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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

2020.03.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Samuel 2:27–36

Questions from the Scripture text: Who came to Eli in 1 Samuel 2:27? What had God done (verse 27b)? What had God done in 1 Samuel 2:28? Which of Eli’s family’s sins is singled out in 1 Samuel 2:29? What had God promised (1 Samuel 2:30a)? But by what principle does God say He will operate in verse 30b? What will happen to Eli’s household, according to 1 Samuel 2:31 and 1 Samuel 2:32-33? What will happen to show the certainty of this prophecy (1 Samuel 2:34)? Whom will God raise up instead (1 Samuel 2:35)? What will be asked of this priest by the remnant of Eli’s household (1 Samuel 2:36)?
How horrible to choose family over the Lord! The Lord’s primary charge against Eli is, “you honor your sons more than Me” (1 Samuel 2:29). Jesus said that we must be ready to reject parents, descendants, siblings, or even our own lives for His sake (Luke 14:26).

Sometimes this is standing up for the Lord or His truth in the midst of a difficult conversation. Sometimes this is finding a biblical place to worship while out of town visiting family whose church worships in an idolatrous way. Sometimes this is insisting on not forsaking the assembly when the children and grandchildren are in town and would rather have a big family brunch.

Principles are hashed out in particulars, as Eli learned. Sure, he had rebuked his sons (1 Samuel 2:23-25), but he had never taken action. And how dreadful was the curse that fell upon him and his family for maintaining the family peace by taking too skimpy a stand for the Lord!

How horrible to compromise the worship of God! At one level, this was a question over cuts of meat (end of 1 Samuel 2:29). That mightn’t seem to us to be so big a deal as the lurid (and possibly even violent) sin reported as a secondary thought in 1 Samuel 2:22b. But the Lord describes it as a “kick at My sacrifice and My offering [for] which I commanded a dwelling place” immediately after reminding them that they got to that place from Aaron’s previous location in Egypt precisely for the sake of the worship of God.

God’s redemption, by God’s mercy, is for God’s worship God’s way. “If You, Yahweh, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.”

That worship has ever centered upon Christ—first by sacrifices that looked forward to Him, and now by His personal leadership of that worship through the intercession empowered by His once-for-all sacrifice. What a great sin it is to “kick against” Christ by compromising the details of the right worship of God!

How wonderful are the Law and Gospel of God! It would have served Israel right to be destroyed for what was done in God’s worship. The Lord had almost done it when Eli’s ancestor Aaron had corrupted God’s worship (cf. Exodus 32:10). But here, God’s Word appears out of nowhere—on the lips of a prophet whose name and origin we are never even told (1 Samuel 2:27a)—and intervenes to stop the sin. When God’s law convicts us, it is a great mercy.

But conviction does little good without a remedy for that sin. The gospel of 1 Samuel 2:35 is wonderful. This happened in a little way when Solomon elevated Zadok to high priest in place of Eli’s descendant Abiathar (cf. 1 Kings 2:26–27). But the promise here in verse 35 is too big, and Zadok is too small to fulfill it.

No, this promise can only be fulfilled by the High Priest who is not from Aaron’s family at all, whose faithfulness is perfect, and whose ministry has no end. Eli’s descendants could not be priests long because they would die young (1 Samuel 2:31-34), but Jesus is Priest forever because He cannot die (cf. Hebrews 7:20–8:6, and especially Hebrews 7:23–24). For us who are prone to the sins of the house of Aaron and Eli, it is a glorious gospel that we are saved instead by the sacrifice and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ!
How do you need to be better responding to the sacrifice and priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Suggested Songs: ARP130 “Lord, from the Depths” or TPH354 “Not All the Blood of Beasts”

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