the Devil's lies, then the Devil has that power over him.

Satan's power has been broken by Christ, but even at that, he has never been anything but a servant of the Most High God.

Second, God is sovereign, and he does his own will in all heaven and earth. No one can say, "What doest thou?" (Dan. 4:35.) Paul gives us the same message in Romans chapter eleven.

Rather than questioning God, we must say by faith, "Here am I Lord. You paid the price for me; you own me; I am yours to do with as you see fit." Note that this statement can only be said by God's grace, i.e., God must give us the grace to say that from our heart. It is easy to say when things are good, but when things are not, it is difficult. Esther was some woman when she said, "IF I PERISH, I PERISH," for she was sure she would perish.

March 12, 2000

Vv. 11-26

V. 11, Samuel's father and mother went home, leaving Samuel behind in the Lord's service.

1) there is no sign of regret on his mother's part. How many times do we make vows to the Lord, only to regret making those vows when the Lord upholds his part. How many make vows or get suddenly spiritual in the time of need, but when the need is over, so are they.

2) the child (age unknown) ministered unto the Lord. Evidently, there were things around the Lord's House that this young man could do.

One is never too young to minister unto the Lord - that is, serve the Lord.

There is something in the Lord's service for every one to do.

3) he ministered unto the Lord by doing what Eli the priest assigned to him.

V. 12, what a sad commentary on these boys, who were the sons of the priest. Knew not the Lord is defined in vv. 13-17 -- they took advantage of the people, even laying with the women assembled at the door of the tabernacle, v. 22.

1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 1 John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

The definition of knowing the Lord is the same in both Testaments. It is doing those things that are pleasing in his sight, as defined by his commandments.

FIRST, the boys refused to please the Lord.SECOND, their father refused to please the Lord by refusing to keep his commandments toward his sons.THIRD, notice there is no mention of God's judgment against the mother of Eli's wicked boys. The dad is the one held responsible before God for the discipline in the home, not the mother.

Shame on mothers who resist their husbands' efforts to enforce discipline in his home.

It is the father who condemns his children to destruction by failing to do what he can to enforce godly discipline in the home. The father's sin is especially evil when the father is a leader in the Lord's house, as was Eli.

Dads, we must work at enforcing godly discipline in our homes. We will be held accountable by God. It is one thing to TRY AND FAIL to enforce godly discipline, and another thing to FAIL TO TRY to enforce godly discipline. Moreover, that godly discipline is the foundation of godliness in the children.

We will see that God judged the boys who went astray, and he judged their father for not restraining them, while, on the other hand, God's hand was upon another young man who was reared in the same home, Samuel.

I cannot explain it, but we are responsible to enforce godliness in the home as much as lieth within us, yet God is the one who must put his hand upon the child. In other words, our best efforts will fail unless the Lord works in the heart.

V. 13, the priests' custom. (Accepted practice, or law.)

Custom replaced the word of God, which has been a problem from the time of Adam's fall until now. Christ faced the same problem among the religious leaders.

Note that custom replaced God's law concerning the priests' portion. (Lev. 7:29-34.) My opinion is that what God assigned to the priests was much better than what the custom became in Eli's time.

Vv. 14-17, BAD BOYS.

The boys had neither official power nor authority to do what they did. But because their father, the one with the proper power and authority, did not challenge them, they got away with their wickedness.

13-17. the priests' custom with the people--When persons wished to present a sacrifice of peace offering on the altar, the offering was brought in the first instance to the priest, and as the Lord's part was burnt, the parts appropriated respectively to the priests and offerers were to be sodden. But Eli's sons, unsatisfied with the breast and shoulder, which were the perquisites appointed to them by the divine law (#Ex 29:27 Le 7:31,32), not only claimed part of the offerer's share, but rapaciously seized them previous to the sacred ceremony of heaving or waving (see JFB on "Le 7:29"); and moreover they committed the additional injustice of taking up with their fork those portions which they preferred, while still raw. Pious people revolted at such rapacious and profane encroachments on the dues of the altar, as well as what should have gone to constitute the family and social feast of the offerer. The truth is, the priests having become haughty and unwilling in many instances to accept invitations to those feasts, presents of meat were sent to them; and this, though done in courtesy at first, being, in course of time, established into a right, gave rise to all the rapacious keenness of Eli's sons. (JFB)

1) v. 14, they transgressed the Lord's commandments for the sake of what tasted good to the flesh. (Cf. Gal. 5:16ff., 1 Jn. 2:16.)

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

These boys wanted what tasted good to them, so they ignored the word of God to get what they wanted. There are multitudes of religious leaders today who work at appealing to the natural desires of fallen man. They do not serve the Lord God; rather, they serve their own desires.

2) v. 15, the fat was to be offered to God. However, their fleshly desires wanted the fat at the expense of obedience to the word of the Lord.

3) v. 16, their desire for their own pleasure caused them to abuse others as though there were no God to whom to answer.

Many in power today will try to use good words and fair speeches to get what they want. (And we will hear a lot of appealing speeches during this election year.) If good words and fair speeches do not work, then those in power are not above using force (of arms if necessary) to gain what is pleasing to them. As long as they can get what they want, they are totally unconcerned about what their desires might do to others; they are totally unconcerned about what God would have them do.

4) The boys threatened violence if the people did not do what they wanted. NOTICE THAT because someone has the authority and power, does not mean it is legitimate power and authority that God commands us to obey. Scriptures are clear that all power and authority comes from God, but that does not mean that all commands from that human power is to be obeyed.

Did the threat of violence by these boys against the people relieve the people from sin in violating the commands of God concerning the sacrifice?

I believe there is a yes and no answer here. And we will not know the proper answer until the time comes. Furthermore, God speaks to us as individuals, so what may be YES to one person, may be NO to another.

YES. We have the right of self-defense, even to killing another person.

If someone pokes a gun in our ribs and demands our money or our life so they can support a drug habit, do we sin if we give it to them to support that drug habit?

NO. On the other hand, there has been a flood of martyrs who have given their lives to say NO to ungodly demands made by those with the power to make life miserable. Notice I did not say AUTHORITY, but the power.

These boys did not have the authority to do what they did, but they did have the power, which is the case of many in the place of civil power today.

Notice that here is another reason why we must know God's word very well - we must be able to compare HIS WORD with the actions and words of those in authority.

5) v. 17, people dreaded to come to the tabernacle because of the abuse of power by the boys.

It does not say that the people did not come; it says only that they did not like to come.

Leviticus 7:29ff, the sacrifice was to be voluntary, but the commandments of the Lord, the sacrifice, had become a time of dread. We should work at making the service of the Lord as joyful as possible.

Evidently, the people did not threaten Eli nor the boys for their ungodly actions. The people left the matter in the hands of the Lord to take care of as the people continued to do what they were supposed to do. (1 Chron. 16:22, Ps. 105:15.) Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and he took care of it in his good time. (Rom. 12:19.)

March 19, 2000

Vv. 18-27, GOOD BOY

V. 18, Samuel is mentioned again. Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child... A child can serve the Lord. Notice that this is before the Lord "called" him. He is here because his parents, mother, put him here.

A child needs to be faithful in the house of God even before he or she can make that decision.

How many times do we hear, "I don't stop her, nor do I force her to go. I let her make up her own mind." Such an attitude is not scriptural. (Bus routs especially.)

Notice also that Samuel did not have a CHILDREN'S CHURCH to attend while his parents went to the tabernacle to worship God. Rather, he had responsibilities to do in the House of the Lord.

V. 19, his mother did not forget her son, and helped support him while he was unable to support himself.

V. 20, God blessed Hannah for her willingness to give her best to the Lord.

Willingness does not count if it is within our power to do something:

2 Corinthians 8:11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.

"If I had a million dollars, I would tithe, and give the Lord $100,000." How about the tithe on the $300 from last week's pay? In other words, man is accountable not for the willingness to tithe on the million, but what he did with the tithe on the $300.

V. 20, she lent her son to the LORD Jesus Christ (note the spelling in the KJV). And the Lord repaid her many times over.

The name of Eli's evil son's mother is not given. The name of Samuel's mother is not only given but exalted. God exalts those who exalt him, and in this case, her name was graven with an iron pen and led in the rock for ever. (Job 19:24.) Also, in this case, she not only received an eternal reward, but she received an earthly reward -- her family increased, a visible sign of God's blessings upon her, v. 21.

I also find it interesting that Samuel's godliness is not attributed to his father, but to his mother. On the other hand, Eli's boys' evil is attributed to their father, Eli. THE FINAL RESPONSIBILITY LIES WITH THE FATHER, NOT THE MOTHER.

Application: How many want God's blessings without having to follow through with what is required to obtain those blessings? Hannah made a vow, and gave her heart's desire, her first born son, to gain those blessings.

HOW MANY TIMES DO WE GO OUR OWN WAY AND DO OUR OWN THING, YET STILL EXPECT GOD TO BLESS US?

In her vow, 1:11-18, there is no assurance that she would receive any more children. Her vow gave her only child to the Lord, with no assurance there would be another. The result was that the Lord gave an increase.

Vv. 22-25, the man of God would not take a firm hand with his children. As long as they lived under his roof, he was responsible for them, and the Lord held him so. Remember, these were grown men with wives and children. Yet Eli was responsible for them.

However, I believe the evil was in the fact that the boys were in the priests' office, and misused it while Eli ignored what they were doing.

Here we have a interesting situation. The law, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, required that a rebellious child be brought before the community leaders, investigation was to be made, and the rebellious child put to death. And the boys did not get this way overnight. They were allowed to go their own way as they grew up in Eli's house.

Though Eli "rebuked" the boys, there was no sternness in his rebuke, and the boys paid no attention to him. At the very least, Eli should have openly rebuked the boys, and removed them from any dealings with the Lord's house.

TODAY

I believe it is significant how close this section describes children and their parents today. I continually hear parents "rebuke" their children, yet the children continue as though nothing was said. And the parents do nothing but threaten more and more. Those parents are rearing rebellious children.

The New Testament application of this law is to remove the rebellious person from the congregation of the Lord, 1 Cor. 5. Eli was to remove them from the priest's office and responsibilities.

V. 25, the boys hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.

This is a strong statement. God's purpose was to kill the boys, and raise up another to take their place -- that is, JUDICIAL BLINDNESS. God blinded them and hardened their hearts, so he could kill them. This makes me wonder if maybe the reason children today refuse correction is because God intends to slay them? His purpose was also to remove Eli, and replace him.

So that to obey good admonition is God's mercy, and to disobey them is his just judgment for sin. (Geneva)

Geneva said it well -- an obedient child, or people as far as that goes, is a mark of God's mercy upon a family or upon a nation. Disobedient children, or a people, is a sign of God's impending judgment against sin. In other words, a spirit of obedience is the spirit of God at work in a person's heart.

V. 25, Though maybe a human judge can be persuaded to change his mind, no one will change the Lord. The Lord did, however, give the boys a chance to repent and be spared.

V. 26, in contrast to the evil of Eli's sons, the Lord tells us that Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.

Vv. 27-36, God pronounces some very strong words against Eli's house for his sin.

Note: The one responsible for the boy's actions was their father, not their mother. A few times we have the names of the mothers of rebellious children, but it is the father who is always held responsible.

"Single parent homes" due to divorce many times leaves the mother "responsible" for the children, but God holds the father responsible, and he WILL judge society accordingly.

V. 25, Eli had meekly spoken to the boys about their evil, but he did not make an effort to change the situation.V. 27, so now the Lord sends a messenger to Eli. The messenger is identified only as a man of God. This nameless man delivers a strong but true message from God.

Note: In order to deliver God's message, a man does not need to be will known to others, or even known at all. In fact, God said that it is the small, foolish things he has ordained to confound the wise. (1 Cor. 1, 2.)

How many of us have ignored warnings given by others because that person was not important in the eyes of the world? How many times have we failed to speak out a warning because we felt we were not important enough to do so?

The unknown man may be a reason Eli paid no attention to the message -- he made no effort to change anything. It is sad today that it seems the way for a man to get a hearing is to have a PhD, or Dr. with his name.

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7.)

Here we see that the Lord told his priest, Eli, what he was going to do, yet Eli made no effort toward repentance. The reason is found in the divine providence of God -- he was going to slay the boys, v. 25. The boys werereprobate, Titus 1:16.

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. (Titus 1:16.)

Reprobate means unfit, unproved, or that which does not prove itself as it should. Eili's sons professed to know God, but their actions denied God; they were wicked and disobedient; they were reprobate in the true sense of the word.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (Rom. 1:28.)

Notice that the sinner chooses NOT TO retain God in his thoughts and actions. Then God gives them over to total depravity and immorality.

Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them. (Jer. 6:30.)

V. 27, thy father means Aaron, who was plainly chosen by God when Israel came out of Egypt. 27. there came a man of God unto Eli, and said ... that there shall not be an old man in thine house--So much importance has always, in the East, been attached to old age, that it would be felt to be a great calamity, and sensibly to lower the respectability of any family which could boast of few or no old men. The prediction of this prophet was fully confirmed by the afflictions, degradation, poverty, and many untimely deaths with which the house of Eli was visited after its announcement (see #1Sa 4:11 14:3 22:18-23 1Ki 2:27). (JFB)

Eli refused to admit that his own children were not walking in the ways pleasing to the Lord;Eli refused to stand against them.

Maybe a reason he did not stand against them was a fear of offending the boys; Eli may have been afraid that if he said something, he would not get to see his grand-kids. Whatever the reason, Eli's refusal to speak against them and exercise his authority cost Israel a great many lives.

Vv. 31-33, according to the headings in my "World" Bible, the prophecy against Eli took place, c. 1165 BC. (Write this date, BC 1165 at the head of this section, vv. 27-36.)

As a cross reference, write 1 Kings 2:27, and the date, BC 1015.

In fulfillment of the words of this unknown prophet, Solomon removed Abiathar from being the priest. This gives us about 140 years between the prophecy and the final fulfillment. During that time, there were many wars, and many people died.

How long was a generation in the Old Testament? 40 years - the Children wandered in the wilderness for one generation. So BC 1015 from BC 1165 is 140 years. How many generations is that? 3 generations:

Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (This verse reads as though God will cause difficulties and grief for 3-4 generations before he lifts his hand of judgment. But Solomon tells us that what he did fulfilled God's word delivered 140 years previous. See also Num. 14:18, Deut. 5:9.)

We see that according to this law, Eli served other gods, the gods of his children when he honored his children above the Lord, v. 26.

TODAY

Fourth generation -- 160 years ago would be 1840. This nation was a reasonably strong Christian (Calvinistic) nation at that time. The war of Northern Aggression changed that, which was about 1865. That means we are now 3 generations from that time. It remains to be seen how the Lord will deal with this now faithless nation. We see several serious marks of God's judgment: weather, children going to the devil, divorce, sicknesses, immorality of all kinds, open sodomites proud of their sodomy, false teachers abounding and drawing large crowds, &c.

It seems that God has closed the eyes of the vast majority of people, so he can bring judgment against an ungrateful nation.

Abiathar... Here is another case where we see God's divine providence at work. Abiathar was a major supporter of David through all his difficulties. But on David's death-bed, Abiathar supported Adonijah, Solomon's brother, for the throne. (I can imagine David's heart-break when he heard Abiathar joined the revolt, 1 Kgs. 1:19-25. Abiathar, a descendant of Eli, would have been at the very least 40 by now.)

Why did Abiathar turn against Solomon? He did it of his own free will, yet the word of the Lord was fulfilled in what he did.

Observe these implications:

V. 29, Wherefore kick ye... Eli did not ignore the sacrifices and offerings, but he allowed his children to corrupt them. Therefore, it is accounted to Eli that he did it -- he encouraged them by his lack of action.

And in this verse shows that Eli's sin of not restraining his children was accounted to him apart from the boys' sin.

Note: When we allow those under our authority to do wickedly, then we are accountable for it as if we were involved in their iniquity. As the priest, the very least he should have done was remove them from any dealings with the House of the Lord.

Make yourselves fat... Evidently, though Eli did not take part in the boys' wicked activity, he partook of the results of their sin, and ate of the meat they took by threat of violence.

V. 29 compared with Exodus 20:4 and Deuteronomy 5:9, shows us that by not restraining his children according to the word of God, he honured them above the Lord -- he served his kids rather than serving the Lord. The time frame shown for the results of his sin, 3-4 generations, shows us that he violated the second commandment. He bowed down to children instead of to the Lord. Such action is identified as hatred for the Lord. Thus when one knowingly refuses to do what he knows to do, he exhibits hatred for the Lord.

THIS WILL TOUCH A SORE SPOT, BUT HERE IT IS...

How many families chose where to "worship" God based upon what they feel is best for their children, rather than on where is the word of God most faithfully preached?

How many parents have I met who revolve their lives around their children rather than around the Lord.

We are living in a society, both inside the church and outside, that honors the children before the Lord, just as sure as Eli did.

The cry is, "What is best for the children?" When the cry ought to be, "What is best for the adults so they can be better parents?"

Clearly, the children were wicked, but the father is held responsible. And the family and nation payed the price for many generations to come.

April 2, 2000

POWER and accountability.


1 Samuel 2:30-34, God reminded Eli of the great things he had done for his house, which was the house of Aaron. God gave Aaron the priesthood, which was the most exalted position in Israel - represent God in the midst of his people.

This was a general promise made to Aaron. However, the promise was conditioned upon the men following the Lord. It appears here that God made an "unconditional" promise of the priesthood to this family, but it was not unconditional. It was conditioned upon following the Lord -- they quit, and the promise was void.

V. 31, cut off... Their power was broken; the family would be striped of all authority, for they had misused their authority:

POWER and accountability.

The sons abused their power to oppress the people, and to gain what they wanted. They were held accountable.

The father, Eli, abused his power by not doing what he ought to have done - he restrained them not nor did he punish them. He took no action against their sin, and thus became partaker in their sin. See Psalms 50:16-23 -- silence makes one a partaker in another's sin. See also Romans 1:32. He was held accountable.

Vv. 31, 32, old man is used twice in these two verses. Eli was an old man, yet he failed to use the wisdom, experience and authority of his age to do his duty. The result was that there would be no more old men in his family.

Bishop Patrick relates, out of some of the Jewish writers, that long after this, there being a family in Jerusalem none of which commonly lived above eighteen years, upon search it was found that they descended from the house of Eli, on which this sentence was passed. (M.H.)

V. 32, the enemy who invaded the land was the Philistines. And the Philistines brought the land to poverty. With the enemy in the land, the priests' income was drastically cut, for they depended upon the tithe of God's people. The Philistines took the Ark of God. (Cf. 1 Sam. 13:19.)

Note: Sin is the enemy, and its invasion of the people of God drastically cuts the income for the Lord's work.

V. 34, the fulfillment of the prophecy in v. 31 was yet some away that Eli would not see. So God gave a word that he could see, and would assure him that the prophecy would be fulfilled - his own sons would die in one day.

V. 35, this faithful priest might refer to Zodoc, who replaced Abiathar under Solomon:

The wickedness of ministers, though it destroy themselves, yet it shall not destroy the ministry. How bad soever the officers are, the office shall continue always to the end of the world. If some betray their trust, yet others shall be raised up that will be true to it. God's work shall never fall to the ground for want of hands to carry it on. The high priest is here said to walk before God's anointed (that is, David and his seed) because he wore the breast-plate of judgment, which he was to consult, not in common cases, but for the king, in the affairs of state. Note, Notwithstanding the degeneracy we see and lament in many families, God will secure to himself a succession. If some grow worse than their ancestors, others, to balance that, shall grow better. (M.H.)

The final fulfillment of v. 35 must be Christ:

Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Christ alone is the ever faithful and true High Priest. For he alone has the everlasting priesthood; upon him alone is the sure house built, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Everything having to do with the tabernacle pointed to him. (Hebrews 7:26ff.)

V. 36, Eli would not fulfill his responsibilities with his children, so poverty strikes a once prosperous family. Though it is not said, we can safely assume that his emotions toward his boys overrode his judgment and common sense toward them. He refused to take a stand against their actions that were clearly wrong.

Eli lived to see the prophecy fulfilled and his sons that he refused to take a stand against killed.

Note: The boys lived together in sin, and they died together for their sins. (1 Sam. 4:11.)

Note:

V. 11, Samuel ministered unto the Lord.Vv. 12-17, Eli's sons were wicked.V. 18, Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child.Vv. 22-25, Eli's sons were very wicked.V. 26, Samuel grew on in favour with the Lord and with men.Vv. 27-36, Eli's sons were so wicked that the Lord was going to kill them.And we are told again in chapter 3:1, Samuel ministered unto the Lord.

No matter how wicked the circumstance, God raises up faithful people to replace unfaithful ones. The desire and prayer of our hearts should be that God in his mercy would give us the grace to remain faithful to the end.

Conclusion:

1) Certainly, evil surroundings are not the best to grow up in, but Samuel did. In other words, one cannot blame his character on his background.

I am weary of hearing today about how bad kids have it in their environment; then because they have it so bad, we are told that more money must be thrown at the situation -- for the kids. There is good money in convincing the American people that the kids are bad because of the terrible circumstances they must grow up in.

Illustration:

Not long ago, a 6 year old shot another 6 year old. The cry has been that there is nothing we can do to the shooter because he was living in such a bad situation, so what he did was not really his fault. Here we see with Samuel that circumstances and environment cannot be the scape goat for bad behavior. Samuel grew up in a "religious" family that was as hypocritical as anything could be. The boys were so wicked God was going to kill them. Dad, though he was a good, moral man, would not take a stand against them. Yet Samuel grew up in the midst of that evil as a godly man.

In fact, the excuse of the bad environment creating bad children will be used even more as time progresses to remove more of our freedoms.

God's grace is sufficient to see his people through any situation.

2) However, we see that the godly prayers of a godly mother can see children through many difficult situations. Samuel's mother prayed for him. Imagine the temptation NOT to leave her God-given son in this wicked environment. She knew what Eli's sons were like. We would be blind to think that she was not concerned. But we have no record of her trying to get her son to get out of that environment. She prayed for him and loved him, and let him know of that love every time she went to the house of the Lord, which was only once a year.

She also knew the situation when she made the promise to the Lord to leave her son there. She had a tremendous assurance that the Lord would take care of the boy.

We cannot imagine how hard it was for her to leave Samuel in the wicked environment found in the House of God under Eli. But she had committed to the Lord, and she was able to leave it with the Lord. She certainly was a woman of great faith.

3) Of course, we cannot overlook the sovereignty and providence of God. He laid it on Hannah's heart to pray for a son and to give him to the Lord; then HE PROVIDED THE GRACE to do what he had laid on her heart to do. The Lord's purpose was to judge the house of Eli - the sons - for his rebellion against the Lord; his purpose was to raise up another to take Eli's place, vv. 33-35.

4) V. 30, Note: Though God alone is the one who advances people to places of leadership, spiritual or "secular," that is no guarantee that they will remain there. They serve in those capacities at the Lord's convenience. We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, something that neither Eli nor his boys did. (Php. 2:12.)

5) Exceeding great and precious promises had been given to the house of Aaron - it was to represent God in the midst of what God called a crooked and perverse generation. (Deut. 32:1-7.

We also have exceeding and great promises from God, being in his priesthood.

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Philippians 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Deut. 32:1-7.)

6) What more could have been done for Eli to motivate him to godliness than to be chosen by God to offer the sacrifices for the people? What more could have been done by God the Father to motivate us to be faithful than his giving his Son for us? Because we have been set aside by the Lord and given these great and precious promises, we will be held extra accountable in the day of judgment, just as Eli was held to a higher accountability.

7) v. 30, honour me I will honour. Men define greatness with worldly power and wealth. Though one may be despised by the world, God defines greatness by faithfulness, godly motives and godly actions. The way to be truly great is to be truly good, and good is defined by honouring the Lord with every thought and action.

8) As we deal with God, we must expect to be dealt with by him, yet his mercy gives far more favour than we deserve:

Psalms 18:25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; 26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

9) In the midst of all of God's threats against the house of Eli, God still promises mercy to Israel - I will raise me up a faithful priest.

And we are heirs to that mercy promised in the midst of God's message of judgment. This is typical throughout Scripture -- it seems that the darker the threatened clouds of God's judgment, the brighter his promises of mercy to his people through Christ.

10) Vv. 31, 32, old man is used twice in these two verses. Those mature in age are required by God to train the younger people in the ways of godliness:

Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. 9 Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; 10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

The Lord has not allowed us older people to go through our fires to let the lessons die with us. AS INDIVIDUALS, WE SHOULD ASK THE LORD TO GIVE US YOUNGER PEOPLE TO PASS OUR LESSONS ON TO.

11) V. 35 tells us that no matter how wicked a minister or any leader in God's work might be, their evil will not destroy the ministry. God will always have faithful people ready to take the leadership. Though Elijah thought he was the last faithful man of God, God assured him he had 7000 more ready to stand up and be counted. (1 Kings 19:9-18, Romans 11:1-6.)

All we can see is God providence in dealing with Hannah; all we can see is Eli's despite for the Lord by not controlling his boys and the wickedness of the boys. Then God gives us a glimpse of his sovereign and divine workings in the background -- he is accomplishing his purpose through Eli's hardness, Hannah's love for the Lord and through the boys' wickedness.