Monday, September 30, 2013

Spiritual Accountability

1Samuel 2:27  A man of God came to Eli and said to him, "Thus the LORD has said, 'I revealed myself to the family of your ancestor in Egypt when they were slaves to the house of Pharaoh. 28  I chose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to offer incense, to wear an ephod before me; and I gave to the family of your ancestor all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29  Why then look with greedy eye at my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honour your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?' 30  Therefore the LORD the God of Israel declares: 'I promised that your family and the family of your ancestor should go in and out before me forever'; but now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me; for those who honour me I will honour, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt. 31  See, a time is coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your ancestor's family, so that no one in your family will live to old age. 32  Then in distress you will look with greedy eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed upon Israel; and no one in your family shall ever live to old age. 33  The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep out his eyes and grieve his heart; all the members of your household shall die by the sword. 34  The fate of your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you--both of them shall die on the same day. 35  I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed one forever. 36  Everyone who is left in your family shall come to implore him for a piece of silver or a loaf of bread, and shall say, Please put me in one of the priest's places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.'"

Here is a story that is recorded twice – once in Chapter Two, and then again in Chapter Three.[1] Clearly this is of tremendous importance for the people of God.  The guardian of the faith proved to be unfaithful with the things of God, and has been called to account by God:  “See, a time is coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your ancestor's family, so that no one in your family will live to old age.”

We, who have responsibility for spiritual matters, are held to a greater spiritual accountability. The enduring lesson is this: those who handle holy things need to hold themselves to standards that are more holy than all others.

Ordinary 27 / Pentecost +20
49 Faithfulness
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 298.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day

[1] One is the earlier story and the other is the later – both are included when the narrative is written.

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