Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Message from Ryan Stephens, Junior High Teacher

1 Samuel 1-3 develops an antithesis between Eli the High Priest, and a boy named Samuel. We are told that Eli had two wicked sons who served as priests. These evil sons regularly desecrated the Tabernacle by “showing contempt for the offerings” and even engaged in sexual activity on the holy site. What’s worse, Eli knew full well of his son’s evil and did nothing about it. A prophet warned Eli that judgment would come upon Eli and his family, yet still Eli did not rebuke them.

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel, raised by Eli in the Tabernacle, received his first word from the Lord. The Lord instructed Samuel to tell Eli that Eli would soon die for his failure to obey God’s warning and restrain his sons. Can you imagine! Samuel’s first message from God is to tell his adopted father that judgment has come on him! Samuel had two options: lie and tell Eli that God said nothing, or, faithfully give Eli the word from God. What a moment of truth for the boy! Samuel stayed up all night worried and afraid, how could he possibly give this message to a man he has grown up trying to imitate?

The next morning, Samuel, though afraid, courageously gave Eli the message. This moment marked Samuel out as a man who “let none of God’s words fall to the ground.” What an awesome way to get your name in the Bible!

The contrast is clear: Eli, the High Priest was too afraid of his sons to stand up for God’s word and rebuke them. Samuel, just a boy, honored God’s word even though it meant giving a message of pain. From that day on what God said to Samuel, Samuel did, no matter the cost.

In our world today we are faced with the same choice. Do we boldly stand for God’s word even if to do so may be socially unacceptable?” For example, how many churches in the face of social pressure ignore God’s word in teaching that homosexuality is acceptable to God? Or, maybe closer to home, do we let God’s words fall to the ground simply by not engaging in God’s word to begin with?

May we be people, who like Samuel do not “shrink back from declaring the whole council of God” (Acts 20:27) and never “let any of God’s words fall to the ground.”

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