Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Wind at Your Back

As I mentioned, I am going through the book of Samuel. I love this book. It really is a magnificent story. The main plot line of the book is, of course, the story of Samuel, but just like any great stories there are many underlying stories that encompass the greater story. Previously, I spoke of Hannah, Samuel’s mother. Today I want to talk about Hophni and Phinehas.

Hophni and Phinehas are the two sons of Eli. Eli is the High Priest of the people of Israel. He comes from a long rich tradition of Priests that the text tells us were chosen ‘out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest’. Eli’s line was a chosen line. Hand picked by God to perform the priestly duties. The text tells us that Hophni and Phinehas were displeasing to the Lord.

Here is a little history lesson. The priests of the day did just what the title says. They were priests. This meant that they did not have time to farm or to raise there own live stock. So how did they eat? God allowed the priests to take a portion of each offering given. The stipulation was this, they were only allowed to take a portion of the offering after the meat had been boiled and all of the fat cooked out. Even after that they were only allowed one large fork full from each offering. Sounds reasonable.

Hophni and Phinehas were doing this. Except they weren’t quite getting it right, instead of taking a portion after it had been cooked they were taking the best parts of the meat while it was still raw. It was a selfish thing to do. It was probably far greater a reward than they deserved and they were essentially stealing from God.

What’s the point? Here it is. God is JUST. In the end, God’s justice will prevail. Hannah, a righteous servant of the Lord was blessed for her sacrifice. Essentially, she was living with the wind of the Lord at her back. She was in step with God. Eli’s house was a disgrace. Eli’s sons were an abomination in front of God and because of that the text tells us that the house of Eli will be removed. Not only will it be removed but the death of Eli’s sons will be a sign to that end.

There are consequences to our actions. Thankfully through the blood of Christ we are forgiven. This does not however give us an excuse to not live with the wind of God at our back. It doesn’t give us the excuse to rob and steal the best choice meats from God. We are not given a license to sin. The Bible calls us to repent and turn from our wicked ways. It calls us to live with the wind at our back instead of in our face.

Oh, that we could all be like Hannah and say her prayer.

1 Samuel 2: 1-10

Let the beauty and richness of those words resonate in your heart.

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