God’s People, part 47: Jesse

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose mother was Rahab). Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon (whose mother was Bathsheba, the widow of Uriah).” (Matthew 1:5-6)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

Jesse-Shepherd-DavidGod’s People, Jesse. We all know the story, right? Samuel was disgusted with King Saul, who seemed hellbent on doing things his own way. Ah, it’s good to be the king, you know? Well, it was for a while; however, when Samuel learned that Saul had captured and kept alive the king of the enemy he was supposed to have destroyed, Samuel flipped out on him. Saul had been notorious for being a rogue agent, doing things his own way for his own gain and God, through Samuel, cut him and his family off from the throne.

While this change didn’t happen overnight, Samuel did immediately go searching for the one who would replace Saul as king of Israel. On his quest, God led him to the town of Bethlehem, to a man named Jesse who was a farmer, breeder and owner of sheep.

Once there, Samuel peformed a ritual sacrifice and then asked Jesse to bring forward one of his sons. One by one, Samuel looked at the sons that Jesse brought before him. Each time, Samuel believed that the person standing before him must surely be God’s’ next annointed one. Each time both Jesse and Samuel were wrong in their judgment. Though each of the young men looked the part of a king in the eyes of Samuel, God chose none of them. Each of the young sons were the ones Jesse thought worthy of bringing forward; however, they were not worthy of being King in the eyes of God.

Finally, Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all your sons you have?” In reply, Jesse admitted that, “There is still the youngest, but he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” Samuel demanded that he be sent for at once. When David arrived before Samuel, the LORD said, “This is the one; anoint him.” So, obeying God, Samuel annointed David as Saul’s successor, as the next king of Israel.

The question for us is this, how many times do we pass over God’s choice because, by the sight of our own eyes, someone or something is simply not worthy enough. How many times do we limit people in our perception of them. How many times do we not see the divine worth in the people around us because we think we know them and they just couldn’t be up for the task at hand? How many times do we not see that someone is anointed by God, because we see ourselves or others as better than they are?

Today we are being challenged to lay down our preconceived opinions and perceptions of others. Like David, there are plenty of people who don’t look the part but have been called by God. Like Samuel and Jesse, we have proven time and time again that we are not the best judges in the world. We have shown that our perceptions are often way off the mark, and that we don’t know the people around us as much as we think we do. What’s more, we certainly don’t know them as well as God. Today we are being challenged to drop those perceptions, to step out of the way, and to join with God in encouraging those around us to see their call to be leaders in the Kingdom.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Seeing reality for what it is is what we call discernment. The work of discernment is very hard.” – Lewis B. Smedes

PRAYER
Lord, give me the discernment to separate my perception from reality, and give me an open, compassionate heart so that I may see the true value of others. Amen.

God’s People, part 46: Michal

Read 2 Samuel 6:16-23

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“In the meantime, Saul’s daughter Michal had fallen in love with David, and Saul was delighted when he heard about it.” (1 Samuel 18:20 NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

MichalPart 46: Michal. In all honesty, when we get into the kings, we could spend a lifetime accounting for each of the kings and their families. King Saul, alone, had a wife with whom he had four sons and two daughters. He also had a concubine with whom he had two more sons. For the purpose of these devotions, I will limit my focus to the major children of the kings.

Michal was the youngest of King Saul’s daughters and, as such, she almost doesn’t even have a story to tell in the Bible. Indeed, her older sister Merab was originally offered to David as a wife; however, David did not feel worthy of being the son-in-law of the king (1 Samuel 18:17-19). King Saul did not really want David for a Son-in-Law (and I believe David knew that), but was obligated because he promised to give his oldest daughter to him if he defeated the Philistines in battle. When David succeeded, Saul was obliged to hand over his daughter.

Yet, David did not take her as his wife, but passed her off (in good patriarchal fashion) to someone else. But David would, as it turned out, be the son-in-law of of King Saul, who’s youngest daughter fell in love with him. Saul was overjoyed about this as he saw it as another chance to have David killed by the enemy. Great father-in-law, right? Can anyone blame David for not wanting to marry into that family? All the same, Michal’s dreams came true and she did end up being David’s wife.

Yet, here’s where the dream turns into a nightmare for yet another one of our beloved women of the Bible. Michal knew her father was absolutely jealous of her husband, and so she helped David escape out of her window and stuffed her bed to make it look like David is sleeping there. Unfortunately, that is the last time she will ever see her husband again. David does not try to send her any word, at least not that the Bible informs us of, and during David’s years of hiding her father marries Michal off to another man. What’s more, David took several other wives during this same period.

After Saul’s remaining son took the throne of Israel, and David was king of Judah, David demanded that Michal be given back to him in order to maintain peace between them. Nice, right? Michal was being treated as nothing more than a pawn between two saber-rattling people. Having the daughter of Saul as his bride would, of course, reinforce his legitimacy to the throne over all Israel. Make no mistake, David had his sights on being the sole ruler. Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, agreed to David’s demand and Michal was forced to leave her new husband (Palti) and she was sent to David. I think it is important to quote the Bible here. “Palti followed along behind [Michal] as far as Bahurim, weeping as he went. Then Abner told him, ‘Go back home!’ So Palti returned.” (2 Samuel 3:16, NLT)

Needless to say, there was much love lossed between David and Michal. She was nothing to him but a pawn in a game of political chess. Michal, on the other hand, lost everything. She lost her family, she lost David (who was her first love), she lost her husband who clearly loved her, and was forced to be David’s wife a second time (which really made her nothing more than a political prisoner). When David becomes king over all of Israel, conquers Jerusalem, and dances his way naked into it as they carried in the Ark of the Covenant, it is no wonder that Michal coldly chastises him (2 Samuel 6:20).

While Michal’s character flaws are less on display here than are King David’s, perhaps we can say that she put a little too much stock in the one she had fallen so helplessly in love with. All of the men in Michal’s life, barring perhaps her second husband Palti, were ruthless, meglomaniacal, abusive men who did not view her for her true worth. My guess is that she probably see her own true worth either. After all, how could she. The question of us today is this: Do you see your true worth to God? Do you see your divine value, given to you by the one in whose image you were created? Don’t put too much stock in people or what they think of you; rather, look to God and to Jesus Christ and know that God LOVES YOU more than life itself!

Michal

God’s People, part 45: Jonathan

Read 1 Samuel 18:1-5

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“‘That’s not true!’ Jonathan protested. ‘You’re not going to die. He always tells me everything he’s going to do, even the little things. I know my father wouldn’t hide something like this from me. It just isn’t so!’” (1 Samuel 20:2 NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

DavidCarosel04Part 45: Jonathan. One thing I know is true, Jonathan was, at the very least, David’s best friend. I don’t think there could ever be a more loyal friend than Jonathan, who was the eldest son of King Saul. Being the eldest, that made him the heir to his father’s throne. In fact, his being the next in line only complicated the Jonathan and David’s friendship; however, the ties between them were too strong for it to dismantle their relationship.

As we read in our last devotion, King Saul grew to be a very jealous and tyrannical leader. There are a number of reasons for that. Samuel had outright told Samuel that he was going to be replaced, that God had removed favor from him or his household and that another had been anointed and would eventually replace him. That never goes over well with a king.

Then there was David and all of his success. He, as a shepherd, saved all of Israel from the Philistines in a way that Saul could not. He had everything going for him. He was handsome, he was poetic, he was musical, and he was a heck of a warrior and military leader. To put it in today’s terms, David was a rock star! And Saul had to have known that God had put his favor upon David, which irked him to no end.

Yet, to make matters worse, David became best friends with Saul’s son, Jonathan. We don’t really know the extent of the friendship; however, the Bible says that there was an “immediate bond” between Jonathan and David. Saul initially encouraged the friendship, and scripture says that “Jonathan made a solemn pact with David, because he loved him as himself.”

Scholars have argued back and forth over the type of relationship Jonathan and David shared. The Bible is rather vague in its description of the relationship. The word for love used in the quote above is ‘âhab (אָהַב, pronounced aw-hab’), or ‘âhêb (אָהֵב, pronoucned aw-habe’), and means “to have affection for (sexually or otherwise).” It can also mean “to be loved, lovely, or a lover,” as well as to “like”, or “friend.”

It matters not the extent of the relationship between David and Jonathan; what can be said with certainty is that the two were extremely close and loved each other. This love, I believe, caused Saul to grow even more jealous and resentful of David. Of course, that was not always easy for Jonathan to see.

There were many times that David confided in Jonathan that he thought his father was looking to kill him (David). Yet, on multiple occasions Jonathan denied that, and could not come to admit his father’s hatred for David. One such time Jonathan insisted, “’That’s not true!’ Jonathan protested. ‘You’re not going to die. He always tells me everything he’s going to do, even the little things. I know my father wouldn’t hide something like this from me. It just isn’t so!’” (1 Samuel 20:2 NLT)

Jonathan’s love for both his father and David ended up putting him in awkward places, where he had to both encourage his friend, but also defend and support his father. Eventually, his dad’s envious ire got the best of him and of Jonathan. Long after David had fled for his life, Jonathan stood by his father’s side on the battle field and marched against Philistines, a march that would lead him, his two brothers, his father, and the army of Israel to their deaths.

Like Jonathan, we often remain loyal to the people we love. We hold these people in high regard and cannot fathom that they would do anything morally wrong or horrible. We defend them, even when others claim to be victims of their harmful or abusive behavior. We remain in denial because it is too hard for us to face the fact that some people, including family members, are not all that we hope them to be. The challenge for us is to, no matter how hard it is, view ourselves and those around us with sober and honest eyes. The challenge is to set up graceful, loving systems of accountability so that we can mutually encourage each other in our strengths and guide each other in our weaknesses. This is what God wants us to do.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Accountability breeds response-ability.” – Stephen Covey

PRAYER
Lord, help me be responsible in my relationships, and to have mutual accountability built into my relationships with others. Amen.

God’s People, part 44: Saul

Read 1 Samuel 15

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
Saul groaned to his armor bearer, ‘Take your sword and kill me before these pagan Philistines come to run me through and taunt and torture me.’ But his armor bearer was afraid and would not do it. So Saul took his own sword and fell on it.” (1 Samuel 31:4 NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

The BiblePart 44: Saul. Well, we come to yet another character in the Bible that people think they know pretty well. Right? We who grew up in the church, we know who that nasty, no good, wicked, egotistical, jealous, power-crazed, heavy-handed King Saul was. There’s no need to discuss him, right?

He was that king who promised to follow God and then didn’t follow through. He was the king who refused to do as God instructed, but went his own way. He was the one who, though anointed by God, he led like he was in league with the devil.  He was an inefficient leader, one who became increasingly paranoid, who murderous in his paranoia and, let’s face it, the dude totally tried to kill the epic, rockin’, swave David. What is up with that?

Well, to be honest, David really wasn’t as rockin’ or swave as people give him credit for. Epic? Sure. But that discussion is for another time and place. In this devotion, we are dealing with Saul and, as much as we would like to view Saul as the villain, he really is more of a tragic hero. Do you know what I mean about that, he is the hero that has it all going for him, the guy who was on the rise until his character flaw got the best of him and he came crashing down, taking others (including his family) with him.

Let us not forget that, when the people rejected the judges, God led Samuel to discover and anoint Saul as their king. Saul was God’s child, God’s chosen leader, and had the potential to be a great king. I am sure that Saul had really good intentions on the way in too; however, you know the phrase: the power went to his head.

Instead of leading by example and pointing the people to be faithful in their relationship with God, instead of ruling God’s people in a holy manner, Saul became more concerned with establishing and solidifying his reign and his dynasty. Instead of taking no prisoners, as God commanded of him and the Israelites, Saul not only took prisoners of war but he took them as slaves.

In fact, it was that disobedience that caused Saul to fall out of favor with God. One might want to have pity on Saul because he chose to keep the King alive (which would seem like an act of mercy); however, he did so only for his own gain, not because he had any sort of benevolent heart within him. He didn’t spare anyone else but the king who he could display as his war trophy.

What’s more, we need to understand that the Amalekites were not good actors, but were attacking the Israelites and trying to eradicate them. A ruler is supposed to do what is in the best interest of his/her people, and keeping one’s people safe and ensuring their survival is at the top of the list. Yet, in his disobedience, Saul showed that all he really cared about was his own vainglory and popularity.

In the end, Saul was rejected by God and he further fell into the abyss from that point on. David was chosen to be the next King (more on that later) and that literally drove Saul mad. He spent the rest of his years chasing after David in order to kill him so that his sons could maintain the throne, and he ultimately failed. Saul, once the hero of his people and the first king of Israel, died defeated in battle along with his sons, his armor bearer, and his entire army.

While it is easy for us to look at Saul as villain, how much harder is it to see ourselves in him; however, is he that different from us? Have we not been chosen by God to reflect the true king, Jesus Christ? Have we not also, time and time again, let our own vainglory (aka excessive pride in ourselves and our achievements) stand in our way? Have we not sought to take control away from God so that we can be in control? Have we not lived our lives with the motto, “my kingdom come, my will be done”, which is the antithesis of the Lord’s Prayer?

Each of us has missed the mark in one way or the other, just like Saul did. The challenge is to repent and turn back to God, rather than letting our desire to be God bring us to our own demise. Repent, profess Jesus as your Lord, and be filled with love, grace, and the God-given power to transform this world through and through.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” – John Emerich Edward

PRAYER
Lord, help curb my pride and remind me of the need to humble myself before you. I am not Lord, you are. Forgive me. I accept your Lordship over my life. Amen.

A LOOK BACK: I WILL BE

bflw-devotional-800x490Writing the Life-Giving Water devotionals is not only an important ministry, but is a deeply rewarding spiritual discipline for me as well. With that said, observing Sabbath (aka rest) is an important spiritual discipline as well. So here is a LOOK BACK to a devotion I wrote in the past. Read it, reflect on it, be challenged by it. Who knows how God will speak to you through it and how it will bear relevance in your life today? May the Holy Spirit guide you as you read the suggested Scripture and subsequent devotion.

A LOOK BACK: I AM

bflw-devotional-800x490Writing the Life-Giving Water devotionals is not only an important ministry, but is a deeply rewarding spiritual discipline for me as well. With that said, observing Sabbath (aka rest) is an important spiritual discipline as well. So here is a LOOK BACK to a devotion I wrote in the past. Read it, reflect on it, be challenged by it. Who knows how God will speak to you through it and how it will bear relevance in your life today? May the Holy Spirit guide you as you read the suggested Scripture and subsequent devotion.

A LOOK BACK: J.S.S.

bflw-devotional-800x490Writing the Life-Giving Water devotionals is not only an important ministry, but is a deeply rewarding spiritual discipline for me as well. With that said, observing Sabbath (aka rest) is an important spiritual discipline as well. So here is a LOOK BACK to a devotion I wrote in the past. Read it, reflect on it, be challenged by it. Who knows how God will speak to you through it and how it will bear relevance in your life today? May the Holy Spirit guide you as you read the suggested Scripture and subsequent devotion.

A LOOK BACK: Haunted

bflw-devotional-800x490Writing the Life-Giving Water devotionals is not only an important ministry, but is a deeply rewarding spiritual discipline for me as well. With that said, observing Sabbath (aka rest) is an important spiritual discipline as well. So here is a LOOK BACK to a devotion I wrote in the past. Read it, reflect on it, be challenged by it. Who knows how God will speak to you through it and how it will bear relevance in your life today? May the Holy Spirit guide you as you read the suggested Scripture and subsequent devotion.

God’s People, part 43: Samuel

Read 1 Samuel 3

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.” (1 Samuel 16:13 NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

bible-samuelPart 43: Samuel. Have you ever felt like you heard the voice of someone calling you? I have. I remember when I was a boy, my parents had my sister and I go to bed at the WAY TOO EARLY time of 8 p.m. during the school year. Okay, so I now realize my parents were more reasonable then I thought they were then; however, at the time, this was a BIG DEAL for me. Why did I have to go to bed so early? As you can probably tell, I have always been a night owl and still am to this day.

One time, my parents were watching a movie after were in bed. Well, I just wanted to watch it and I couldn’t fall asleep, so I suck to the stairs and laid down so I could peer at the TV screen through the railing at the top of the staircase. At some point, deeply entrenched in the movie, I heard the voice of what I thought to be one of my parents (I couldn’t really tell if it was mom or dad at the time, which is odd now that I think of it) saying, “Todd, go to bed.”

My heart froze in its place and I jumped up and ran to bed. The next day, I sheepishly walked up to my mother and confessed that I had indeed been watching the moving from the railing and that I was sorry for not staying in bed. She looked at me with the most puzzled look on her face. I then asked her if she had been the one who told me to go to bed. She shook her head horizontally, to tell me that she had not told me to go to bed and that she didn’t even know I was up there watching. Later, my dad stated that he had not known either. Yet, I had audibly heard that adult-like voice telling me to go to bed.

I’d imagine that Samuel, much like me, had his heart freeze when he heard the voice of God calling him to be a prophet. Three times he heard that voice and thought it was Eli, the high priest who had taken Samuel under his wing as an apprentice of sorts. Finally, Eli instructed Samuel to say, “Speak, your servant is listening,” as he realized it was God speaking to him.

Samuel, as the Bible informs us, became the next and the final judge of the Israelites. As he would find out, his call kept changing and evolving and Samuel often felt like he was on shaky ground. He served God and his people as faithfully as he could; however, as is often the pattern in the Bible, his children were not spitting images of him or his faithfulness. They, rather, became corrupt and the people did not trust them to be leaders.

This must have crushed Samuel, and he must have felt like an utter failure when he ended up having to give in to the demands of the people and anoint a person to become their king and sovereign, a person he could only hope would represent God rather than his own self-interests. And the fact that his first choice for king was a failure and a realization of his worst fears, certainly did not help. With that said, Samuel did what he felt he must despite all the uncertainty and his faithfulness to God led to the rise King David and the royal lineage that would trace itself all the way to the King of kings, Jesus Christ.

The challenge for us is to learn from Samuel’s persistence despite the uncertainty we face in day to day life. We are often uncertain of how things are going to turn out and we often find ourselves questioning why things are turning out as they do; however, if our hearts remain open to the guidance of God, we will never be led astray. Even when we do make wrong choices, God will still work in us and through us for the glory of God and the coming of the heavenly Kingdom. Have faith, be still and know that God is with you.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“In this quest to seek and find God in all things, there is still an area of uncertainty. There must be. If a person says that he met God with total certainty and is not touched by a margin of uncertainty, then this is not good.” – Pope Francis I

PRAYER
Lord, help me deal with the uncertainty and, rather than resting assured in what I think I know, let me rest assured in my faith. Amen.

God’s People, part 42: Eli & Sons

Read 1 Samuel 2:12-36

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.” (Matthew 7:13 NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

Steinway-and-SonsPart 42: Eli & Sons. There is nothing quite like an exquisitely made, top of the line, grand piano. The sounds that come from such an instrument are enough to inspire, strike fear, haunt, elicit grief, elicit love, elicit anxiety, and stir the heartstrings within the being a of a person. For instance, one is horrified by the skeletal dancing on the fingers down the “ivory” keys in a song like Franz Liszt’s arrangement of Danse Macabre, and one is moved by the overwhelming beauty of Beethoven’s reflective “Moonlight Sonata.”

There is no doubt that such songs would not carry the same effect on cheaply made piano, or on a Yamaha keyboard. There is nothing like a quality piano. One of the best makers of pianos is Steinway & Sons. There impeccable design and attention to detail make for an instrument of no parallel. The company was formed by a German immigrant, Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg, who changed his name to Henry Steinway upon arrival in America. Between him and his sons, the business grew and expanded and made an incredible name for itself.

Unfortunately, this is not a devotion about Steinway & Sons, or about the history of the piano empire they built; rather, this is a devotion about Eli & Sons and the brand they never ended up building. Eli was God’s high priest and was appointed to that position to lead others in worshiping God and living in a godly fashion. Not only that, but he was also the second to last judge of Israel, preceding Samuel.

Eli, himself, was not the most discerning of individuals. When Hannah came to the tabernacle to pray to God in order to request that she be allowed to bear a child, Eli was quick to think she was drunk and tried to send her away. With that said, he did bless her when he heard that she was merely there to pray and wished that God grant her the request she made.

Eli also was able to point Samuel, as we will soon see in the next devotion, to realize that it was the Lord that was calling him. So, like most human beings, Eli was wishy-washy at best. He was definitely someone worthy of leadership and someone who was attuned to God; however, he did not always reamin attuned and was often quick to make rash judgments. What’s more, he wanted his family to reamins the judges of Israel. Yet, his sons (who were also priests) were corrupt and would steal meat and goods that were meant to be sacrificed to the Lord.  They ended up ruining the family name as well as the people’s confidence in them to lead.

As such, they brought on themselves their own destruction and the Bible says that God rejected Eli’s household. To Eli’s credit, though, he called his own sons out for being disgraceful and, when push came to shove, Eli did mentor Samuel and knew that God was calling him to be the leader his sons never would be. In the end, despite his flaws, Eli served the Lord and gave Israel their next judge and leader: Samuel. This is the same Samuel who would eventually find, annoint, and advise the greatest King in Israel’s history: the shepherd boy and songwriter, David.

As can be seen, God knows our imperfections and works in us, through us, and even in spite of us when need be. The question for us is not whether we will be perfect, for will never will. The question for us is this: will we, despite our imperfections choose to serve the Lord as faithfully as we can? Or will we, like Eli’s sons, choose our own twisted and corrupt path? One way is a redemptive, grace-filled path, and the other is the path that leads to destruction. One path is narrow and hard to find, while the other is broad and wide and chosen by many. The choice is ours. Choose wisely.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Sartre was only half-right. Both heaven and hell are other people. The difference is how you treat them.” – Rev. Todd R. Lattig

PRAYER
Lord, I recognize that I can either be an ambassador to heaven or an agent of hell. Steer me and correct me when I stray off of the narrow road so that I may walk The Way that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven.