Dear family, thank you so much for your overwhelming kindness and grace! There was indeed a small error in the Ruth Focus Sheet. The word in the bottom right corner should be 4 letters long, rather than seven. We will correct this and have it ready for the next reading cycle.
Good Morning Siblings!
Today we begin the book of 1 Samuel!
Our readings are 1 Samuel 1-3
About this book:
- This is one of 12 books categorized as a historical book in the Bible.
- 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel were originally one book, but translators divided it into two.
- Samuel is the prophet YHWH used to establish a kingship for Israel.
- Samuel was a Levite, a descendant of the Kohathites. (1 Chron 6:26 1 Chron 6:33)
- First Samuel is named after its main character, not its author, although Samuel is considered to be the author of some but certainly not all of it (some is recorded after his passing).
- 1 Samuel covers about 100 years and 2 Samuel covers about 40 more.
We’ve seen that the era of the Judges proved disastrous for the tribes of Israel. When people begin doing what is right in their own eyes in as little as a generation they can become so far removed from YHWH’s ways that they are unrecognizable as His people. Imagine what several generations away look like! Again, they saw no problem with it and we can see by their actions that in their hearts they thought were doing fine in YHWH’s eyes, as long as they worshipped Him as one of their gods and as long as their ways were something of a loose adaptation of His. Of course, YHWH has shown us repeatedly how He feels about this.
Now the era of Judges has come to a close (or is in the process of doing so) and we are about to begin a time of God’s people being governed by kings. We will see, over time, the Father moving His people towards the day when they will be given the ultimate king, our Messiah. Oh glorious day when He returns!!
There are two common words you may see me write about a lot coming up so I wanted to define them in the manner in which I am using them:
-Apostasy: the abandonment or renunciation of a religious belief
-Syncretism: the combining and blending of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.
OH ELI !
From what we see, Eli’s reproach of his children was half hearted at best and clearly the root of their problem began with lack of reverence for YHWH in their upbringing. In his role as a priest, to know and allow his own children to behave this way, desecrate YHWH’s property, abuse His temple and His people in a role in which they claim to represent YHWH Himself- it is a high handed sin. High handed is intentional and unrepentant sin, one we know is wrong, committed with full intent after having been given grace and salvation. It’s a very grave thing. Speaking with his children wasn’t enough. It was time to be in there flipping tables and sending them outside the camp so to speak – and that would have been the least he should have done.
Again we are seeing the contrast of the unfaithful and the faithful – with Hannah and Samuel being examples of those who are living among the unfaithful while maintaining faithfulness to YHWH. We are going to discuss high handed sin again in a minute.
It is worth noting that historically and moving forward, all attempts of YHWH’s people to govern themselves will fail. Whenever they cry out for a savior to rise up from among them, YHWH may give them what they ask for in the interim but ultimately this will serve to show them that the only leader that will not fail them is the coming/returning (depending on where you are in history) true King. Of course, I am referring to our Messiah.
Another note: See how, even though the temple and its priests are corrupt, still there is a remnant to join with. There are those that remain faithful, the Bible tells us that there will always be a remnant to join with. Always, peoples, always! #BetheRemnant
Something to think on: Remnant means a small quantity remaining. Take a moment to think about words and phrases like “remnant”, “narrow path”, and “few will find it”. All of these stand in direct contrast to thoughts of “mega”, “masses”, “popular”, etc.
Have you noticed how many things we’ve found which are out of place and out of line with YHWH’s will now that we have the foundational knowledge of Scripture? After studying the “old” testament, so much going forward is going to make a lot more sense because we have this wonderful knowledge and wisdom which YHWH always meant for us to have. This aids our ability to discern what is good and bad in the eyes of YHWH rather than just what is good and bad in our own eyes.
1 Samuel 1:24 Recall that weaning age for tribal societies is not what we think of it today. A weaned child could easily be 5-7 years old. We are specifically told that Samuel was young so he could have been on the lower range of this, or perhaps even a bit younger.
1 Samuel 2:3 This stood out to me
For YHWH is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.
Who weighs our actions? YHWH. Him alone. So we should ask ourselves, against whose standards will our actions be weighed? His, of course. No one else.
1 Samuel 2:17 tells us that the men treated the offering, which belonged to YHWH, with contempt. They treated it as if it were theirs to do with as they wished. We see this more often than not in our culture today. Today, offerings made to the Father are used to fund all manner of man’s pursuits while charity is often not extended to those the Father has commanded it be extended too. This is also a sobering consideration when it comes to making offerings.
All too often we tend to feel that if we make an offering to someone who tells us that they represent the Father, our duty is done and the responsibility for that offering is now on someone else, but that is simply not the case in the Father’s eyes. One of these days we may have a long talk about offerings vs tithes, the Biblical definition of a tithe, and who is entitled to receive what according to YHWH’s Word.
1 Samuel 3:1 tells us that it was a rare thing for YHWH to speak to people in those days and also for Him to give visions to His people. Why is this? Israel had fallen so far away from the Father that their tendency was not to hear Him, much less obey Him. Eventually, those who refuse to hear find themselves no longer being spoken to. This brings great understanding to us today, in much the same situation. It also explains the many opportunistic false prophets of our time.
1 Samuel 3:7 is something we need to pause on a minute.
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
Samuel did not recognize the voice of YHWH, that is clear, but now we have even more insight as to why. Samuel had not yet come to know YHWH and His Word! This is stunning for a few reasons.
#1. His care had been entrusted to the high priest and clearly, the high priest had not been tutoring Samuel as he should have. That is a tragedy. I’m sure they were going through the motions, serving in the temple, showing up and doing the do’s, but Samuel didn’t understand why he was doing what he did. He was simply doing what he was expected to do.
#2 SAMUEL WAS SERVING IN THE TEMPLE and didn’t even know YHWH! This is a not at all subtle reminder that someone can serve in a role of prestige in a place operating under the banner of YHWH and not even know Him!
Sidenote: To His credit, Eli did instruct Samuel to hear and obey YHWH, even though he himself did not. If you’re going to go astray, at least don’t encourage others to do the same.
1 Samuel 3:10 & 1 Samuel 3:21 – Notice that text is telling us that YHWH physically appeared to Samuel!
1 Samuel 3:13-14 Back to high handed sin. Note: When this concept was first introduced in our reading a lot of people had never heard of it before and understandably struggled. This is not a topic we can understand by reading someone’s notes or by sitting down and pondering it for ten minutes. It’s going to take time, growth, and continued relationship with His word to digest. I want to encourage you not to be offended, terrified, or anxious but approach this as you would any other lesson the Father offers in His word: with a desire to learn and grow closer to Him and His truth. We’re here for the long haul, fam.
These are hard verses to read and we often dismiss them because they are “Old Testament” and “God doesn’t punish people anymore because of Jesus” but both of these lines of thinking directly contradict YHWH’s word, and Messiah’s as well.
Let’s read these verses and unpack it a bit:
13 And I declare to him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
1 Samuel 3:13-14
Did you catch that? Eli’s sons were blaspheming YHWH and Eli did nothing to stop them, therefore he is complicit. But the kicker comes in verse fourteen – the sin that is on Eli’s house is a sin that cannot be atoned for – forever. We see in 1 Samuel 2:25 that Eli knew this all too well and saw it coming.
We have discussed generational curses previously and will continue to learn more as we move forward. Note that this says this sin cannot be atoned for. This does not say that none of Eli’s descendants can have salvation. That is not what we are discussing here so take a breath.
How can a sin not be capable of being atoned for? YHWH tells us there is one type of sin that fits this bill and that is High Handed Sin. Let’s read a bit:
30 But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Numbers 15:30
Native or sojourner = Native Israelite or Gentile.
but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— Mark 3:29 <“New” testament passage.
What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to commit a high handed sin? This, like so much of our understanding of the Word, is something that our knowledge needs time to mature in.
Stay tuned for the key component of High Handed Sin in a few paragraphs…
I saw one simple definition of high handed sin that I think puts it into a good context to todays thought pattern:
“ I can do whatever I want and I demand that YHWH bless it.”
In other words:
- I can decide how I worship and what worship means to me (Exodus 32:1-5)
- I can decide what part of Scripture I want to follow (see Matthew 5:19)
- I can decide that I don’t like the mean God of the old testament and just worship the God of the New Testament (see Malachi 3:6) – note there is only one God.
- I can just live my life however I want and demand blessings (see Genesis – Revelation)
These are some of the thoughts regarding High Handed Sin. However, it is a very deep subject and has been debated for centuries.
Of course, the thought of not being able to live as we see fit is going to be offensive to many, if not all, of us at some point in our lives. However, some say none of the things listed above constitute a high handed sin. I freely offer the caveat that if they are done out of ignorance or by following errant teaching, the Father will view them in light of the person having been misguided – but we are instructed to test all teachings to the straight edge of YHWH’s Word so we need to consider that at some point the Father does expect us to take personal responsibility for our behavior. After all, He did give us an entire book of instructions – It is not a bizarre thing to think a Believer should feel a compulsion to read it.
This is something for you to work out with the Father and keep in mind as we study and grow in the Word.
Regardless, one key component to a high handed sin is this:
A High Handed Sinner is not repentant.
For a more in depth look into High Handed sin, including references to it in the “new” testament, see my notes on Numbers 14-15 by clicking here. Whether we take the time to understand this or not does not take away our responsibility should we be found in a high handed sin.
1 Samuel 2:35 contains a very important definition of how YHWH determines faithfulness.
35 And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind
How does the Father define a faithful priest? As one who will do what is in HIS (YHWH’s) heart and HIS (YHWH’s) mind. Are they following their own heart and their own mind? No. They are following YHWH’s, and a person who is faithful to YHWH understands that there is a distinct and vast difference between the two.
These next few books are some of my favorites and us reading them together is going to be fast paced and exciting so fasten your seatbelts and get ready for more adventure!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!