Are you playing around with some sinful thought or thinking about something from your past?
Sin is not something to be played with. In our pride we think we can handle it and 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
Multiple wives: provocation & ridicule
There’s so much 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 conflicts and problems that resulted.
¹ Now there was a certain man of Ramathaim Zophim, of the mountains of Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 And he had two wives: the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
4 And whenever the time came for Elkanah to make an offering, he would give portions to Peninnah his wife and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, although the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And her rival also provoked her severely, to make her miserable, because the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it was, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her; therefore she wept and did not eat.
It appears Hannah was Elhanah’s favorite. That may have provoked Peninnah to jealousy (not an excuse, by the way). In any case, she ridiculed Hannah because of her barrenness. Elhanah may have been a little provoked and frustrated himself. And he, certainly, doesn’t seem to understand Hannah’s longing for a son.
“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.
11 Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”
In the midst of it all, God heard the prayer of His humble servant, Hannah, and gave her a son. 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).
Her son, by the way, was Samuel. He would become the first Prophet mentioned more than just in passing and would greatly influence the nation and God’s people. We will read more of his story as we continue through the Old Testament.
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 (emphasis added).
This is sometimes called the downward spiral of sin. Notice, first of all, people 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” (removed His restraining grace) 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 that kind of thing 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 playing around with an idea, still convinced we are 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).
“You … honor your sons more than Me”
Because he was the high priest and responsible for those serving under him, God started with 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).
Fearful words, “you … honor your sons more than Me.”
We run the risk of doing the same if we fail to correct our children by allowing them to do things or have their way because we want them to be happy, popular, successful, get into college, or whatever?
Sadly, we set our children up for failure when we end up with a child-centered home, instead of a God-centered one. Children who are coddled in this way grow up thinking they are the center of the universe. In his book The Heart of Anger, Lou Priolo says we end up provoking them to anger when they realize life doesn’t always go their way.
Today’s Other Readings:
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, even though they profess belief in God, sometimes live like there is no God.
It goes back to some of what I talked about yesterday. Their attitude is, “I know what the Bible says, but …”
“… but I’m sure God wants me happy!”
“… but if you knew my circumstances.”
“… but we love each other!”
“… but God knows my heart.” (so spiritual-sounding)
Or you fill in the blank.
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 was asked a question about marriage in heaven. He responded:
“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.
Good Parenting Resource:
Do your children ever speak to you in angry, disrespectful tones? Heart of Anger deals with anger’s root causes, offering corrective advice from a biblical perspective. Pastor and radio teacher, John MacArthur, Jr. has said, “This book goes beyond the external manifestations of anger and deals with the internal source – the thoughts and intents of the heart. I know of no other book that addresses this problem with such practical and applicable biblical wisdom.”
I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
Mondays Making Your Home Sing Darling Downs Diaries The Modest Mom The Art of Homemaking Musing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip Our Home of Many Blessings Over the Moon Mom to Mom Mondays
Tuesdays Time Warp Wife Testimony Tuesdays Purposeful Faith Grammie Time Cornerstone Confessions Tell It to Me Tuesday Rich Faith Rising
Wednesdays A Wise Woman Builds Her Home Coffee for Your Heart Messy Marriage A Little R & R Whole Hearted Home Women with Intention While I’m Waiting Woman to Woman Seeking God in All I Do
Thursdays Hearts for Home Party at My Place Frog’s Lily Pad Life of Scoop Booknificent Thursdays
Fridays Create with Joy Missional Women Grace & Truth Family, Friendship & Faith Faith & Friends
Saturdays Snippets of Inspiration Word of God Speak
Sundays Spiritual Sundays Raising Samuels
This post may contain affiliate links, but I only recommend books and resources that I believe are theologically sound and beneficial to the reader. Thank you for supporting this blog and ministry by supporting my links!
“Bible in a Year” posts have been edited and updated from previous posts.