Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
1 Samuel 2:12-17 (NRSV)
Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels; they had no regard for the LORD or for the duties of the priests to the people. When anyone offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he would thrust it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the one who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast; for he will not accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.” And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take whatever you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now; if not, I will take it by force.” Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the LORD; for they treated the offerings of the LORD with contempt.
Eli’s sons didn’t know God. Though Eli obviously did, that knowledge and love of God had not been passed along to his sons, who would eventually be in line to succeed Eli as priest. That ought to serve as a reminder to us that a passive effort to share the love and knowledge of God is not enough. We must be actively seeking ways to share with others how wonderful our God is.
Yet, for whatever reason, Eli’s sons did not know God. They did not follow God’s laws, but allowed power, greed, violence, and intimidation to rule their lives. As if that weren’t bad enough, their sins interfered with other people’s worship and the opportunity to experience God.
None of us is perfect. No matter how we may try to hide it, not one of us is without sin. Thankfully, we have had the opportunity to experience the love and the forgiveness of God. It is our responsibility to point others to that experience. We must be careful that we are not allowing ourselves to become so entrenched in the sins of the world that we are not only failing to point people in the right way, but may be hindering their opportunity to experience God.
Forgiving God, you know that we are not perfect, that we will to fail you at some point today. Yet you continue to love us and forgive us. We cannot praise you enough for that blessing and so many others. There are many around us who need to know that same love and forgiveness. Give us the strength to point people toward you and the wisdom and courage to avoid standing in their way. Amen.
Go with God.