Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Intimacy with the Lord

"The key to either great purpose or great destruction lies in where we choose to sustain our focus. Knowing this fact should move us to jealously guard our intimacy with the Lord."
by Bill Johnson
Senior Pastor, Bethel Church - Redding, CA

I'm part of a Sunday School lesson writers' group at our church. I just finished my latest assignment. My lesson covers 1 Samuel 2:12-4:1a.

What a vivid example Eli and his sons were of the destruction that follows when one turns his focus from the Lord.

Eli was a priest whose family had been set aside historically to serve the Lord in the tabernacle at Shiloh. Evidently Eli's tabernacle work kept him too busy to teach his sons the customs of the priests' relationship to the people. His sons were evil, greedy men ~ so evil they even stole the fragrance offering from the Lord.

Eli was very old before he finally confronted his sons. By that time, all the people knew not only that Hophni and Phinehas stole the fatty meat from their sacrifices before it was properly prepared, but also their immorality with the women who served at the tent of meeting. Ultimately God put an end to the entire priestly line of Eli in punishment for their wickedness.

The saddest part of the story is the consequences for the people of God. Because of the actions of Eli and his sons, "Word from the Lord was rare in those days, visions were infrequent." 1 Samuel 3:1.

Think about this: Greed has no place in service to God. The Lord provides for His own. Do you have the patience to wait for His provision? Can you be an example of a faithful servant without needing your rewards up front?

What a contrast of great purpose Samuel is! His parents were a godly man and woman who fully supported his service to the Lord, and they did everything in their power to show that support. After praying for years for a son, Hannah was given the desire of her heart. When Samuel was old enough to be weaned, she released her hold on him into God's service. Only able to see him once a year when they came for their yearly sacrifice, they brought him a new robe that he needed for his work. As a result of their faithfulness, their lives were blessed with more children.

Think about this: God gives us a beautiful example of a whole family sold out to Him. Like them, focus now on serving and supporting the ministry of the Lord. Your family will follow whatever example you set for them.

It is so important that we live faithfully under the guidance of the Lord. We should make every effort to do what we know to be His will. One great way to start is with a few minutes of meeting Him in prayer and Bible reading.

Think about this: Are you living the life of an obedient servant, never having to beg for scraps of the Bread of Life? If not, what changes are you going to make right now?

Michelle is hosting In Other Words at her site Because I Love You. If you want to participate, write a blog about the quote in the box above on your site then click on the link to Michelle's blog and leave your URL in the Mr. Linky box. You will also find links for the other participants' blogs.


Denise said...

This was really good.

Michelle Bentham said...

This is an excellent post. Love the "Think about this" spots.