Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –
I hope your weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world was blessed and you have your sights set on your next opportunity. Here’s something from 1 Samuel to keep in mind as God allows you to serve Him:
Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest,
to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me?
And did I not give to the house of your father
all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? (1 Samuel 2:28)
This passage in 1 Samuel 2 contains some of the words that a man of God brought against Eli, the high priest of Israel. In God’s word to Eli through this unknown prophet, we have a wonderful summary of some of the duties of the priesthood in Israel.
By analogy, we can learn at least two things. First, that Jesus perfectly fulfilled the priesthood in the way no one else every could. Second, these principles give a pattern of how we should serve God’s people today.
- To be My priest: First and foremost, the job of the high priest was to minister unto the Lord. Before he served the people, he was a servant of God. He was not first the people’s priest; he was first the priest of God. We first serve God.
- To offer upon My altar: The priest brought sacrifices for atonement and worship. We continually point to God’s perfect sacrifice, to what Jesus accomplished at the cross.
- To burn incense: Burning incense was a picture of prayer, because the smoke and the scent of the incense ascends to the heavens. The priest was to lead the nation in prayer, and to pray for the nation. We must be praying pastors, teachers, and leaders.
- To wear an ephod before Me: The priest was clothed in specific garments, for glory and for beauty(Exodus 28:2). He was to represent the majesty, dignity, glory, and beauty of God to the people. We need to represent our God in proper manner.
- All the offerings: The priest was also charged with the responsibility to receive the offerings of God’s people and to make good use of them. We are stewards of what God’s people give to the work of His kingdom.
Eli failed as a high priest, but Jesus perfectly fulfilled the office. As you abide in Him and reflect the heart of Jesus to those you serve, you will walk in the faith of a faithful priest, not a failed priest.
Blessings to you in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik