1 Sam. 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…?”
“Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering…by fattening yourselves…?”
The house of Eli scorned and dishonored God’s sacrifice because they fattened themselves. They violated Christ, in type. “This is how we know what love is—Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). John shows us that the reality of love (and God IS love, so this is the very person of God) is demonstrated and known in Christ’s sacrifice. This is the very essence of God, to which John adds, “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers as well.” Instead of fattening ourselves, serving ourselves, and pursuing our own interests, instead of scorning the person of God in Christ’s sacrifice, God would have us love, lay down our lives for our brothers, and honor the offering of the Son. After all, the Lord also describes it as, “the sacrifice and offering prescribed for my dwelling,” showing that we—the church and temple—are the place where Christ, God’s offering, resides and remains. What a violation it is, then, if self is preferred among us when God intends us to be the very house of His sacrificial love. This was the sin of which Eli’s house was guilty: they were to be the temple of the Lamb but enshrined personal gratification. “For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things” (Php. 3:18, 19). We are of the house of Eli to the extent we are motivated by our appetite for earthly things. These can be sinful things, but in Philippians, Paul is referring to those who took pride in their religious piety. The house of Eli, too, were priests who did not merely gratify themselves, but used their spiritual positions to that end (1 Sam. 2:12-17).
God has designated His church as the dwelling of Jesus—His sacrifice and offering. This is what we are, this is our calling, the reason that we have been set apart as a unique people. Not long after the above words were spoken to Eli, the ark of the covenant was captured, and God’s glory departed from Israel (1 Sam. 4:21). We too will live apart from God’s glory if we scorn His sacrifice: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Rom. 8:17). To think that we have any purpose other than suffering with Him and sharing in His glory is self-pleasing deception and opportunism. Lord, let the glory and sacrifice of your Son shine through us!