Heart Focus; June 1, 2017

1 Samuel 2:29 “Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honor your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?”

Here we have God’s statement through an anonymous prophet that the problem in the priesthood was not just with Eli’s sons, as bad as they were, but with Eli himself as well. In 1 Samuel 4:18 it indicates that he was obese, even at 98. He had literally been using his office as a priest of God to fatten himself. That attitude had been what had twisted his sons to the point they acted as they did. Today we don’t usually think of obesity as sinful, but it sometimes is evidence of a deeper problem. We forget that gluttony was once acknowledged as one of the “seven deadly sins.” The reason it can be deadly, other than health issues, is that it indicates a focus on the physical, as opposed to seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) That sin can manifest in ways other than food, though we don’t usually call it gluttony then. An insatiable appetite for anything other than God is a real problem. When that thing is alcohol or drugs we are quick to recognize the danger, but it can apply to other things as well. Society today is so fixated on sex that addiction to pornography is so common as to be beyond measuring. Then, there is the simple matter of never having enough stuff. People go bankrupt all the time buying things they don’t really need. All of these things are symptoms of having something other than God as the focus of your heart. We may not be to the point of Eli and his sons, but this is certainly the proverbial “slippery slope.” Every human being alive would do well to take periodic inventory of their priorities so that they may repent of placing anything ahead of God.

This applies to me as well. People look at me and think I’m in good shape, but I must not be complacent. “Seeking,” as Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, is active; I should not let my faith be passive, coasting on past performance, as it were. If I don’t choose consistently to place God first, the devil will be more than happy to tempt me with anything else. It doesn’t really matter what he tempts me with, just that it isn’t God. As the song says, “In Christ alone I place my trust.” That needs to be the honest confession of my heart, and I need to be vigilant against any deviation.

Father, the longer I walk with You the more aware I am that it is an active, continuing process. You have been more than faithful and gracious; keep me from taking any of that for granted. When temptations come, help me recognize them immediately and choose firmly to place You first. Help me recognize and receive the abundance of blessings You pour out on me, but never shift my focus from You to the blessings. May I be a good steward of everything You provide because I am listening consistently and accurately to You. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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