BLOGGER'S NOTE: To all who find this under their devotional tree for this morning >>> MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Passage for Study: 1st Samuel 3: 19 - 21 … 1st Samuel 3 linked for study and context …
My Journal for Today: Today from the message of the story about Eli, the High Priest and his passivity as a father, we read of Samuel’s intervention in his youth, as he was called to be a Prophet of God. And even as a young lad, being groomed spiritually by Eli, Samuel could see the familial dysfunction in Eli’s sons; and even though it was difficult to relay God’s message to Eli, we read in 1st Samuel 3 that Samuel was finally prompted by Eli to relay the horrible message that God’s blessing on Eli’s sons and his family had been lifted forever.
Swindoll, from the study we’ve being making into Samuel and Eli the last few days, is trying to wake up Christian parents or church leaders to the reality that family leadership is the priority mission or ministry field for anyone who has been blessed to become a parent. Eli is an example of a father who may have been successful in his career as a church leader (i.e., priest); but because he failed as a dad, God’s judgment fell on his entire family. Today, father absenteeism has risen to become a social plague in our culture; and our families, … in fact our nation, is now paying the piper for passive, inactive dads, … just as Eli was an exemplar.
We have rampant fatherlessness in the land, especially in certain ethnic segments of society; and the crime, gang violence, and broken homes in our country loudly trumpet this condition. As the family deteriorates, so God’s judgment will come down – as Samuel prophesied – against a people, especially fathers, who will not obey God’s teaching and guidance from His Bible about marriages, families, and our personal lives. We cannot expect God’s blessing if we disobey our Lord with regard to His God-established institutions; and the first one He established for mankind was the family.
Yes, Eli prioritized his role as an Overseer in God’s “church,” another important God-ordained institution; but when he ignored his role as a husband and especially as a father, he openly disobeyed God; and anytime we do that, we must expect that God’s wrath of abandonment may result. We cannot expect God’s closeness, protection, and blessing if we openly disobey His principles, His guidance, and His commandments. God’s blessing is always preceded by our obedience; and when we disobey, somehow, somewhere, sometime God’s love through His chastisement can be expected. [See Heb. 12: 5-6]
And what Swindoll is pleading for, primarily from fathers or parents, in today’s devotional entry is for us (and I am certainly one of those daddies) to be vigilant for the signs of dysfunction in our homes. And many times the signs are there with kids acting out in some way; but the natural tendency so often is to deny what we see, rationalizing the signs. We just say, “M child is just going through a phase.” If we don’t intervene, especially in these days of gangs, drugs, and a hypersexualized world, the results for our kids will become what we’re seeing in this world: teen pregnancy, STDs, gang violence, and much, much more.
As God’s timing would have it, this very morning my computer scheduler led me to read a poem that I cued to be read at the end of each month. I cannot remember where I got this poem, called My Liberty, authored by Ginger Devoto; but I have it to read monthly because it carries such a powerful message and a prayer, which just happens [don’t you just love God’s timing!] to be compatible with this morning’s devotional. So, in lieu of – or in accord with – my prayer for the day, I’m going to copy this powerful poem to close my devotional entry for this day.
My Prayer for Today: This poem, My Liberty, is my prayer … Amen
My Liberty … by Ginger Devoto
The Watchman of the vineyard is watching over me,
He is the Anointed One; … He has come to set me free,
To take away the shadows that hover over me,
To remove the many cobwebs that I can clearly see.
When I least expect it, Satan walks upon the scene,
His demons follow closely, and they are sorely mean,
For the enemy is waiting to find an open door,
And enter in at every turn, with arrows all the more.
Lord, guard me with Your love and guide me with Your hand,
May my heart be confident to bow at your command.
I will lean upon your Word that will strongly hold me up,
Remembering that in Your love, for me You drank Your cup.
When there is a stronghold, battering my mind,
Help me to destroy it, in doing this I find,
Fortresses and prisons are demolished in Your might.
Arrayed in Your armor, I fight the worthy fight.
Lord, you are my safeguard, You keep me free from the foe,
And as I walk with You, Your peace I’m blessed to know.
You are my ready Warrior, to protect on every side,
Your love will circle round me. … In Your Word I will abide.