God is just and merciful
I always enjoy reading the story in 1 Samuel 3 where one night Samuel hears his name being called out several times. Samuel keeps thinking it’s Eli and then Eli realises it must be God, so tells Samuel to go back to bed and to respond if God called again and God did. It’s amazing to hear of Samuel’s mother, Hannah who prayed for a child and promised to dedicate this child to God and she did. Samuel was given to Eli to serve in the Tabernacle at a very early age and it was lovely to read how Samuel was God’s little helper and wore a little linen robe just like the priest’s, how cute!
However, what struck me in these first three chapters of the first book of Samuel was the problem of Eli’s sons. They are described as evil and didn’t love the Lord. They were breaking the Leviticus laws whilst making the offerings for the forgiveness of sins, showing complete disrespect to God. On top of this, these boys were seducing young women in the Tabernacle. Eli’s sons were priests, but abused their position of trust to satisfy their lust for power, control and possessions. According to the law, Eli, as the High priest should have executed his sons and I guess this may have been why Eli chose to ignore the problem because he knew full well what his sons were doing. Eli failed to discipline his sons appropriately and in the end God took the necessary action needed to discipline them. This may be an extreme example, but it reminds me of the importance of disciplining my own three sons.
The other thing that has struck me after reading from Genesis to Ruth is that God is so merciful in his dealings with his people and with us. I have to admit that as a non-Christian and in my early days as a Christian I considered that the Old Testament stories were just about an angry God full of wrath. The truth is that the books of the Old Testament reveal God’s awesome mercy. Time and time again, God rescues his people. Time and time again, God gives his people chance after chance. God’s mercy and forgiveness is thread throughout the Bible and is revealed fully in the person of Jesus Christ and in what He did on the cross for us. Whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
‘Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God –that is your spiritual act of worship’