Summary: Christians are to be the light set on a hill that show forth the love of God to the lost. We must learn from Eli, Hophni and Phineas how not to lose that light.
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Pastor James May
LAMPS WITHOUT LIGHT
1 Samuel 3:1-3, "And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;"
Even those of us who live around the House of God and are counted as part of the Body of Christ must be vigilant to not allow the presence of God and the sacred things of God to become too common and meaningless. God will not spare those who presume upon Him, nor will He spare those who are never taught proper reverence for the House of God.
Eli was a judge in Israel, and a Levite. He was the Great High Priest of Israel whose duty it was to oversee the events of the sacrifices in the Tabernacle and to bring into the Holy of Holies, once each year to offer sacrifice for all of Israel.
For many years Eli had been faithful as the High Priest. He had two sons, Hophni and Phineas, who were reared around the Tabernacle and learned the duties that they were to inherit as Priests of Israel. They were of the Tribe of Levi, whom God had foreordained to serve Him and the people. They were separated and dedicated unto the service of the Lord God in all the ceremonies of the Temple.
Hophni and Phineas experienced the sacrificing of the morning and evening sacrifices in the Tabernacle. They saw and understood the importance of the ceremonial cleansing that must take place before the High Priest could offer the blood of the spotless lamb on the Day of Atonement when their father, Eli, would enter into the Holy of Holies and into the very presence of God before the Mercy Seat upon the Ark of the Covenant.
God had laid out in detail the specifics of how the work of the Temple was to be done and what each of the priests of the Temple were do to so that there would be no mistakes. If Israel were to be blessed by God, these priests must perform their duties faithfully and completely.
Through their childhood and teen years, Hophni and Phineas had watched and learned. They knew every gesture, every expression, every correct prayer and everything required to give their service as Priests the proper ceremonial appearance. But, the work of the Temple and the presence of God became too common place to them and they were not careful to give their duties proper reverence.
They became lax in their commitment and lazy in their assigned duties before God. They allowed their consecration to slip and they no longer even loved the Lord God.
These two young men are described in a strong statement of condemnation found in 1 Samuel 2:12, "Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD."
What a terrible thing it is to be brought up as a child around the things of God, learning to make the appearance of being a Christian, pretending that all things are right and still be considered by God as a “Son of the Devil”.
These young men, along with their father had become lamps without light!
Even Eli, the High Priest, he had also become lax in his own commitment to God and had allowed his sons to continue to serve in the Tabernacle as priests, knowing that they were living in wickedness and sin. Eli knew that his sons had no regard for the ceremonial law of Moses and were guilty of presuming upon God.
One of the greatest problems we face in our churches is that too many parents believe that their children are saved just because they hang around God’s House and God’s people. Just because our children are familiar with the ways of Christianity doesn’t make them a Christian.