MEANWHILE

**10 April 2013**

**MEANWHILE…**

**1 Samuel 2**

New Living Translation (NLT)

Eli’s Wicked Sons
12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord
13 or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a
sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged
fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, 14
the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever
it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to
worship at Shiloh were treated this way. 15 Sometimes the servant
would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the
altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it
could be used for roasting.

16 The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you
want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would
demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” 17 So
the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord’s sight, for
they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt.

18 But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord. He wore a
linen garment like that of a priest.[d

] 19 Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to
him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. 20 Before they
returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May
the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she
gave to the Lord.[e

]” 21 And the Lord gave Hannah three sons and two daughters.
Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing
to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were
seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the
Tabernacle.[f

] 23 Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the
people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning?
24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s
people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God[g

] can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the
Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to
their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.

26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the
Lord and with the people.

There are some great churches in the world. There are also some
terrible churches in the world, if we’re honest. But what is
consistent of every church, is that no church is perfect, and from
time to time there are a few issues that need to be sorted out.

The temple where Samuel was now living, under the leadership of Eli,
was facing some issues. We read in this passage of Eli’s two sons
(priests themselves) who were treating the Lord’s offerings with
contempt. There were specific instructions regarding how sacrifices
were to take place, what should be done with the meat etc, and Eli’s
sons were ignoring these instructions.

Added to that, it seems there father had little control over there
actions. He was aware of what they were doing, yet was powerless to
stop them. They clearly did not respect him, else they would have
honoured his wishes and submitted to him when he rebuked them. Yet,
they carried on doing what they wanted to do.

So effectively, we’re dealing with a corrupt church here.

But one line stands out for me: “Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller
and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people”. In fact, not
even one line… just one word… ‘Meanwhile’.

It was amidst the leadership issues, the contempt for God’s offering,
the seduction of young women at the temple and other wicked acts that
we read of Samuel who served God faithfully, and continued to grow in
favour with the Lord and with the people.

A CALL TO ACTION
So often we hear of people who leave churches because “they can’t grow
there” or because “they don’t agree with what the pastor is doing” or
because “the worship leader is putting on a show”. Granted, there are
valid reasons for leaving a church (firstly if God instructs a person
clearly), but in many of these cases, that reason is not valid.

True growth happens amidst difficult situations. This doesn’t apply
only to church – it applies in all spheres of life. But the first step
to growth amidst a difficult situation is a genuine desire to grow.
Without a desire to grow, we will always see the glass as half empty,
rather than see more space for more water.

Is there a situation in your life that is difficult, and you’re
tempted to run? A job you want to quit because it’s got tough; a
ministry you want to leave because it’s not going how you think it
should; a course you want to drop because it’s difficult? Unless God
is very clearly directing you in that direction – don’t do it! Don’t
quite. Choose to be like Samuel.

Let it be said of you: “Meanwhile, ……… grew and prospered”.

**A PRAYER TO PRAY**

Lord eventhough is it hard to go through difficult situations, I thank
you that you have promised to never leave me or forsake me in them.
Please help me through this particular situation I am facing right
now. Give me clear instructions as to how I should respond and what I
need to do. In Jesus name, amen.

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