It was a Friday evening. I was going to have the house all to myself. On several random occasions that day, I shared with my co-workers that while relaxing was golden in and of itself, what I was most looking forward to was finishing off a shrimp dish I had brought home from dinner at one of my favorite restaurants the evening before. I had gotten too full to complete it then. But, I was more than ready for it on this night!
I left work, got home, and changed clothes. Next, I went into the family room, turned the television to a good show, and headed to the kitchen. The only things left to do were warm up my long-awaited-for dinner, sit in my spot on that couch, and enjoy.
I opened the refrigerator and I was devastated! My food was gone! The next logical step was to call my husband and ask, “why did you eat my food!?”
And so it was with the Lord in 1 Samuel Chapter 2. Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, had made it a customary practice to do many horrific desecrating acts while serving in the temple. In addition to taking advantage of women working in the temple, they would take, roast, and eat the fatty portions of the animals brought forth by the people as offerings. While Eli eventually spoke to his sons regarding their behavior, he failed to actually stop them.
In verse 29, the Lord, through a man of God, asked Eli, “why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?” In other words, “why did you eat my food?”
This man of God went on to declare that the Lord would, in response to these acts, “cut short [Eli’s] strength and the strength of [his] priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age . . .”
Wow! Now the question is, why was this such a big deal then and why are we discussing it now?
The type of sacrifice the Israelites were offering was called a Peace Offering. Unlike most sacrifices in the Old Testament system, this offering was meant to be eaten by the worshipper, the priest, and the poor. Only a portion of it, the fat and therefore the most valuable portion, was burned at the altar and sacrificed unto the Lord. As such, this type of offering demonstrated both the worshiper’s willingness to offer God their best and God’s faithfulness to always provide what we need.
Just as He asked the people of the Old Testament to offer Him the best parts of a sacrificed animal, He asks that we sacrifice our best to him. Today we do that by offering Him our lives.
Are there aspects of your life that you are keeping for yourself rather than offering them to God? When you ask, “Should I or should I not?” or “This way or that way?” is God your audience? What fatty portions have you been consuming rather than burning at the altar? Is it related to finances, time, relationships, or your health? If the Lord were to open up the doors of your heart, lean in to grab what He has anticipated since creation, would He be left devastated?
If so, it’s not too late! Offer Him your best today! Some practical ways to do so are:
- Pray for Him to be Lord and Savior of your life,
- Join and become active in a local church,
- Continue to read and study His word
- Bible studies are a great tool. Consider “Spending the Summer in Samuel” offered weekly here at www.christywilliams.org
- Connect with an older wiser Christian who can help you navigate some of the life choices you have to make in the near future.
Let’s learn a lesson from Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas. Let’s offer God what we were created to offer Him. When He searches our hearts, let’s see to it that He finds exactly what He is craving for: our best!
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- Reading Assignment for Week #2 (June 2nd – June 7th): 1 Samuel 6-10
- Week 2 Journal Questions for 1 Samuel 6-10
- 1 & 2 Samuel Outline