“The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” 1Samuel 3:2
Samuel came into the tabernacle not as an employee. He was not trying to survive. His mom gave him over to the Lord in fulfillment of her pledge to God a few years back. It is amazing that these days, people have lots of plans and desires for their kids, ministry is hardly one of them.
It is as if careers like law, medicine, military, business and aviation are noble while serving in God’s house is for rejects. Nothing can be farther from the truth. There is no career or profession to compare with serving wholeheartedly in the ministry.
The sons of Eli bragged on their dad being the high priest of Israel though they neither understood nor valued the priesthood. Their dad’s ministry only gave them pride and fame.
They took advantage of the rights and privileges that came with it to extort, abuse, mislead, rob and rape! All within and without the temple courts.
1Samuel 2:12 “Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord.
13 Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled
14 and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.
15 But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.”
16 If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.”
17 This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt….
22 Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.”
If you live in the time and environment Samuel lived, it appeared everyone was doing evil. Truly the majority did what was wrong.
It’s like in our own day today. More people seem to turn from godliness, and ungodliness is on the rise. In fact, things we considered unethical and unacceptable are now not only tolerated but hailed as culture and progress.
Decency, modesty and morality are now considered hatred, intolerance and bigotry.
However, Samuel decided to stand out. He will not ride with the tide. He preferred to ride against the odds but with God. Four verses show us this.
11 “Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest…
18 But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod.
21 And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.
Samuel set his heart on God. He decided to do right in spite of who did wrong. His intention was not competition with Eli’s sons. He stayed focused on his intention. He just wanted to do the will of God.
And that was what God was looking for! Although Samuel didn’t know.
1Samuel 2:35 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.”
We live in a very similar era, if not worst. Knowledge has exploded and God is taken more lightly and with so much contempt. Liberalism spreads like harmattan dust. Human right has replaced moral responsibility. If you live right you are hated, scorned and despised by the multitude of wrongdoers surrounding you. Doing right now has become doing evil.
Perverts, pedophiles, gays, thieves, corrupt people and liars are fiercely defended while honest men and women are harassed. Brutal, murderous Islam is fiercely defended by politicians and liberal media while
Christianity is harassed for its kindness and conscience.
What a world!
Even those who claim to be Christian or ministers brazenly despise the very truth they claim to uphold. As Paul said, “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” 2Timothy 3:5
There are only two sides, you are either on Samuel’s path or on the path of Eli’s sons. Where are you? Which path are you on? You can’t be neutral. You are either on the broad way that leads to destruction or the narrow unpopular way that leads to life.
The only effective believer is the one that stands out even when everyone else is embracing ungodly ways.
*Photo: Courtesy of Atmosphere for Worship