And there came a man of God to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded for my dwelling, and honour your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?’ Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: I promised that your house and the house of your father 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 lightly esteemed. Behold, the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men. And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever. And everyone who is left in your house 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 priests’ places, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’”
Comment: We are not told who the man of God was but we are told that he bore a message from God!
- He reminds Eli that his history as a priest goes back to Aaron who was anointed High Priest by Moses back in Egyptian days. There was a long time through Moses and Joshua’s time, and about 250 years of previous judges as well.
- He was in a line which God had chosen and appointed, and they were given a promised adequate supply of food from the sacrifices offered to God.
- Maybe Eli, maybe himself, but certainly his sons had scorned, laughed at, kicked over God’s rules and made a mockery of their roles before God.
- The message read ‘those who honour me I will honour, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.’
- The end of his family and their suffering in death and poverty is foretold.
- His replacement is foretold, but it is not clear who it is to be. Does it refer to Samuel? or maybe further down the line to David or even is it a Messianic referral to the coming Messiah? It is not answered here, but worth bearing in the back of our minds.
Prayer: Help me to listen to You and live wisely.