12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.13 The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14 and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15 Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16 And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt.
1 Samuel 2:12-17
I have always been fascinated by how angry God was with Eli’s sons. Why would he be so frustrated that they didn’t want boiled meat all the time or just wanted the fillet instead of always getting the gross, stringy parts of the meat? Why did God care?
Let’s first look at the law of the time. Levites did not have property of their own. Everything was given to them by God through His people. They did not keep livestock nor had a place to put it. They were much more obviously dependent on God’s grace than the rest of the Israelites.
I examined my heart. Why was I so quick to defend them? Why did it bother me so much that God would punish these men? (Spoiler Alert: God kills them.) Did I see a bit of my attitude in them?Then I realized, I didn’t like the idea that Eli’s sons couldn’t choose their own portion. I didn’t like that they had to accept the portion that they drew of the meat, that they had no choice. What was wrong with my heart that I was… Click To Tweet
It is the breeding ground for depression and anger.Not accepting the portion that God has given me plants the seed of bitterness that grows to choke my heart, make joy bleed out and only frustration remains. Click To Tweet
I can choose to accept the “meat” that God gives me, or I can choose to starve in the false martyrdom of an empty stomach. Taking the “meat” that is not mine is obviously not an option because I don’t really have a desire to die on the inside from the rotting of “stolen meat”.
How then can I be content with the portion that God has given me? How can I look at that same pain over and over again and be content? What do I do when I am faced with another frustrating situation that I don’t understand?
I think I’ll take a page out of the Psalms, bring my troubles before Him and let him deal with them.I will take the days as He gives them to me and find the gratefulness inside them. Click To Tweet
I’m sure the Levites had to search for thankfulness in thousands of meals of boiled meat.
Lord, may I be thankful for the portion that you have given me, joyful in the part I have been given to play. Click To Tweet
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