Wednesday, May 31, 2017

EmmDev 2017-05-31 [Lessons from Samuel] Gluttonous


Eli's sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD. 13 Now it was the practice of the priests with the people that whenever anyone offered a sacrifice and while the meat was being boiled, the servant of the priest would come with a three-pronged fork in his hand. 14 He would plunge it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot, and the priest would take for himself whatever the fork brought up. This is how they treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh. 15 But even before the fat was burned, the servant of the priest would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, "Give the priest some meat to roast; he won't accept boiled meat from you, but only raw."
16 If the man said to him, "Let the fat be burned up first, and then take whatever you want," the servant would then answer, "No, hand it over now; if you don't, I'll take it by force."
17 This sin of the young men was very great in the LORD's sight, for they were treating the LORD's offering with contempt.      (1Samuel2:12-17)
The sacrificial system in Israel was set in place to honour God. It also served to feed the priests and their families who didn't own land or earn an income, but relied on God to provide their needs through the sacrifices of the people.

Although Deuteronomy and Leviticus prescribe certain cuts of meat from the peoples' sacrifices as due to the priests, the priestly practice of plunging a fork into the pot was a practice that illustrated the priests' reliance on God's provision.

Eli's sons weren't satisfied with this - they were gluttons - they wanted the best cuts of meat from the offering.

Those of use who like our steaks and braais might have some sympathy. You might say: "Imagine eating only boiled meat!" but we must bear in mind that there were other cuts like, thigh and breast also prescribed in the law.

But that wasn't enough for the sons of Eli...

They would have their servants forcefully grab the priest's portion even before it was offered to God - thereby placing themselves before God and also ruining the experience of the worshipper who had come to place their best before God only to have it hijacked by greedy priests.

The Bible describes their sin as "very great in the Lord's sight."
It is a symbol and symptom of greed, corruption and irreverence.

What is interesting is that they are not struck dead instantly like Aaron's sons who callously burned the wrong incense in the tabernacle. The sons of Eli are allowed leeway by God and, as the story unfolds, we see that Eli does not restrain them even though he receives two warnings about their behaviour.

The sins of Eli's sons springs from dissatisfaction which is one of Satan's most powerful weapons. When the Adam and Eve are in the Garden, the serpent draws their attention to the one fruit they cannot have when they should have looked at all the fruit they could eat. The sons of Eli were dissatisfied with their lot in life and their dissatisfaction expressed itself in physical gluttony, systemic corruption (they dragged their servants in to do the dirty work) and crass irreverence.

We should guard against dissatisfaction in our own lives....

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