Acts 27:1-12; 1 Samuel 2:11-36; Psalm 50
Eli was the priest at the main shrine in Israel before the Temple was built. He was a godly man and Samuel was entrusted to his care. His sons, however were problem children. They seemed to think that they had “earned” their position as priests and failed to keep a good relationship with God. They sinned with impunity thinking that because they were priests, they had no one to be accountable to. When that happens, people lose their desire to follow God. God responded through a prophet. “’Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: “I promised that your house and your father’s house would minister before me forever.” But now the LORD declares: “Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.”’” (I Samuel 2:30) Eli, the father, would suffer the ill effects of the punishment brought on his sons. I read the other day of another minister who was engaged privately in what was a public sin. As so often happens, it appears that he was strident in his ministry against this sin. He resigned in disgrace and his family will suffer. It is heartbreaking to see those who are supposed to be God’s representatives on earth fall. At the same time, it is very easy for those involved in proclaiming the gospel publicly to fail. Any time a person or minister seems to focus on one area of sin or another there may be a problem. Our job, as ministers, is to seek to draw people to a loving God who forgives sin. Banks teach tellers to detect counterfeit money by handling the real thing. We should teach people by example how to have a relationship with God and what it truly looks like to have relationship with Him in our daily life. As people see our focus on God, then we can trust God to deal with their sin problem. And, in truth, He will begin with me.
Lord God, remind me of Your holiness. It’s so easy to focus on the ugliness in the world and point out the errors of others. So often, when we focus on one sin, we ourselves get ensnared in its wiles. Let me keep my focus on You and living a life that is right with You. Help me to lead others to follow You.