Text: 1 Samuel 2.12-26
This past weekend Pastor Jeff Manion described the culture of temple life during the adolescent years of Samuel. Two priests, Hophni and Phineas, were living in open rebellion to God and treated God’s sacrifices with “contempt” (1 Samuel 2.17). Even though their father was Eli, the head priest, they still walked in open opposition to God, abusing the sacrifices and violating the women who served in the temple courts. This was the example that was being set for young Samuel.
Despite this, Samuel “continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people” (1 Samuel 2.26). Amazingly, Samuel was able to thrive in an environment that was anything but conducive to growth. Samuel is fully devoted to God, living a life of integrity in the middle of an institution marked by serious corruption.
Many of us face similar challenges every day: the environments in which we work or live can be challenging to live with integrity, purity, and mission. Yet, as people transformed by walking with Jesus, we have the potential to grow and shine just as Samuel did.
The One Big Question for you to consider this week is. . . In what environment do you find it incredibly difficult to live as a fully-devoted follower of Jesus? Be prepared to discuss this with your small group. Take time to encourage and pray for each other to live faithfully in these challenging situations.
The Revisted Standard Version says it well, “Now the sons of Eli were worthless men,”.