For Christians who try to stay out of Politics
For Christians who try to stay out of Politics, remember this. You can’t share the Gospel with an Aborted Baby. In other words, if you haven’t first fought to save the life of a baby from an Abortion, then all the commandments to love your neighbor become meaningless in the case of that child. (Robert Brownell)
A lesson from Eli’s life – correcting others before they cause your downfall
Praise be God who gives wisdom to those who believe in him. We pray that each one who comes to Christ desires to please the Lord God by walking in true wisdom and integrity. May the Holy Spirit reveal to us everything and everyone that we can correct in our lives. Amen
Eli the priest at Shiloh was a priest of the Lord God. He had done some remarkably good deeds such as praying that the barren Hannah gives birth a child and also that the child Samuel comes to know of his prophetic calling for God. Despite all this he didn’t have a happy ending. This is quite a tragedy considering he was a devout man of God in most of his actions except one.
So what went wrong for him?
I answer that by pointing to what the Lord God revealed to the child Samuel which is nothing less than the judgment against Eli’s family. Let’s read the following verses (1 Samuel 3: 8-14) to get the true picture:
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 11 Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which the two ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
You might want to read 1 Samuel 3: 8-14 mentioned above once again that the seriousness of the judgment of God against Eli’s family sinks in really well. Just imagine, how would a child react if receives his first ever prophecy and he is told that his mentor’s family is going to be punished because of blasphemy against God. Now, the Lord God didn’t want to keep this child clueless as to why it was going to happen. It was clearly mentioned that Eli was forewarned about the highly immoral behavior of his sons in the house of worship of the Lord God.
So what exactly were Eli’s sons misdeeds?
12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. 13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt. (1 Samuel 2: 12-17)
What was Eli’s reaction to the crimes of his sons?
22 Now Eli was very old, and he kept hearing all that his sons were doing to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who were serving at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 23 And he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. 24 No, my sons; it is no good report that I hear the people of the Lord spreading abroad. 25 If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him?” But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death. (1 Samuel 2: 22-25)
Well Eli did rebuke them but that’s it. The Lord God expected Eli to restrain his sons but then Eli didn’t stop them from continuing in their evil. Though he knew his sons had immoral affairs with women he didn’t really do anything that would have made an effective stop to their wickedness.
Was Samuel the only one who received the prophecy of judgment against Eli’s family?
Samuel was never the only one in this matter. There’s another prophet mentioned in 1 Samuel 2:27-36 who is not identified by name but only as a man of God. He declared by the Lord God that Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas shall both die on the same day as a sign to Eli for their wickedness.
What happened to Eli and his family after receiving the prophecy from Samuel?
10 So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and they fled, every man to his home. And there was a very great slaughter, for thirty thousand foot soldiers of Israel fell. 11 And the ark of God was captured, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died. (1 Samuel 4:10-11)
When Eli asked the man of Benjamin who ran from the battle with the Philistines, he was already in great fear about the Ark. On hearing of the capture of the Ark of God, Eli the priest fell backward and died.
17 He who brought the news answered and said, “Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.” 18 As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years. (1 Samuel 4: 17-18)
The wife of Phinehas and their little baby son then had much grief to bear. In fact she lost the happiness of the birth of their child and named the baby with such a name which only reflected sorrow due to departure of the glory of God.
19 Now his daughter-in-law, the wife of Phinehas, was pregnant, about to give birth. And when she heard the news that the ark of God was captured, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed and gave birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women attending her said to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have borne a son.” But she did not answer or pay attention. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel!” because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
What is the main lesson we can learn here?
Correct others before they cause your downfall especially if they are associated with you by way of authority, ministry, family, friendship, mentoring or any other way in which you might be directly accountable for their actions. Do what is right first instead of focusing on methodology. Remember that though you are to be nice and polite, you can’t let your goodness turn a blind eye to those who are being oppressed because you don’t want to take decisive action. I will give you some examples of how this works so that there’s nothing too ambiguous in this regard.
- Suppose you are a manager at work and your deputy misuses his powers and demands bribes from his colleagues to not be a roadblock to their careers and you decided to not stop him despite being aware of this. By stop him, I mean not a mere rebuke but actually stopping him from taking bribes or just removing him. So because you don’t stop him, the matter goes out to the police who then arrest you along with your subordinate as they find it hard to believe that you didn’t try to stop him. This makes the police assume you too were the partner in crime.
- Another example, you are a leader to a team of preachers. One of your preachers is preaching heresy instead of the true Gospel but he gets in a lot of offerings every time he preaches. You feel it’s not good to tell him anything as it may ‘offend’ him. Besides you assume that next time you shall preach another sermon which counters his heresy to the congregation maybe a month later and you secretly hope that the people didn’t actually believe his falsehood. Then goes a complaint to the main overseeing authority in your country and all hell breaks loose. The corrupt preacher is sacked, named and shamed. His heresy is exposed. But so are you in trouble too. You asked to either resign from your church ministry office or face an inquiry which will surely defame you so badly that you won’t stand a chance to fight back.
- A woman loves her daughter a lot and takes it to the extreme by deciding to let her daughter do anything and everything with no questions asked. While her daughter is into immoral relations with a married man, her mother does nothing to stop her. Things go out in public and the married man’s wife now decides to file a lawsuit against her husband. She ends up dragging the girl’s mom into court as well and ends up ruining their reputations too.
What else can we understand in this regard?
- Rebuking and restraining don’t always mean the same thing.
- In regards to ministry there’s no compromise allowed about the things of God.
- Do not permit sexual immorality anywhere that you can stop it legally.
- Prophetic warnings are not to be taken lightly.
- Children can receive prophecy but their claims too need to be examined.
- You are responsible for those under your authority.
- Family members don’t just need right example from you, they too need to act right.
- Do not be presumptuous of yourself nor others.
- Never let your emotions make the facts look muddied.
- When good works and bad works mix, the bad works stand out unless there’s repentance.
- God won’t give you a prophecy without an explanation or justification.
- Never think any object is greater than the word of God to give you victory.
Being teachable or remaining ignorant?
The Bible encourages us to be teachable unto to things of God. A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1). Do you listen to God our father’s instructions as given in the Bible? Perhaps a reminder of the meaning of the word ‘teachable’ would be beneficial.Teach·able: 1 a : capable of being taught b : apt and willing to learn 2 : favorable to teaching (reference: Merriam-webster dictionary)
Let me first give you an example of what it means to be unteachable. Here we go with a conversation about a guy Adam inviting to his friend Jacob to a teaching on prophecy:
Adam: “Jacob, there’s a teaching on prophecy about the end times by so and so preachers in church next weekend. They are teaching about how to avoid the various deceptions and also they’re giving a warning of bloodshed during the great tribulation.”
Jacob: “Adam, please don’t talk negative things. I don’t want to know evil.”
Adam: “No it’s not. I just want you to benefit from what is mentioned in the Bible. That’s all I want my friend.”
Jacob: “I hate bloodshed and deception. I don’t want anything to do with it”
Adam: “This teaching doesn’t teach you sin by lying or killing. Now to kindly explain; it could help you keep your faith by…”
Jacob: “Hey wait! I always keep my faith. Are you accusing me of losing my faith?”
Adam: “No please. That’s not what I meant…”
Jacob: “Get away from me. Why did you talk about deception and bloodshed?”
Adam: “With all due respect I want to tell you the importance of such teachings but you are not letting me finish what I want to say.”
Adam: “Ok then, leave it. If you don’t want to hear me then I can’t expect you to listen to that preacher either.”
Jacob: “You are judging me.”
Adam: “Excuse me, you were first to judge when you said that I’m talking negative.”
Jacob: “Just stop talking negative!”
Adam: “Fine, keep to your ignorance and good luck with that!”
Now I don’t want to focus on how polite Adam should have been. Nowadays there is too much emphasis on being polite rather than being right. There’s a place for empathy but you should realize some people are too engrossed in themselves. So, I’m talking about how Jacob deliberately was avoiding going to the teaching on prophecy. He was only bothered about himself and kept interrupting whenever an explanation was offered. That is a fine example of being unteachable.
Don’t get me wrong but the scope of this post is not limited to only learning prophecy. I stand for all the topics and teachings of the Bible which we are to learn.
There are some people in the church who are quite cosy in their ignorance of the word of God. They are aware of certain Bible verses and they do try to understand these verses. However due to their own reasons, they avoid getting taught on every Bible topic.
For them peace, love and miracles are the only things to hear. Now try teaching them about repentance, avoiding false prophets, exposing pedophiles etc and they will first get uneasy and later angry. Most will try to exit the place where such topics are spoken but some will be so outraged that they will be very vocal in their dissent. They may say, ‘You have said this but as per my experience we shouldn’t be talking about it’ or may say ‘I don’t know about this topic and I don’t want to know’.
So you ask them where in the Bible it says we shouldn’t get this topics taught and they get cornered. As they don’t read the Bible that well, they will not know even if there was a Bible verse prohibiting so and so teaching. Such is the depth of their ‘experience’. There are verses in the Bible that in fact tell us what things not to learn. Here’s one of them; But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20 ESV). I will also mention another one; But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them–depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you (Revelation 2:24 NLT).
For such people their experiences are greater teachers than anyone else. They will try to avoid any teaching that is not sugar-coated or doesn’t fit their religious theology. Obsession with sugar-coated teachings reminds me of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder though the former is more about deliberate choices rather than the latter’s medical leanings.
To make this clear let’s go through another example; you see a bridge on the verge of collapsing any second and everyone is avoiding that bridge. Now a person is trying to cross it. You say, ‘Hey, the bridge is about to collapse any moment so don’t cross it’. And that person replies ‘Why should I listen? You didn’t say ‘please’ nor ‘kindly’. How dare you address me as ‘Hey’?’ You realize that empathy will help in such a case and so you then say, ‘Excuse me but since I don’t know your name I used the word ‘Hey’ and as it’s a matter of life and death I had decided to cut down on the pleasantries. So now will you kindly please avoid this bridge as its way to dangerous’. Then the person replies saying ‘O good. I shall surely not cross this bridge. Thanks for telling me in a way I am accustomed to understand.’ This may seem absurd in the world but in Church there are some Christians who behave just the same as the person trying to cross the dangerous bridge. Give them all warnings with related verses but they won’t even consider unless it’s in terms of their liking.
You see how people are more concerned about the sugar-coating rather than the actual topic of the words spoken. Such people are prone to deception unless they start checking facts before politeness. Because these people have an obsession that until and unless the words are not sugared to their liking they won’t even consider. The Evil One knows this too well. He therefore will make the temptation to sin look very pleasant as per that persons notions of politeness who only partly depends on God’s word to know what is true from false. As long as his inducement to sin seems pleasant to the eye (or mind) the gullible person will consume the product with great relish.
Not just the Devil, even selfish marketing people use the same trick of fake empathy. They speak lies so kindly and politely even if they don’t mean it. And thus sell products like insurance, weird oils, weight loss powders etc to people who don’t even need them. (Food for thought)
It’s time to start being teachable in the truest sense. It’s not about accepting any teaching for the sake of accepting. Rather we learn things because they are right in the eyes of God and help us and our brothers and sisters in Christ to admonish them of dangers, also to love, respect and bless one another for the glory of God.
Here a few Bible verses about being teachable:
- And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)
- And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. (1 Samuel 15:1)
- Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. (Proverbs 9:9)
- Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored. (Proverbs 13:18)
- And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)
- Spoon feeding people everything (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
- Ignorance is NOT bliss (disciplesofhope.wordpress.com)
- Why We Neglect Our Bibles (spykministry.wordpress.com)
- Empathy vs Apathy (cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com)