Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Did I not indeed reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in bondage to Pharaoh’s house? ‘Did I not choose them from all the tribes of Israel to be My priests, to go up to My altar, to burn incense, to carry an ephod before Me; and did I not give to the house of your father all the fire offerings of the sons of Israel? ‘Why do you kick at My sacrifice and at My offering which I have commanded in My dwelling, and honor your sons above Me, by making yourselves fat with the choicest of every offering of My people Israel?’ “Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the LORD declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. (2 Sam. 2:27-30)
How many times do we read in the Bible that “obedience is better than sacrifice”? To be honest I am not quite sure, but it is quite a bit. As I was doing my devotions this morning in 1 Samuel, I began reading about the sons of Eli. The NASB version of the Bible calls them “worthless” but I can imagine if we were to see them on the streets where we live we would call them thugs. The sons of Eli were taking advantage of the sacrificial system in Israel, eating the the portions they were not suppose to and taking advantage of the people. Abusing their power and position the Lord gave them.The Lord had enough of Eli’s sons and sent some one to deal with them. Which leads us to this portion of Scripture and a powerful lesson for us who are followers of Christ.
Did I Not Reveal Myself?
The first question the Lord asks is “did I not reveal myself?” If you are not familiar with the Old Testament, the books of Leviticus and Numbers are pretty clear and specific how the priests were to approach the Lord on behalf of the people. God revealed to them how he wanted things done, very specifically. But the sons of Eli were disregarding God’s revelation and doing things their own way. In Hebrews 1 we read that in the past God spoke in various ways but is now speaking to us through the life of Christ and in 2 Timothy 3 Paul tells us God speaks through His Word, the Bible, God’s revelation to us. So did God reveal Himself? Yes.
God goes further and reminds them, not only did I reveal myself to you, I also delivered you from the bondage of Egypt. I gave you a land for your own possession. Then I chose you, the tribe of Levi to serve me as priests before the people. Have I not provided for you? You sons of Eli are privileged to serve in my tabernacle. As believers could not God, say the same of us? Have i not delivered you from sin? Have I not chose you to be my witnesses of the Gospel? Am I not a God that provides for you?
Why Do You Kick At My Sacrifice?
If I have done all this for you why do you kick at my sacrifice? In our day, it could read, why do you spit in My face? Eli’s sons did whatever they wanted and Eli did not correct them. By their disobedience to God’s revelation, God said they were kicking God’s sacrifice and offerings. They were spitting in the face of God and saying what I want is more important than what you want, selfism. Now before we judge Eli and his sons, how often do we put what we want before what God has revealed in Scripture? How often do we disobey God’s eternal truths for temporal enjoyment?
Why Do You Kick My Son?
Obedience is better than sacrifice? God doesn’t want some external religious rituals, He desires that we serve Him from the heart. When God says “obedience is better than sacrifice” is He saying His sacrifices are worthless or his commands are not important? Of course not! God is saying I want you to follow me from an obedience that flows from the heart. I want you to follow my Son and obey Him, with an obedience that is from the heart. Why? Because if the Lord has your heart He has you. As we live our life and are confronted with decisions to follow Christ or disobey Him, remember God wants an obedience from the heart and only God can bring a heart transformation. I know when I am faced with a decision to trust God and obey or do what I want and disobey, I will heed this passage and hear a voice with the question, do you want to kick the sacrifice of my Son with your disobedience?