1 Samuel 2.12-18 Eli’s sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord. Now 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 and 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. But 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.” If 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.” This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt. But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod.
The sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were the “professional” priests of the day. It would be wrong for me to say that they represented the attitude and morals of every single priest who ministered at that time. But it would not be wrong to observe the record of Scripture regarding them and conclude that they were anything but priests of The Most High. They treated the sacrifice of The Lord with contempt. They were guilty of taking the very things from those sacred offerings that belonged to God for their own personal use and profit. They took advantage of the offerings of the people of God for personal gain. Not only that, we read later on in this chapter that they were adulterers who slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting. They were using their position of power and influence to take advantage of the women who were serving for their own sexual pleasures. Compromise and disregard for the things of The Lord is like a snowball that just gets bigger and bigger. God smote these men because the wages of sin is indeed death.
Meanwhile, there is a young boy by the name of Samuel who simply and quietly ministered to The Lord, wearing a linen ephod. a garment of consecration. Beloved, every single person in the body of Christ has been called to minister to The Lord. While it is true that there may indeed be specific vocational callings. It is equally true that every blood-purchased, redeemed soul is part of “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
All of God’s people are chosen to be a royal priesthood and holy nation. As priests, it is our distinct privilege to minister to God and one another. That is why we have been redeemed. That is your agenda for today. Show forth the praises of The Lord by living for Him Who has called you out of darkness. Express that love for Him by extending it to one another. Like Samuel, minister to The Lord in all that you do. In Matthew 25, The Lord Jesus tells us that when we reach out in acts of kindness and generosity towards the least of men, we are doing it unto Him. This makes helping others and serving others much more than a job. It makes doing the things that we do an act of worship unto our King. Doing whatever we do, driven by His love and for His glory.
Beloved, God did not redeem any of us to be “professional” Christians like Hophni and Phinehas. Beware dear ones, we can become so familiar with “church life” and every aspect of “being a Christian”, that the very things of God become a routine instead of a delight, that is driven by a holy desire to know Christ and honor Him with our lives. When this “automatic pilot” brand of Christianity sets in, it is not long before we begin to lose regard for the sacred things of The Lord and people of God. Having lost that sense of reverence for The Lord and what He deems sacred, we begin “take” what belongs to God and use it for our own pleasure. We begin to use and abuse fellow servants of God to fulfill our evil desires and lusts. This leaven corrupts and destroys lives, marriages and ministries. This leaven is the consequence of leaving our first love.
May The Lord Jesus deliver from the “spirit” of being a professional Christian. May we like Samuel, learn to worship The Lord in secret. May we serve Him in simplicity with all of our hearts. May we be clothed with the “linen ephods” of humility and love today. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. Selah.