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A Boy Wearing the Ephod

Prophets, Priests, and Kings  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  26:15
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Introduction

Review

Started this new Series in 1 Samuel-Prophets, Priests and Kings
Hannah, and Elkanah were devoted to the Lord.
Hannah Prayed, and made a vow
Eli the priest was a contrast not devoted tot he Lord. Showing us leadership in Israel was in trouble.
God granted Hannah’s request, and she gave birth to a son Samuel
Hannah’s Prayer
Hannah Dedicates Samuel
1 Samuel 2:11 NIV
Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest.

Eli’s Wicked Sons

Now, we meet the sons of this corrupt priest Eli, and our passage this morning starts at 1 Samuel chapter 2, verse 12.
1 Samuel 2:12 ESV
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.
1 Samuel 2:12 ESV
Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.
The original language is Sons of Belial, or picture it as a son of the devil. Eli calls Hannah a daughter of Belial
1 Samuel 1:16 ESV
Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
1 Sam
John 8:44 NIV
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:31–44 NIV
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.” “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
2 Corinthians 6:15 NIV
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
This idea of whose son you were, was carried over into the New Testament. It reminds us when Jesus encountered the Priests in his day. When Jesus encountered the Pharisees, he called them sons of the devil.

John 3:31-44

John 8:31–44 NIV
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.” “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
In ancient Israel you became a priest based on your family line. That is why Eli, and his sons were serving, it is all there in genealogies. But what Jesus is saying, is although you may have this bloodline, that is no gaurantee of whose son you are. That is determined by who you know, and Eli’s sons did not know the Lord
They did not Know the Lord
The text also says that El’s Sons did not know the Lord, Pharaoh was one who did not know the Lord.
They did not Know the Lord
Exodus 5:2 NIV
Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
How is it that a Priest does Not Know The Lord?
Isaiah 29:13 NIV
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Jesus quoted from the prophet Isaiah in the book of Matthew and he said
Matthew 15:7–9 NIV
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”
Matthew 15:8 NIV
“ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
Malachi 2:7–9 NIV
“For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
Mal 2:
It is a heart issue. People go through the motions, but their hearts are not dedicated to the Lord. They do the things they are supposed to do, but they really don’t know the Lord or Love the Lord. And no one is immune to that. If the priests aren’t immune who would be.
This is very sad, yet see it everyday. Seminaries, denominational leaders, preachers.
The sin of Eli’s sons
1 Samuel 2:13–15 NIV
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.”
1 Sam 2:
To understand the sin they committed, we should know that God had made a provision for the priests to get paid, it was in the Book of Leviticus, it is just that Hophni and Phinehas didn’t follow that.
Leviticus 7:29–34 NIV
“Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who brings a fellowship offering to the Lord is to bring part of it as their sacrifice to the Lord. With their own hands they are to present the food offering to the Lord; they are to bring the fat, together with the breast, and wave the breast before the Lord as a wave offering. The priest shall burn the fat on the altar, but the breast belongs to Aaron and his sons. You are to give the right thigh of your fellowship offerings to the priest as a contribution. The son of Aaron who offers the blood and the fat of the fellowship offering shall have the right thigh as his share. From the fellowship offerings of the Israelites, I have taken the breast that is waved and the thigh that is presented and have given them to Aaron the priest and his sons as their perpetual share from the Israelites.’ ”
Lev
Eli’s sons would have gotten meat, they just wanted more.
Because they didn’t know the Lord, they were unsatisfied in what he provided for them. Because they did not know the Lord they believed that their provision was on their own, so they had to grab what they could. The Word of God gave them a method for their provision, but for them it was unsatisfactory.
Sometimes, the people EVEN knew that something was wrong and they brought it up to Hophni and Phinehas. But the problem was they did not act with humility, when confronted. Because they did not know the Lord, hey did not repent and turn back to the Lord, instead they reacted with anger.
Sometimes people even told them it was wrong and it didn’t seem to matter to Hophni and Phinehas, they took it by force.
1 Samuel 2:16 NIV
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.”
Sometimes people even told them it was wrong and it didn’t seem to matter to Hophni and Phinehas, they took it by force.
it was wrong and it didn’t seem to matter to Hophni and Phinehas, they took it by force.
Didn’t seem to matter to Hophni and Phinehas.
1 Samuel 2:17 NIV
This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.
1 Sam
This did not sit well with the Lord
1 Samuel 2:17 NIV
This sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight, for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.
They were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt. In some translations, the sense is that El’s sons were not treating the offering as sacred and holy to the Lord they were treating it with contempt. However, as we look at ancient Hebrew sources, there is a sense that the phrase “they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt” refers to the worshippers. Thus giving a sense that the people who were bringing the offering were no longer brining it with a good and pure heart, but were perhaps dreading bringing the offering to the Lord.
I think that translation makes the most sense for two reasons. The first is that it was read that way in the older manuscripts that exist, and secondly because it seems to support this overarching idea present in the Book of Judges, and here in Samuel, that as go the leaders, so go the people. Lastly, we seem to see that today.

Our greed as individuals has consequences in God’s Community.

Take by Force.
How many times have you heard this phrase out of people’s mouths “The Church is just after your Money?” Yet, we really rarely hear people say about The American Society, that they are always looking for money”
Think about it like this. I don’t really ever hear people say”The American Society, they are always looking for money” Right? Why is that? Because people have a certain level of trust that American Cancer Society leaders are moving forward with a vision to cure cancer, which they view as a good thing.
Why is that? Why is the Church criticized for soliciting donations, when a charitable organization who sole purpose is to solicit donations not criticized?
I believe it is because people have a level of trust that American Cancer Society leaders are moving forward with a vision to cure cancer, and as of yet there has not been a public failing and evidence of corruption in the leadership.
As long as we are proceeding along with God’s goals and His kingdom in mind. God will supply for his people to be able do his will. The problem comes in where there is a disconnect with that.
The church, on the other hand, has in many cases had public evidence of corruption. As prosperity preachers have spent the offerings of the congregants intended for the Lord’s work lavishly on themselves. This has created an atmosphere of distrust of the leaders of the church.
Sometimes, it does not even have to be as drastic as the prosperity preacher, it can occur to a lesser degree in other churches as well. If the leadership of the church, is perceived as not seeking after the Lord’s vision for the church, if they are perceived as not using the Lord’s offering for furthering God’s kingdom, but rather using it for their own agenda, the worshippers will be giving treating the Lord’s offering with contempt.
As long as we are proceeding along with God’s goals and His kingdom in mind. God will supply for his people to be able do his will. The problem comes in where there is a disconnect with that.
So, can we preach on money, and not further this awful stereotype? Yes we can as along as the church has measure of trust in the leadership. If the church trusts that the leadership is using the Lord’s offering to further the Lord’s kingdom, to further the Lord’s vision, then we can trust that the Lord will provide for His church in the measure he sees fit to further His kingdom.
When the leaders do not know the Lord, when there is this disconnect that is occuring, as we are seeing here in Israel, it is easy to think that this is occuring outside of the Lord’s control, but this is not the case. God still has his hand on his people. God is still working things out to further His kingdom as he sees fit.
1 Samuel 2:18 NIV
But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod.
WHen people say the Church is only looking for money it is becasue they percieve that the leadership is not using the offerings for a God given vision for the advancement of the kingdom of God, and they distrust the leadership, and they are trying to hold back the money for themselves as well.
Let’s look at what is going here, again in detail, then expand it into our lives.
The boy Samuel, was the faithful offering of the dedicated and faithful Elkanah and Hannah, and God is going to use that in a mighty way. The contrast is apparent here. The unfaithful, those that do not know the Lord, are using the offering for themselves, and are causing contempt within the Lord’s people and the offerings, and the faithful’s offerings are being used of the Lord to further the kingdom and provide hope, and the faithful are being blessed for it as well.
1 Samuel 2:20–21 NIV
Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
1 sam 2.20
I would like to take a moment to see what this looks like. One family from our community recently went through a very complicated medical situation, and the medical bills were insurmountable.
I would like to take a moment to see what this looks like
People are bringing their offerings to the priests. The priests do not know the Lord, their hearts are filed with sin, so instead of relying on the Lord to provide for them they take the Lord’s portion for themselves.
Today, in our country the medical insurance industry is changing rapidly, and there are alternative programs like medical sharing cooperatives available to help with medical bills. This family was a member of one of those. So when the insurmountable medical bills started rolling in, people from all over the world would in their payments to help pay for these medical expenses. As these members have a faith in God, God gets involved. The insurmountable medical bills get paid.
Over the years leadership in churches in general have perhaps too often been corrupt leaders who have taken what was due for the Lord, what was due to further the mission, and misappropriated it in such a way as to foster and build mistrust
The Church ought to be able to learn from that. Leadership must know the Lord. When they know the Lord, they will have faith in God to provide for the vision he has given, the worshippers will trust in the leadership and not view the offering with contempt. The the heart given offerings of the worshippers will be blessed by God as his kingdom is advanced.
Back to the text. That is the ideal. Israel at this time is far from the ideal. How does the leadership get back on track? There are two ways. They either respond to the warning, or God removes them. Praise be to our God and Father that he is slow to anger and rich in mercy, because he gives us warnings and time to respond.
But you must heed those warnings. The warnings to turn to the Lord do not go on forever. They recieved warnings form the worshippers, in verse 16,
1 Samuel 2:16 NIV
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.”
And they responded in anger. If you receive a warning from a fellow brother or sister, heed the warning, it is from God. If you find yourself responding in anger, there is a good chance that you do not know the Lord. These corrupt leaders, were not only falling into the sin of stealing, but as we read in so many headlines today these leaders were also involved in sexual sin as well.
1 Samuel 2:22 NIV
Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.
1 sam 2:17
And Eli tried to turn them back.
1 Samuel 2:23–25 NIV
So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the Lord’s people is not good. If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the Lord, who will intercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death.
1 Samuel 2:23 NIV
So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours.
1 Samuel 2:23–24 NIV
So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours. No, my sons; the report I hear spreading among the Lord’s people is not good.
But when you get those warnings, and you respond in anger, and do not heed the warnings, eventually stop listening. Jesus even talked about that in the passage we looked earlier from John chapter 8.
John 8:43–44 NIV
Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
It is like Pharaoh also. He heard about the Lord from Moses. He had warning after warning as the plagues descended upon Egypt and he did not turn to the Lord so eventually His heart was hardened.
Eli’s sons do not respond, and as the text says, it was the Lord’s will to put them to death. They had their warning from the Lord, and they did not turn back and eventually God cut’s off the family line of Eli from the priesthood.
There is this very interesting verse in this passage.
1 Samuel 2:25 NIV
If one person sins against another, God may mediate for the offender; but if anyone sins against the Lord, who will intercede for them?” His sons, however, did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the Lord’s will to put them to death.
1 sam
When Hophni and Phinehas are sinning against the people by being poor, and unfaithful leaders, they are creating this horizontal problem in the Nation. God may intervene in this situation for them. He may remove the poor leaders by force. We see is preparing to do that. He may prepare a new leader to step in, we see that with Samuel, as God keeps reminding us of him, at the beginning of the passage,
1 Samuel 2:11 NIV
Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest.
1 Sam 2:11
In the Middle
1 Samuel 2:18 NIV
But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod.
And at the end of the passage
1 Sam 2:
1 Samuel 2:26 NIV
And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.
1 Sam 2
But what about the vertical relationship, how can that be restored? Eli doesn’t know, Who can internee between God and Men?A priest is supposed to be the one to intervene, to mediate between God and men, that is what he supposed to do. As we see men, even priests are not perfect. A perfect priest, a priest who is without sin can intervene. He can be the one to mediate between God and men.\
This is why Jesus had to come. Jesus had to come to mediate between God and men. Jesus needed to be both fully God, so that he could be sinless, yet fully man so that he could serve this role as the mediator.
Hebrews 7:23–28 NIV
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.
For all those here today the world is divided into those that know the Lord and those that do not. You must heed the warnings, and you must know the Lord.
To know the Lord hear the warnings in his word, turn from your sin, and turn to Him. Know the Lord Jesus Christ through prayer, His word, and through worship.
As you know the Lord, trust that he will provide for his vision and his mission. Treat not the offerings with contempt but trust that the Lord will use them to advance his kingdom.
If you have been hurt by poor leadership in the church, know that the Lord Jesus will intercede. Nothing happens outside of the control of God Almighty, He is working things out according to his will and purpose The transformation may not be apparent, it may take time, but God Almighty has his world in the palm of his hand, and he work all things for his kingdom.
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