GOD MAKES PEOPLE because he likes stories, says a Rabbi.
And each story in the bible provides us with many lessons that drive home profound truths.
AT A TIME in Israel, things were out of hand. They had an old high priest, called Eli, who had two sons.
The sons were worthless men; they had no understanding of God and their priestly duties. They treated God's offerings with contempt.
But other people loved the Lord. Elkanah and his two wives came to Shiloh yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord. (1 Samuel 1)
Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
And Hannah cried to God for a child. She made a vow—that if God gave her a son, she would give him to the Lord.
When she had the boy, she named him Samuel—and took him to the high priest to serve the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:24-28)
IN THOSE DAYS, the country was asleep. The word of the Lord was scarce, and very few received visions. (1 Samuel 3:1)
One day, Samuel was resting in his quarters when he heard his name. He ran to Eli, saying, "Here I am."
"I did not call you. Go back and lie down," replied Eli.
When Samuel heard his name a second time, he ran to Eli again. And Eli told him to go back and sleep.
But when Samuel heard his name a third time and ran to his master, Eli perceived that it was God.
He knew from experience. So, he told him that if he heard his name again, he should say, "Speak Lord, your servant is listening."
Eli was telling Samuel to be attentive.
God broke His silence to speak to Samuel. It was a first and an intimate moment.
Previously, God had sent a man to Eli to warn him about his sons, but he did nothing to stop them. Eli honoured his sons above God.
He was a very privileged man, but his sons were reprobates—they laid with women at the door of the temple.
Samuel knew nothing about what was happening, but God spoke to him.
He told Samuel that he was cutting off Eli's family and that no sacrifice can atone for their sins. (1 Samuel 3:11-14)
All God wants from you is to act on His word
SAMUEL WOKE UP early the following morning and went about his duties, but he dreaded having to tell Eli the vision.
When Eli summoned him—he asked Samuel what the Lord said. And Samuel told him everything—word for word.
What a place to find oneself? Samuel had to tell his mentor the awful thing that was about to happen to him.
It's always challenging to confront someone in opposition. However, it will help if you correct such a person in humility. (2 Timothy 2:25)
THE PRIEST was preoccupied with his job. He neglected his sons, and his no-time pattern became a lifelong regret.
His family disintegrated. They saw their dad in the priestly garment. They saw him burn incense and minister to the people, yet, their skepticism and cynicism increased, and they defied the laws of God.
Everything they needed to know was in plain sight, but they paid no attention.
BRINGING IT TOGETHER
ELI DID NOT RESPOND to people's reproof about his sons. He ate out of the meat his sons brought home—he rationalized the wrong and became a part of it.
For those with young children, do not preoccupy yourselves with an occupation that will keep you away from them—spend time with them.
Knowledge will puff you up, but action will humble you. All God wants from you is to act.