Updated: Nov 4, 2020
God of light shined forth His marvelous presence, but sinful souls hid in their transgressions. The glorious light looked upon the souls in need and saw each soul full of blasphemy. The light dug down to the core of defiant man, but only found insolence in his every plan. The light transgressed dark’s deep domain and offended dark’s deep desire to remain the same. Light called out to the darkened souls, but no one wanted to be made whole. Sinful souls wanted no light, all wallowed in their own delights. Men shook their fists at light’s offensive ways and decided to live any other way. All souls lied and killed and raged in their fears, while everyone’s wrath grew great and ire was held dear. Anger settled deep in every soul, man became angst and felt very alone. Their unsettled hearts lived without hope, all fought with everyone and everything unable to cope. Confused by the light and being so weak, they fortified their hearts with prideful glee. Insecure and chaotic, so empty of life, death plagued their souls and each fought with his plight. The young and the old were all alike, fully absorbed in self, they only sought what they liked. Their darkened lives sought to satisfy every whim, each one fought for gratification of self, giving little regard to anything else.
God of light saw man’s defiant heart, those wretched souls who loved to fight. Souls despised light’s authority while seeking to bathe in detestable impurities. Souls loathed light’s exacting oversight, so they all turned aside and hid behind lies. Light shined forth to illuminate minds, but souls loved the darkness and rejected the light. In this darkened state, lost souls groped through the day, only to end up dead and in the grave. Poor souls were looking for some other way, yet every soul always found himself cut away. Each day, each soul peered into the stars shining bright, seeking to know what was really right. Souls sought to gain more meaning in life, only to know and find they were utterly blind.
God of light saw all souls nudging the earth like swine, so the merciful light decreed, “These will be mine.” With loving care and concern, He reached into His heart and called for His Son knowing the times. The light of God came forth in Christ Jesus the Lord, who went to the cross in order to give God’s light to the lost. Faith grabbed ahold of the grace that was bestowed, and those who believed were surely made whole. Souls full of God’s grace, mortified the old; souls that believed were all made new, they welcomed God’s light and were all rescued.
Light shined bright and darkened minds could see, they were now saints and soundly believed. Light begot light and souls turned to Christ; the children of God truly loved their new sight. Hard hearts were open, there was only one to please and He is the one who now knew me. Faith saw the light of God’s great glory, and no longer hid behind the lie and the folly. Grace empowered the children of light: these are the ones He made pure in His sight. Hope impassioned their quest to know God, thus the saints lived fully and wholly for heaven above.
The light brought forth light and gave no place to the dark, thus believers shook off darkness and gave full place to the light. Faith loved light and forsook all that was dark, true faith had promises that would cost them all. Still, there are those who turn away for the old; these are the ones who go astray and then scold. But for those who believe unto eternal life they will gain, for they will find the celestial city promised before time began. The city shines with no night to be known, and only in Christ will anyone be known.
Faith sees that city built in the sphere of heaven, made for believers who were freed from sin’s leaven. The city is a sight to behold, not made for those who looked back to the old. Faith looks to God and walks in His light, the borders of black cannot hold him back. Light gave sight and purity took root, the dark ways of self were no longer as life in His light brought forth true fruit.
God’s call came forth to me, a man of clay; God’s voice now directed my every way. No longer confused and chaotic in mind, my life has been made whole by the one called Divine. Once astray in a deep darkened state, I was just a man with no hope beyond the earthly grave. When death finally came and my walk was no more, my soul learned his fate as I stood at heaven’s gate. The soul once deemed dead and lived full of dread, was welcomed into heaven to God’s holy estate. I was one given God’s holy grace so that I could now be His child and fully relate.
Every believer has faults and shortcomings: the places and areas in our life that cause us to falter or draw our attention away from living rightly in the Spirit. This is the sphere of desire, where temptations for the natural life appeal to us in some way. This is the flesh-life that considers situations and relationships through the eyes of the natural. This is the flesh-life that wants to withdraw into ease to avoid the cross or to assert our own form of justification or validation to appear right or worthy to others. This is the flesh-life inclined to pleasing or promoting ourselves. When a believer leans toward the natural, it is called carnality, and when a believer adamantly withdraws into self, it is called backsliding, and when a believer refuses instruction or rejects correction, it is called rebellion.
Eli was a priest in the Times of the Judges, when there was no king in the land and everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Eli lived in Shiloh and ministered at the Tabernacle each day. Here is the place he met Hannah, a childless woman in great anguish of heart. Her soul was troubled, and she was ridiculed and scorned by the wife of her husband. Through Hannah, the Lord God would bring forth Samuel, the prophet, priest, and judge who would speak to the nation and not one word would fall to the ground (1 Sa. 3:19).
Samuel would be Eli’s replacement as the Lord was bringing judgment upon Eli for his transgressions against the Lord. Eli’s lineage would be cut off from the priesthood and his sons would be killed. What was Eli’s great error that would cause the Lord’s wrath to fall on him and his descendants?
Was it because his sons, Hophni and Phinehas were wicked: who would forcefully take meat from the pots, meat that was being offered to the Lord? They were young men who served themselves instead of the Lord. Their actions caused the people of God to despise the offering; the people knew that these two young men took the best of the offerings for themselves. The people were not motivated to serve the Lord. Hophni and Phinehas also took the women for themselves and used the yearly assembly as an opportunity to satisfy and gratify themselves.
Was it that he was grossly overweight, thus an indication that he ate well and also partook of the fatty portions of meat that his sons grabbed for themselves?
Was it that he rebuked Hannah at the Tabernacle thinking she was drunk? His own two sons would lie with the women who came to the Tabernacle, thus preferring their own desires and gratifying their own desires, giving no honor to the Lord. When Eli saw Hannah moving her mouth while saying nothing, he assumed she was like these other women.
Was it because Eli never spoke to his sons about their wicked ways? Eli did speak to them and said, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For it is not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” (1 Sam. 2:23–25). No! Eli knew it was wrong and that his sons transgressed the ministry. Eli appealed to them and attempted to instruct them, but they would not listen. Their own desires came first.
Eli could tell everyone that he tried to teach them and show them the right way, but they wouldn’t listen to him. He could say, “I raised them to know what was right, but once they came of age, there was nothing I could do.” But Eli was certainly at fault!
So what was the great fault that would cut Eli, his sons, and his descendants from serving as priests before the Lord? This is the Lord’s charge: Eli preferred his sons and gave greater regard to them than to the Lord God. He did not act with zeal to correct the situation. Eli appealed to the sons but he did not take a stand for the Lord against them. He did not drive away their Canaanite behavior. Eli did not drive his sons from the Tabernacle and the priesthood and judge rightly, thus giving the utmost honor and regard to the Lord.
Eli should have decisively acted and sent a message to the people of God that the offering is to be honored above all, and serving the Lord is an honor, not to be used for selfish gain. Eli was old in age and knew better, but his zeal to do right fell short when it came to his own sons, apparently born later in his life, since they were called young men (1 Sam. 2:17). Since serving as priest begins at age 30, and they were called young, then Eli begot these two sons later in life. Many fall prey to the desire to give preference to their own children, especially those born later in life. But this did not excuse Eli’s lack. The Lord’s perspective must be employed in all that is decided, said, and done.
The Lord sent a prophet to Eli who said to him, “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). Eli honored his sons more than the Lord, giving them place and regard instead of the Lord. Eli’s sons were full of fleshly ways, and Eli’s own weight issue proved his indulgent ways. Eli gave more value to his sons and their ways than to God and His ways. Thus, Eli’s weight was a visible sign of his indulgence.
Judgement was coming and it came in its own timing. Eli knew the truth but he did not execute the truth. There is always a cost when a believer gives regard to the natural ways. Eli would perish; his two sons would be killed, and Eli’s priestly lineage would be replaced. Oh my!
Beware, many in church today are doing this very thing. They are following the ways of Eli, giving regard and honor to their fleshly ways and the natural order, especially with their own children and those they deem friends.
Eli lived many years without receiving a rebuke. Judgment was suspended year after year, till Samuel came forth ready to hear the voice of the Lord and serve according to God’s word and His alone. Eli allowed his sons to act contrary to the Lord and did not drive away the rebellious spirit. The sons satisfied and gratified flesh for a time; then the time ended and their soul was required of them to give an account. Christ Jesus warned His disciples to serve the Lord and seek His Kingdom first and foremost (Matt. 6:33).
Modern Christians speak of the love, mercy, and grace of God while they prefer their natural relationships and fleshly ways. They give some regard to God but not when it comes to their particular desire; they find it so easy to regard by sight instead of faith, to love with affection rather than a faith grounded in truth. Modern Christians will speak of the truth but truth in the inward parts always lacks, thus it adversely affects all other aspects of the divine nature working in them; it becomes skewed as they prefer self’s definition of love, mercy, and grace.
Many today will boast of a Christian life, but their life does not cut away the fleshly desires, worldly ways, self-centered thinking, and human affections. To be a Christian is to walk in the Spirit, and this spiritual life mortifies one’s personal passions and desires (Gal. 5:24–25). Eli could say, “Boys, it is not good what you’re doing,” but he did not take up the sword of the Spirit and cut away the offense toward God. Eli so easily corrected Hannah and sought to set her straight, but he did not exercise the same rebuke for his defiant sons.
So, where are the sons this day? How did Eli’s pleasing and appeasing work out for them? Eli served the Lord and taught the boys the ministry of the tabernacle, but he faltered in the faith and honored them above God. Eli had idols in his heart; he loved his sons more than the Lord. He partook of the fatty offerings for himself, and he judged Hannah but demonstrated partiality with his own sons.
Eli was 98 years old when he fell off his stool and broke his neck after hearing that the Israelites suffered a loss to the Philistines, the Ark of the Covenant was taken captive, and his sons were killed. Such a shame to finish your life in such lack, in a state of feeble faith and leaving so much in ruin.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but it leads to death (Prov. 16:25). This word calls for all disciples to not lean on our own definitions of love, justice, mercy, grace, and holiness. The Lord allows a time for insolence or indulgence, but then He judges. Lord, that we would find ourselves this day on the right side of the Lord, where the sheep find a home with the shepherd.