Thursday, May 5, 2011

Faithfulness among the crooked

Samuel was ministering before the LORD, a boy clothed with a linen ephod.
And his mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.
1 Samuel 2:18-19

Samuel's upbringing among Eli and his sons must have been quite an experience in contrast. Eli was a faithful priest, but he was getting really old and his influence with his family was waning. His sons, Hophni and Phineas were prototypical religious abusers. They used their service in the tabernacle as a means to personal gain. And all the while young Samuel just served faithfully, a boy who ministered to the LORD while men around him failed to acknowledge God's Law.

Eli seemed powerless to stop his sons from their dangerous plunge into apostasy. He confronted them when he found out they were sleeping with the women who served at the tabernacle gates. But they would not listen to their dad (see 1 Samuel 2:22-26). But for whatever reasons, even after confronting his sons, Eli would not take the steps necessary to remove them from office. This made him complicit in a cover-up. The tragedy is thus generational.

But a new generation is quietly serving the LORD. Young Samuel is ministering in the tabernacle, and I believe that God is so pleased with this boy's ministry, that He times his judgment for such a day as Samuel can serve as a young man. Samuel's service was so great and so refreshing that God could suspend some of His wrath against the nation.

Samuel's mother, Hannah, would arrive at Shiloh every year with a new robe for her son. And every year she would remember her commitment to God. The blessing of God continued on her as five more children were born to her.The blessings of obedience kept coming to her humble home, even as a storm began brewing in the household of Eli.

God rewarded the faithfulness of a broken woman. God honored the service of a sincere boy. It was enough to hold back judgment against the nation for allowing crooked religion to thrive. It was enough to rebuild the worship of God through the ministry of that one boy. Faithfulness to God's truth makes a difference. It always will.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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