The birth of Samuel in 1098 BC ushered in a new era in the history of the people of Israel. He was the last Judge and the first Prophet to the nation. He reluctantly ordained Saul as King when the masses demanded for one with a view to “be like the other nations” — (I would leave that subject for another day). Also when Saul’s disobedience reached a tipping point, Samuel was the one commissioned by God to seek and anoint David as King over His people.
Both books of Samuel highlight the stubbornness of mankind and our inability to sometimes see our spiritual and emotional state, even when we are confronted with the reality. The story of the sons of Eli (the priest) Hophni and Phinehas, and the account of King Saul are classic examples. For this thought we would focus on the sons of the Eli.
Hophni and Phinehas abused their position of trust so much so that people were put-off from coming to God’s house for prayers or worship. When they were confronted by their father, the bible records that the Lord hardened their heart so they refused to change their ways — resulting in His punishment for their actions.
This passage as recorded in the first book of Samuel as well as the account of Pharaoh in Exodus has been a subject of debate for centuries. One school of thought suggesting that God in His Sovereignty decides what He does with humanity and we have no control over our destiny. While the other suggests that we have freewill and our choices determines our fate or destiny.
I’m inclined to believe the latter as the former will make God an impartial and unjust God. I believe that God being out of time (eternal) knows the end from the beginning. As a result He knows our motives, will and actions and based on the complexities of these variables, He makes his judgments on every situation or issue. Hence the Psalmist chronicled, by Him all actions are weighed.
Like Pharaoh, Hophni and Phinehas were given time and chances to change their ways, but they lacked the emotional capital to do so. They refused to heed the voice of reasoning and warning from their father Eli (the Prophet) and change their ways. As a result, they ended up paying a very high price in the end — very sad story indeed…
In contrast, when David was confronted by the Prophet Nathan over the issue with Uriah the Hittite, he quickly changed his ways and made amends. Hence he will always be remembered as the greatest king Israel ever had. Not because of the success of his ruler ship, conquest in wars, wealth, power or courage, but for his wisdom which was clearly demonstrated in his speed to change his old ways once he was confronted over the issue by the prophet Nathan.
Friends, what seems impossible to do is possible with God. Possible through prayer, positive affirmations, meditation, reflection and an active will for personal development. Yes we stop growing physically at some point, but our spiritual and emotional growth should be an ongoing process till our spirits leave this vessel of flesh.
Prophets were known to sometimes cry. In fact Samuel was told by God to stop weeping for Saul as He had found a replacement — “A man after His heart”.
They wept in frustration at the stubbornness and lack of will for spiritual growth. They wept knowing that the prophecies were given out of love from a loving father, and a genuine concern for their wholeness and well being. They wept seeing the impending doom on the nation.
As we reflect on this thought, questions like these start bubbling in our spirit;
How can I be a positive impact to my generation? How can I reach out and add value to people around me?
I’m pretty sure we can start with one step change… A change in the right direction can alter the destinies of millions.
On that note, I leave you with Asa’s, Bibanke – spiritually uplifting song. In this song she tells of her burden and the inconsolably pain which is expressed in her tears. Bibanke is a sentence in the Yoruba language, and could be translated;
When I cry
Yoruba is spoken majorly in Western Nigeria, and loosely in Cuba, Brazil, Sierra Leone, Cuba, Haiti, Togo, Benin…