The View From 1776
Thursday, August 14, 2008
What’s Your Excuse?
We will be judged, and excuses don’t cut it with God.
Pastor Steve Treash’s Sunday sermon at Black Rock-Long Ridge Congregational Church (North Stamford, Connecticut) took as its main text the story of the priest Eli, under whom Samuel was tutored.
The message for us is to take responsibility for doing our duty to God, to our families, and in the work place.
Eli failed that test. He was too passive in the face of the rampant wickedness of his two sons, who were priests serving under him. Eli’s excuse was that he was an old man and that he did rebuke his sons. But God refused to accept that excuse.
Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest. Eli’s sons [Hophni and Phinehas] were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD. Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand. He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or caldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. (1 Samuel 2:11-14)
Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear spreading among the LORD’s people. If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death.” (1 Samuel 2: 22-25)
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. The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man. Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.
‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you