1 Samuel 2 / Isaiah 48 / Revelation 5-6
And the lad Samuel grew up with the LORD.
Why do you trample on My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded, and you honor your sons more than Me, to batten upon the first portions of each offering of Israel My people?
And the lads' offense was very great before the LORD, for they scorned the LORD's offering.
Eli was too chicken to say no to his own sons. He should have had them killed, but the humans have the softest spot for their own flesh and blood, just as they do for themselves, because they physically share the same DNA, even on the molecular (unseen) level. There is a familiarity between father and son that excuses what would normally be considered heinous, as in this case.
Those who honor me will I honor, and my spurners shall be dishonored.
One great sin of Eli's sons was that they didn't believe that God was going to do anything about their offenses against Him. They wanted the meat fresh and raw so they could roast it, and most likely just cut the fat off and throw it away, depriving God of the soothing savor of the sacrifice of the fat of the animal.
And the man would say, "Let them burn off the fat now and then take you whatever you want," and he would say. "No! For you shall hand it over now, and if not I will take it by force."
But all they cared about was what they wanted, and they used their power as a privilege to get for themselves, to satisfy the cravings of their flesh. It was like taking bribes, perverting justice for their own gain, because they didn't believe God was real. If they did, they would be afraid to do those things.
See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
The Lord is making a personal covenant with each of us, teaching us inside our heart what is right and wrong—which to choose and which to reject, in order to walk in the way of true rightness with God. It has nothing to do with the outside; it all takes place within us, where the Lord lives now to be our counselor and guide to keep us on the straight path that leads to the Father.
The LORD deals death and grants life, brings down to Sheol and lifts up.
The animal will be in us too, around many corners, wanting us to follow its way like we used to. It will talk to us like the snake talked to the helper: "God didn't say that did He—what would it hurt, just one time?" We'll learn it isn't just one time, because the cravings of the flesh never cease. When one is quenched, another comes right in to take its place and then it becomes harder to say no to the craving.
I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
If only you had paid attention to my commands,
"There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked."
The God-hating nature of the animal will be there, available for us to choose it instead of heeding the new command from the Teacher to come away from the things that lead to death (remaining one with the natural creation forever). If we believe the lie then we may learn by the suffering of the life going out from us (death). We will know it has gone, as David knew when he pleaded with God to not take His spirit from David, to not leave him. This all happens in us, in our heart, within us in that place where we know He lives, and the Lord lives to be our high priest. He brings us low in order to teach us to reject the wrong, to not embrace it as we're compelled to want to because it's naturally fulfilling on a temporary level.
From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.
This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I will set up for myself a stalwart priest, according to my heart and my spirit he shall act, and I will build him a stalwart house and he will walk before my anointed for all time.
The Son is the teacher/priest who lives to teach us to choose the right and reject the wrong, to grow up with the LORD as Samuel, to become one who is able to know the Father and be familiar to Him, to be one of His own sons. Since he has been given life and is One with the Father, he can live in us to teach us so that we gain the new heart, not like Eli's sons but like Samuel, David, and Hannah.
You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
Unlike the concepts assigned to him by the God-hating animals who don't actually believe he is real, he is truly an active priest, teacher and master for the sons, who need to learn the new (hidden, secret & unseen) way and abandon the old (observable, holdable & controllable) way. He has power to act on the sons' behalf.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"
Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
Physical death may be easier than living in these bodies, having to detach ourselves from the cravings of our flesh which give us a kind of familiar refuge inside us, satisfying our many cravings and appeasing our many fears. However they aren't available to us because they lead to what we had before—just a hope that couldn't be fulfilled until the life was revealed to us, a futility that persisted without relief as we kept searching and couldn't find, even though we wanted to continue. And the world of humans, where we thought we might find the truth about the life that we read about via the testimony of our brothers in the first century and before, did not produce that truth for us, even though they always claimed to. But their claims are baseless, hollow and transparent, though we couldn't prove it but we knew it.
Before, when we passed over from vulnerable to mature animal we understood that the world of humans was hostile; we faintly comprehended in a subconscious way that we were dying all alone so we developed strongholds and fortresses within ourselves to cope with that understanding. We attached ourselves to different things in our mind and body that alleviated that hostility and aloneness, and helped us in our mind just to cope with that comprehension. Those are the things that define all animals—it's what they all do in their struggle to survive and cope. The animals are born and continue along this way of development, usually without a hitch—but the sons are called to a new and better way, the way of the spirit not the animal. The animals die but the sons live forever, only because they contain the Father's DNA inside their otherwise mortal bodies, so they aren't one with the natural creation.
We have a Father who truly can give us hope and make us feel and know that we are not alone. If we only see and count on the tangible things we are missing the point of the message of the Son's life: it was, even as the record states, secret and hidden from the humans. Therefore having a relationship and having faith in in an invisible God must follow that already determined path. It doesn't just become a natural kind of thing that we can manipulate and control because that's a more familiar process for us. It is and stays hidden and secret so that we can't treat it contemptuously, like we naturally would because that's just how we are and learned to be, because of the nature that brought us up and taught us to be God-haters, unable to perceive anything that wasn't observable, definable, controllable—what makes us evil according to the Father. Just a bunch of contemptuous little gods all the themselves, independent little wild animals who couldn't be held by the Father, but instead would just hiss at Him and try to bite Him if He did.
It is not just a theoretical relationship the sons will be having with their true Father—that is a main point of the Abraham story. If it was theoretical for him then God wouldn't have called him His friend. If he rationalized his way out of killing the thing that he truly loved in the world, which was his life at that point—the child of promise who would carry on his name—then we wouldn't have his story of faith and belief from which to learn. He would be forgotten like the billions of others who didn't hear God or heard Him but couldn't let go of the things they could see—what gave them comfort in the natural. Isaac was tangible, and God was a voice inside Abraham he couldn't hold onto or control. He believed God more than what Isaac gave him, which is why God called Abraham right with Him, His friend. He gave Isaac back to him as a reward, even though he counted him lost because he was ready to put the knife to him.
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
It's impossible to convey this point with words—it has to be experienced by facing what seems naturally unlikely if not impossible. Instead of trying to do something by the power of our own hand to do it (because we don't believe it will get done otherwise) we trust the unseen Father because of what we know inside us, and it gets worked out. Facing that and believing truly is work, because it's denying our impulse to act on our own behalf to get what we need. To actually believe that if it doesn't happen the way we think then it must not be for our good is an easy thing to fake on the outside, but not in our heart.
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life.
The Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.
We know that the Father was faithful to the Son and His word (His intention to remember him because of his faithfulness, for laying down what he could have taken up by the power that was available to him—witnessed by the miracles he was able to do because of the Father's life). And He did remember him on the 3rd day as He said He would. But that doesn't lessen the torment he faced with having to believe the word that only he could hear, in the face of the naturally observable occurrences, what things seemed to be—the tangible things to the flesh, all in a real way, and not just in theoretical concepts where we like to live so often. Jesus had the Abraham story to understand what was happening and what God required from him; we have both. It's hard to give up our lives, what we can see and touch, what talks to us so we can hear with our ears and understand with our minds and feel and know it is there and tangible.
When we are sons of God then the spirit counsels us as it counseled Jesus. It told him from the Abraham account what it tells us about both accounts—that God is faithful and He will provide for us what we need. However, what is required is not to say we trust Him with our mouth, but say something totally different with the more true part of us—what we actually do, love and spend our lives running after.
It takes time to make the sons pure in their heart because when they're first taken they are mongrel orphans like the rest with no other comprehension except that they need to continue to do and be like they've always been like all the rest. Lying in their heart is all part of the game of the humans, where they hide and find their familiar comfortable places in the darkness. The teacher isn't bound by time or physical limitations like the things we hang onto, which we naturally love because they have been faithful to us to give us what we've needed so far, and have fulfilled those many needs for our lives until now. Despite the fact that they are tangible, they always go away, unlike our Father who is here now, and will be here when all the tangible things don't matter anymore—when we need to be remembered. The most important thing for the sons to learn is to believe that He is real and true, capable and willing, although unbelievable via all the normal ways of being able to observe, perceive, weigh and calculate.
The Son/Teacher makes us face and abandon our deep network of defense mechanisms that allow us to cope with those fears we developed to cope, at a very steady, controlled rate. He will give us freedom from them because he will make us believe that he is alive and able to give us what we need to survive as sons, not animals. We have been building up mechanisms for years and years, to battle those fears and cope with so many things like the fact that we are alone and going to die. Without the spirit of our Father and the life of the true high priest who lives in us; we would just keep modifying them to suit our needs until we reach the grave, when the game is over.
Our Father on the other hand will be there when we wake up, when he remembers us and gives us fully what we only have been given a deposit of now. That was the hope of the first century brothers, and of the OT sons who were true sons of Abraham. With them we will all fully realize that hope and guarantee, which was in each of us while still in these bodies, yet that no one except the faithful Son has yet realized. One day, when we are all together, all the sons will receive their inheritance and the Son will receive his due glory from all his brothers whom he saved, to whom he gave the ability to be remembered by their Father.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.