Monday, December 12, 2005

Somebody's Watching Me Again!

1 Sam. 2:12; 17- Now the sons of Eli [were] sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.” “Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.”

In, my last blog, I wrote of the need to remember that there are people around us who are watching how we live our lives. I spoke specifically about how we are to live our lives through the storms that life often throws at us. Today, I want to speak about how to live our lives above reproach, for the same reason that as those around us watch our lives, our actions can make or break their faith.

In this passage, we read of the two sons of Eli the priest, Hophni and Phinehas. They were priests at the tabernacle, but we read that they were corrupt; in fact, the Bible says that they did not know the Lord. Here were these two brothers, working as representatives of the Almighty, yet they did not know Him personally. They had no relationship with God, and so they lived unholy lives. These men were known for taking much more than the priest’s share of the offerings made. Imagine that you are waiting with your family and friends, in a joyous celebration of God’s goodness, and you are waiting for your portion to the sacrifice to eat, and these priests suddenly send in one of their servants with a special fleshook, or fork, to take your food, just so they could fulfill their greed. They even had the nerve to rob God of the offering before it could be burnt, so they could have a fresh roast (vs. 15-16). These priests were also known to commit sexual sin with the women that came to the tabernacle. Even their dad Eli, who had grown spiritually dull himself, called his sons out on their sin, but to no avail. The Bible calls them “Sons of Belial”, literally, “sons of destruction, worthless, good for nothing, and unprofitable”. Needless to say, not the kind of boys I want my girls to bring home!

But here’s the point: these were priests. They were representatives of God. A minister of God must be above reproach. Just look at 1 Timothy 3 for a list of qualities necessary for a minister. These men were the exact opposite. Their actions caused the people to “abhor the offering of the Lord”. As the people of Israel would near the time of sacrifice, I can almost hear them mumbling, “We’ve gotta go up and deal with those rotten guys again”. And who could really blame them? The actions of these men caused others to not want to offer sacrifices to God.

I suppose I could talk about the flamboyant hucksters out there on late-night infomercials that promise God’s blessings for a “seed faith” offering of $50. But that’s another topic, though it would preach. I want to focus on our everyday lives, and how we conduct ourselves. Others are watching us, and we need to set an example of Godly behavior. People need to see that not only do we profess the Lord Jesus Christ verbally, but our lives demonstrate the truths we speak of. You see, we are exhorted in Romans 12:1 that we must “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God”. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called on by God Himself to lay ourselves “on the altar” so to speak, to realize that we are not our own, to reckon our will and desires as dead. And that is where we find true life! I’m reminded of a modern worship chorus that says, “The Wonderful cross, bids me come and die, and find that I may truly live”. But when those in the world see a believer acting no different than them, it causes them to “abhor the offering of the Lord”. They may say things like, “That Christian doesn’t live any different from me, why do I want what he’s got?” or “Christians are all hypocrites”. We must watch our lives, and guard our testimonies. Others are watching.

King David had a similar experience. We know the story, how he alone one day saw a beautiful woman bathing on her rooftop, as he was on his. He found out about her, and sent for her. Even though he knew that she was married, and to a loyal solider at that, he slept with her. When he found out about her now being pregnant, he sent for her husband from battle, to cover his track, and everyone would think the child was his. But that plan didn’t work, so David sent him back to battle with a letter to the commander to put him at the front of the heaviest battle. It worked, as the man was killed. The “man after God’s heart” had done evil, and soon, he was called on the carpet by the prophet of God. David repented, but he was told that his actions had caused the enemies of God to blaspheme Him. God’s name had been attacked because the “man of God” had sinned grievously. David’s actions demonstrate my point today.

Let us live our lives in such a way, that those we work with, and interact with, be it friend of family, see the nature of Christ displayed before them. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify God in heaven! God bless.


Henry Haney said...

This is so true. I was talking on the phone with another minister last night and I told him how important it is that we live above and beyond reproach. People rarely remember the sermons that we preach, but they will sure remember how we LIVED and how we treated them.

Thanks for the reminder today Pastor Jeff

Brad said...

Hey Jeff, it's good to bump into you out in the blogosphere. We Lions fans have to stick together!

Keep up the great work.

michigan preacher said...

Amen, Brother. No one else wants to admit to being Lions fans. Hey, I'm born and raised in the Detroit area-I'm a fan!