1 Samuel 2:12-25 (Part 4) – It Takes a Lot of Work to Maintain That A Sin Is OK

Posted: November 19, 2017 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 2:12-25 (Part 4 of 6)
Eli’s Wicked Sons

When we were little kids, we found out early on about how difficult it was to maintain a lie. It is amazing the energy that is put forth by a little kid to maintain that he did not do something. It is no easier as you grow up. Lies are simply difficult to maintain. You have to create a reality that is not reality. That requires imagination and a re-interpretation of events and creating events that did not occur. To start, you need to invent a story, and you also have to monitor that tale constantly so it is plausible and consistent with the known facts. That task takes a lot of mental effort that innocent truth tellers do not have to spend.

You also need to actively remember the details of the story you’ve fabricated so that you don’t contradict yourself at any point. Remembering a fiction is much more demanding than remembering something that actually occurred. Because you’re worried about your credibility, you’re most likely trying to control your demeanor, and “looking honest” also saps mental energy. And you’re not just monitoring yourself; you’re also scanning your listener’s face for signs that he might be seeing through your lie. That’s not all. Like an actor, you have the mental demands of staying in character. And finally, you have to suppress the truth so that you don’t let some damning fact slip out—another drain on your mind’s limited supply of fuel. In short, the truth is automatic and effortless, and lying is the opposite of that. It is intentional, deliberate and exhausting.

That’s the thing that seems true about sins in relationship to God. Sins and lies are the same. In order for us to overcome the inner morality wired into us by our Creator, we must generate justifications for our sins as being OK. In order for us to continue sinning in our favorite line of sin, we must justify in our minds that it is OK. Then, we must convince others of its rightness. In order for us to enjoy our sins as we desire, there is no other way than to justify by significant effort and research why the sin is OK now in the 21st century. You may have to go as far as to say that God does not exist and thus the Bible is simply a fiction and that we are own moral agents and that we can define for ourselves what is right or wrong. The existence of the Creator and definer of moral rights and wrongs is escaped when you decide that He does not exist. Though justifying his lack of existence does not make Him stop existing and always have existed though.

Others will try to justify the rightness of their favorite sin by saying that man for centuries has misconstrued what the Bible meant. What the writers meant in the Old and New Testaments was not the sin we think of today – thus making the sin we think of as OK for us today. Others will try to justify their sin by saying that Jesus never said anything directly about that so they are not going to worry about anything that Jesus did not say. In order to do that, you have to destroy the Trinity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit that have pre-existed together through all eternity and thus Jesus is part of the inspiration of every word in the Bible. There are those too that will justify their sin by saying that God has changed since the New Testament. He is no long the Smiter of all Smiters. He is simply a God of love and he gives us grace and thus all that Old Testament stuff is invalid. In order to do that, you have to also ignore the writings of the New Testament that are consistent with the Old Testament. All of these arguments are made when we sin and don’t want to repent of those sins. Just look at adultery. Just look at homosexuality. Just look at any sin that we don’t want to give up. Think of the reams of paper that are piled up in defending homosexuality and homosexual marriage and the paper that has to be generated to defend heterosexual marriage. In order to make one right you have to make arguments and justifications and for the other there is nothing that needs be said for it is the truth of God for relationships and requires no justification. It is like trying to maintain a lie. Defending our sins takes so much work and convincing others of its rightness is such a burden and whereas the truth is simple and needs no defense and no maintenance.

All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God but when we refuse to repent of sins that we love that’s when our train starts to go off the rails. It is one thing to sin inadvertently or out of ignorance and then seek forgiveness from God and repent. But to be so prideful that you don’t want to give up your pet sins and continue sinning despite knowing they are sins seems a far worse thing.

That’s the thing that struck me this morning as I read this passage again – how we justify our sins as OK in our mind when we don’t want to give up what we are doing that is wrong in the sight of God. With that in mind, let us read 1 Samuel 2:12-26 for the fourth of six reads of this loaded passage today:

12 Now the sons of Eli were scoundrels who had no respect for the Lord 13 or for their duties as priests. Whenever anyone offered a sacrifice, Eli’s sons would send over a servant with a three-pronged fork. While the meat of the sacrificed animal was still boiling, 14 the servant would stick the fork into the pot and demand that whatever it brought up be given to Eli’s sons. All the Israelites who came to worship at Shiloh were treated this way. 15 Sometimes the servant would come even before the animal’s fat had been burned on the altar. He would demand raw meat before it had been boiled so that it could be used for roasting.

16 The man offering the sacrifice might reply, “Take as much as you want, but the fat must be burned first.” Then the servant would demand, “No, give it to me now, or I’ll take it by force.” 17 So the sin of these young men was very serious in the Lord’s sight, for they treated the Lord’s offerings with contempt.

18 But Samuel, though he was only a boy, served the Lord. He wore a linen garment like that of a priest.[a] 19 Each year his mother made a small coat for him and brought it to him when she came with her husband for the sacrifice. 20 Before they returned home, Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, “May the Lord give you other children to take the place of this one she gave to the Lord.[b]” 21 And the Lord blessed Hannah, and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.

22 Now Eli was very old, but he was aware of what his sons were doing to the people of Israel. He knew, for instance, that his sons were seducing the young women who assisted at the entrance of the Tabernacle.[c] 23 Eli said to them, “I have been hearing reports from all the people about the wicked things you are doing. Why do you keep sinning? 24 You must stop, my sons! The reports I hear among the Lord’s people are not good. 25 If someone sins against another person, God[d] can mediate for the guilty party. But if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede?” But Eli’s sons wouldn’t listen to their father, for the Lord was already planning to put them to death.

26 Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew taller and grew in favor with the Lord and with the people.

In this passage, we see that Eli’s sons knew better, but they continued to disobey God deliberately by cheating, seducing, and robbing the people. The deliberate sins carried out with deceitfulness were beyond the pale of what God could stand. All sins are wrong and deserve punishment in the face of a pure and just God but to sin intentionally may be a worse thing than sins committed in ignorance. When we sin out of ignorance, we deserve punishment for sure but when we sin intentionally, the consequences can and should be more severe. We cannot ignore God’s warnings about sin just because we like our pet sin and are able to justify in our minds why it is OK. No matter how we slice it, justify it, color it, bend it, sin is sin.

Let us seek to identify those stubborn strongholds of sin in our lives. Let us seek to find those areas of our life that we are lying to ourselves as those things that are not sins but really are. Let us examine ourselves in the microscope of Scripture. Let us examine ourselves in the courtroom of our heart with the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit accuse us of the sins that we want to keep and let us see them in the bright lights of the truth of Scripture. Help us to see those sins too that we are committing that we did not even realize were sins. Help us to repent in the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Help us to no longer spend all the energy needed to maintain our sins as right. Help us to see sin for sin. Help us to daily become more and more like Christ until that day we are made perfect when we arrive in heaven. Help us to have humble hearts enough to admit that our sins are sins and no longer try to justify them.

Amen and Amen.

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