Monday, January 18, 2016

The Buttons of Self Destruction

UV 1647/10000 The Buttons of Self Destruction
Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.
I Samuel 2 v 12
Though Eli was a godly priest, his sons Hophni and Phinehas did not know the Lord for to “know the Lord” meant not just going through the motions of faith or religion but to genuinely love and revere Him from one’s heart. It demonstrated that Eli did not bring them up in the knowledge of the ways and Word. They did not fear God to respect His name and His tabernacle. Their heart was given over to covetousness and lust as if they were veritable offspring of the devil. Eli had short-sightedly not spent time in correcting them in their early days. They were a sharp contrast to Samuel who revered and served the Lord from his childhood. They lost their anointing and heritage of blessings to Samuel who was chosen as Eli’s successor.
The very name of Eli means “God” but his sons defiled His name and brought a curse upon their lives. In their covetousness they put the three pronged hook into the sacrificial meat to draw their portion even before it was ready to be taken. We will receive our portion of blessings from the Lord in due time and in a God approved way and we should not try to take short cuts or hasten the process. The three pronged hook is a metaphor for the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. They were arrogant as they thought that being sons of the chief priest, they had the privilege to ask and get whatever they desired and when they desired it. They went on to defile their own bodies that are the ultimate temple of God by luring some of the women who were at the gate of the tabernacle. The result was that they provoked the judgement of God and the Lord pronounced that they would die on the same day and that no one in Eli’s house would live long enough to see old age. Eventually, both of the sons of Eli died along with thirty thousand Israelites in a battle with the Philistines. Eli, hearing of the defeat of Israel, the capture of the ark of the covenant and the death of his two sons, fell and died.

From the contrasting life and destiny of Samuel and the two sons of Eli, we see clearly that the Lord honours those who honour Him and those who lightly esteem Him or despise Him are also lightly esteemed and are despised by Him. To know the Lord is not just to have nominal or superficially acknowledge the Lord but to obey Him in all our ways. It is also a lesson not to honour or hold our children more dear than the Lord, to be sensitive enough to correct and chastise those of our own household on time before it becomes too late for them and for us. The scriptural paradigm of leadership and management requires that the leader or manager be free from the desire for dishonest gain and has self control or the ability to rein in his or her own physical and other passions. These two- the desire for dishonest gain and for illicit sexual gratification can prove to be the proverbial buttons of self destruction.
Prateep V Philip

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