Disrespectful Practices

1 Samuel 2:11-17

11Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest. 12Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. 13Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled 14and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.

15But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.” 16If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.” 17This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.

Instruction

What do you understand about respect? Respect is esteem for a sense of the worth or excellence of a person’s ability, or any a manifestation of personal quality, ability or judgment. It is deference or respectful submission to a right, privilege or position, It is a courteous regard to authorities or privileged people. It is a proper acceptance, courtesy or an acknowledgment like: respect for the flag or for the elderly or even for a suspect’s right to counsel.

When one admires, approves or commends someone or something, it is often viewed as respect. Respect can be termed as veneration in spiritual matter. Veneration is an expression of awe, an attitude of deep respect, overwhelming reverence, and love for outstanding superiority.

The sons of Eli the priest served as priests of the Lord but they did not have any respect or veneration of God. They had no attitude of overwhelming reverence to God’s sovereignty. They simply disregarded the Lord, that’s all.

1. Disregard

11Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest. 12Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. 13Now it was the practice of the priests that, whenever any of the people offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand while the meat was being boiled 14and would plunge the fork into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot. Whatever the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh.

When Samuel entered the service of the Lord at a very young age, why was the wickedness of sons of Eli specified? Their disrespectful practices as priest of the Lord were opposite comparison to Samuel’s reverence to the Lord. The sons of Eli had been disregarding the commands of the Lord for a very long time. Eli may have been a respected priest in Israel but his sons were abusive of their priestly privileges. They just did whatever pleased them.

Did the sons of Eli feel superior over ordinary Israelites? It appears like they assumed to be above anybody because the Israelites were obedient to whatever they required. The priests were authorities in Israel’s spiritual practices. The behavior of the sons of Eli has similarity to Pharisaical behaviors.

The Lord Jesus warned against Pharisaical behavior in Matthew 23:3-7. 3You must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

The Lord did not promote disobedience but orders carefulness and not follow Pharisaical lifestyles. The Pharisees and teachers of the law in the time of Jesus on earth taught the Scriptures according to their interpretation, and exempted themselves from responsibility. Similarly, the sons of Eli practiced what and how they interpreted the Scripture, and the Lord punished them eventually.

The sons of Eli were priests of God but they had no regard of the Lord. Their practices toward sacrificial offerings were disrespectful to the Lord. Their tragic punishment was actually a warning as it pictures the Lord’s punishment for those who disregard Him and have no respect of His commands.

These days, just like in the previous generation, people are contemptuous toward God and His commandments. Individual who want to remove the teaching of God’s word in public places and government offices displayed the disregard of the Lord. It appears like God is doing nothing about those who disrespect Him.

It says in Isaiah 48:9, 9For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely.

God has already set His right time for the punishment of individuals who have no respect of Him and His word. Was it a disrespect of the Lord when the sons of Eli demanded their share from the offerings of the Israelites?

2. Demand

15But even before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the person who was sacrificing, “Give the priest some meat to roast; he won’t accept boiled meat from you, but only raw.” 16If the person said to him, “Let the fat be burned first, and then take whatever you want,” the servant would answer, “No, hand it over now; if you don’t, I’ll take it by force.” 17This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.

The sons of Eli had priestly privileges, and they ordered their servants how and what they wanted about their priestly share in the offerings of the Israelites. The Scripture specified about priestly shares in the sacrificial offering of Israel.

It says in Deuteronomy 18:1-5, 1The Levitical priests—indeed, the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance. 2They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them. 3This is the share due the priests from the people who sacrifice a bull or a sheep: the shoulder, the internal organs and the meat from the head. 4You are to give them the first fruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep, 5for the Lord your God has chosen them and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the Lord’s name always.

The Israelites knew about priestly share so that they did not complain about the abusive sons of Eli. The servants took by force the priestly share from Israel’s sacrificial offering. Maybe, they did it out of fear of the sons of Eli. The Lord did not ignore such contemptuous and disrespectful behavior.

When the Israelites worship God, they bring with them an offering that the Lord required in Exodus 23:15, 15No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

This command of the Lord ‘not to appear before Him empty-handed’ implies that worship of Him should be manifested in practical manner. Most often, what to offer and how much worshipers must give to God spark argument.

It teaches us in 2 Corinthians 9:6-10, 6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

The command is to remember the principle of planting as illustration to giving, “more sowing means more harvest”; to remember that the attitude of giving that God loves is cheerfulness; to remember that God Himself the supplier of seed of righteousness supplies or increases the righteousness in the “storage barn” and that would result to thanksgiving from recipients of generosity.

We can imitate an example from the Macedonian Christians. Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, 1We want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. 5And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.

The generosity of the Macedonian Christians was a result of God’s grace they received. With God grace, they gave in the midst of severe trial beyond their ability. They pleaded to give urgently because first of all: They gave themselves to the Lord. What does it teaches us? Biblical giving is a result of God’s grace.

Giving without cheerfulness is disrespectful practice against God’s grace.

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