We carry many scars around with us that come from many different sources. Some scars are physical and some are emotional. Unfortunately, our emotional scars can come from those who have been entrusted to provide and care for us.
1 Samuel 2:27-36 (focusing on 34-36)
27 Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your ancestor’s family when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh? 28 I chose your ancestor out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your ancestor’s family all the food offerings presented by the Israelites. 29 Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’
30 “Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that members of your family would minister before me forever.’ But now the Lord declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained. 31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your priestly house, so that no one in it will reach old age, 32 and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, no one in your family line will ever reach old age. 33 Every one of you that I do not cut off from serving at my altar I will spare only to destroy your sight and sap your strength, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.
34 “‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day. 35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his priestly house, and they will minister before my anointed one always. 36 Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so I can have food to eat.”’”
Eli is confronted with a prophecy against his house for the way they have failed to lead the people entrusted to their care. Eli failed to lead his sons because he did not remove them from their positions of power despite the depths of their wickedness. By Eli failing to remove his sons, he failed his sons and he failed the people. The prophecy begins with the grace of God by stating what He had done for them. It then confronts the abuse of the house of Eli. As a result of this abuse, their positions of power would be stripped away with the death of all three men. However, the prophecy does not end in despair, it ends with the grace of God because He promises to replace the failed house of Eli with a faithful leadership.
Hophni and Phinehas had abused their position for their own personal gain. They took advantage of people they were meant to care for by using them to fulfil their sinful desires. Eli’s failings are seen in his inability to lead his sons, which instead saw him lead by them. This resulted in many under their leadership being scarred by their actions.
It can be easy to look at one person and see how they have failed. It is even easier to look at others and see how they have failed us. I find it the most difficult to look at myself and see how I have failed those that are entrusted to my care. As a parent I do my best to shield my children from the scars that come their way. But the harsh reality I have to face is how my sinfulness will scar my children. This realisation continually brings me before Jesus, the faithful priest whom God raised up, who bore my sins upon the cross and shows me how to truly lead those in my care.
Head: Do I appreciate and thank God for the godly leaders that he has placed in my life?
Heart: How do I feel about the scars that others have inflicted upon me? How do I feel about the scars that I have inflicted upon others?
Hands: How can I ask my leaders for a list of things to pray for them so that I can commit their requests to prayer.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being the perfect Father, who will lead me and never let me down. Thank you for the godly leaders in my life who do not abuse their power or take advantage of me, but help me to grow and help me to love You more. Help me to be a blessing to them. Please forgive me for the times that I have failed to lead well, those entrusted to my care. Lord help me to forgive those who have scarred me.
A song to listen to: Only a Holy God
Ben Harvey- Adelaide Presbyterian Church