Sin is not something to be played with. In our pride we think we can handle it; it won’t get a hold on us, but sin has invisible hooks that can drag us down and take us places we never intended to go.
Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. – unknown
1 Samuel 1-3
1 Samuel 1-3:
Multiple wives—provoked and miserable
There’s so much good stuff in these 3 chapters! First once again, there’s the multiple wives issue. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating, God never presents it as a good thing. He always shows the conflict and problems that resulted.
Notice verse 1.6a, “And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable …” Notice the words “rival,” “provoked” and “miserable.” Peninnah may have been provoked to jealousy (not an excuse, by the way) because Elkanah favored Hannah (1.5). She provoked Hannah because of her barrenness. Elhanah may have been a little provoked and frustrated himself, “Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” (1.8).
This was never the way God intended marriage to be.
But even in the midst of bad choices, God heard the prayer of His humble servant, Hannah. Notice how this faithful woman kept her vow to the Lord, “Now when she had weaned him, she took him up with her … and brought him to the house of the LORD in Shiloh.. And the child was young … For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the LORD; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the LORD.” So they worshiped the LORD there” (vv.24-28).
God’s judgment on willful, unrepentant sin
Next there’s the sad story of Eli and his two ungodly sons in chapters 2 & 3. This man knew what his sons were doing, stealing the part of the sacrifices that belonged to God and sleeping with women who came to the tabernacle, yet he failed to deal decisively with them. The boys themselves had so hardened their hearts through their sin and disobedience that “the Lord desired to kill them” (2.25). God added His judicial hardening to their willful hardening.
Romans 1 explains it this way:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Notice, first of all, Romans says they know the truth, but suppress it. These two sons were priests; they had heard the truth. Their hearts were first darkened by their own sin and then “God gave them over” and allowed the natural consequences of their sin to run its course.
Sin’s invisible hooks
How did these two priests end up where they did? How did it start? What compromises did they make in their thoughts and attitudes along the way? How did they end up sleeping with women in the tabernacle? And can it happen to us?
Too often we’re legalists where sin is concerned. We like to get just as close to the line as we can, while we proclaim “we’re not doing anything wrong.” The next thing we know we’re just playing around with a idea, still convinced we’re in control.
Sin is not something to be played with. In our pride we think we can handle it; it won’t get a hold on us, but sin has hooks that we can’t see and “one more time,” “just this once,” or “it’s not that bad” can take us on a downward spiral that we never saw coming.
1 Corinthians 10 says:
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Because, as James said, we can be tempted and drawn away by our own deceitful desires. And what started out as just a thought that we had no intention of acting on, is often the bait Satan uses to ensnare us (Jas. 1.14-15).
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Saying there is no God or just living like it
Verse 1a, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” And we might add that foolish men and women, though they profess belief in God, sometimes live like there is no God.
It goes back to some of what I talked about yesterday. That attitude that amounts to, “I know what the Bible says, but …”
You fill in the blank:
“… but I’m sure God wants me happy!”
“… but if you knew my circumstances.”
“… but we love each other!”
“… but God knows my heart.” (This is a great spiritual-sounding excuse.)
“You … honor your sons more than Me”
Then there are those ways we fail to correct our children by allowing them to do things or go places because we want them to be happy, popular, successful, get into college, or whatever. When we do, we’re really no different from Eli, “Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling place, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?” (1 Sam. 2.29).
Sadly, we set our children up for failure when we do. We end up with a child-centered home, instead of a God-centered home and, even from a natural perspective; it often fails to deliver what we wanted. In Fact, Lou Priolo in his book the Heart of Anger says it’s one of the ways we provoke our children to anger.
Verse 8, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” God delights to hear the prayers of those who are walking, not in perfection, but in “grace-powered obedience.”
“I shall go to him …”
Jesus told the Sadducees, “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage” (v. 35). So some may wonder if we’ll be reunited with our loved ones in heaven, especially our husbands. David said about his infant son who had died, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Sam. 12.23). We will be reunited with our loved ones, but there will not be marriage, as we know it.