Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Dad Knows God

Leonard Armstrong welcomed us and reminded us that Pastor Brad is on his way to Tennessee with the youth heading to CHIC. He noted that Rev. David Eaton would be preaching this morning. Leonard then introduced Chuck who invited us to worship with the trio Ken, Darlene and himself as they sang an opening number and led us in music.

After the offering, the Scripture reading was from Mark 6:1-13.

Leonard shared a humorous anecdote before leading us in a prayer time. Rev. Eaton was then introduced and went forward to take the pulpit.

My Dad Knows God

Rev. Eaton began by saying how much they appreciate Pastor Brad in their hospice program. "He is truly a community pastor out here… involved with so many families." His intro included mention of his own experience with CHIC many years ago. He then turned to his theme.

Most of us are familiar with the story of Samuel. When he was a little boy living in the tabernacle he thought he heard a voice. Three times he went to Eli who finally realized that God was speaking to the boy.How this boy Samuel came to be living in the temple is another story.

Eli was a priest and one day this woman Hannah was praying in a somewhat strange way, her whole heart moved and her lips moved but there were no words coming out. Eli presumed she was drunk. Her prayer was for God to open her womb and if God would do this she would give the child to God and no razor would ever touch his head. Eli said, "May the God is Israel grant you what you have prayed."

Hannah conceived and bore a son whom she named Samuel. When the boy was weaned Hannah brought him back to Eli to be given to the service of the Lord as promised. In short, Eli became Samuel's adoptive father.

Eli’s one fatal flaw was that he was a weak father. When you read the story you can guess that his two sons, Phinehas and Hophni, were pampered and spoiled. Eli was a descendant of Aaron and one of his two sons should have been the next high priest, but they were less than godly, even shameful in their behavior.

Rev. Eaton then read to us from I Sam 2:12-36 which begins, "Eli's sons were scoundrels; they had no regard for the Lord."

Eli’s leniencies toward his sons did not go unnoticed by God. God watches over what we do. God sends a prophet to Eli's house and he is told that a judgment is coming, and as a sign both his sons will die on the same day.

It is at this point in the story (Chapter 3) that the young Samuel hears God speaking to him. 

In the fourth chapter Eli's judgment arrives. Israel is at war with the Philistines and the Hebrews take it on the chin. But the elders of Israel believe that if they bring the ark of the covenant to the battlefield it will empower them. Unfortunately, despite the initial dismay it brings to the Philistines, ultimately the battle once again goes their way. A messenger is sent to Eli to give a report and we read these words… “also your two sons are dead and the ark of God has been captured.”Upon hearing that the ark had been capture, Eli fell over backward in his chair, broke his neck and died.

Eli would not have been Man of the Year material. The judgment of God extended beyond Eli and his sons.  On one occasion years later when David was fleeing Saul he kept his men nourished by getting bread from the priests of Nob. Saul, when he learned about it, killed them all… 85 total. These also were Eli’s descendants.

Rev. Eaton asked, "What does it take to be a successful parent?"
Here are some answers to this inquiry.
1. A successful parent is a teacher. Being a teacher is more than words, but also includes modeling. The successful parent transfers the values of life. This includes...
a. Spiritual training
b. Reproducing our faith, making Jesus central in our lives
c. Moral teaching
Society tends to do a lousy job of teaching morals. Everything is relative in this society where there are no absolutes except the maxim "there are no absolutes." We must teach morals by both words and actions.
d. Financial teaching, vocational teaching and lines of authority are also important.

2. A successful parent is a lover.
a. Make your home an atmosphere of love
b. The best gift dads can give children is love for their mother.
c. Love is self-sacrificing, and wanting the best for another.
d. Spoiling does not mean you loved too much, it means you loved too little.

Our guest preacher closed with a story about boys bragging about their fathers. The father of one of the boys was listening in as the kids exclaimed their fathers' greatness.
“My dad can do engineering schematics,” said the first.
“My dad knows the mayor,” said the second.
“My dad knows the governor,” boasted the third.
 The father's breathing hesitated as he leaned to hear what his own son would say.
“My dad knows God,” the boy exclaimed.

The father crept back to his study, deeply moved... and I am guessing challenged. 

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