Hello sweet friend!! I’ve surfaced for a brief moment to share another excerpt with you. Like the last one, this one is a little different in order to make it a blog post, but the concepts are the same.
In the last excerpt I shared, we stood with Hannah and empathized with her deep anguish.
Today, we’re going to meet Eli. (1 Samuel 1:9-17, NIV)
Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house. In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”
“Not so, my lord,” Hannah replied, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”
Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”
Our first view of Eli is sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Tabernacle.
Eli wasn’t just the High Priest; he was also the nation’s judge. Part of his role was to sit on the Seat of Judgment and hear disputes that had been kicked up to him from the lower courts and hand down judgment. During the annual festivals it was his full-time position.
This dais, chair, or throne was set up in a public place so all had access to it, and his sitting on it would be an indicator to all that “court was in session.” The Judgment Seat was also a crucial component of the Roman justice system and is used to illustrate the Judgment Seat of Christ at the end of the age. (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15)
As a bonus, the dais was positioned to provide an optimal vantage point to see what was going on in and around the Tabernacle in case Eli’s assistance as High Priest was needed.
So as Hannah prayed, Eli watched. Growing more incredulous by the minute. He was oblivious to her deep anguish and bitter tears. Instead, he focused on her lips soundlessly moving. “Must you come here drunk?” he [snarled]. “Throw away your wine!” (v. 14)
Pause for a minute. What’s your reaction to this rebuke?
OOOH, this unfounded accusation gets my back up. As if Peninnah’s backstage ridicule and her husband’s private insensitivity weren’t enough, now her priest is publicly accusing her of being a wicked woman! There’s no love or compassion. No pastoral care or concern. He doesn’t even hoist himself off the Judgment Seat to investigate. To see if her vision is blurry and unfocused; to detect alcohol on her breath. Instead, he hollers across the room, “Lady, why are you here drunk?”
Put yourself in Hanna’s sandals. How would you respond to this unfounded accusation?
I’m thankful she answered him and not me. Even when her voice catches as speaks around her sobs, her sincerity rings true. The grace and refinement that resonated in her words would be void in mine.
Oh, there’s so much to learn from Hannah, isn’t there?
Have you ever been judged unjustly?
We all have.
Have you judged anyone harshly before having all the facts?
We all have
Friend, being judged hurts!
But as we learn from Hannah, our response to the rebuke determines the direction of the outcome.
Judgmentalism is a disease that finds it’s roots in pride and arrogance. It steals our joy and the enjoyment of others because we’re always looking for the bad in people as opposed to celebrating the good. A critical spirit stifles our ability to love and be a positive ambassador for Christ. It repels potential friendships. It makes us angry and bitter and fuels our insecurity. It doesn’t matter if we speak our opinions out loud or harbor them in our heart; the results are the same.
I fight this disease every day. Hard. And I’m I beating it (most days) by asking God to do five things:
- To give me His sight to see people through His eyes
- To provide me with His grace to love people with His heart
- To expand the capacity of my heart to love
- To give me His insight and wisdom to best love them
- To help me remember my frailties, sin, and failures and overwhelm me with compassion for others
Then God led me to Galatians 6:1-3. And I had to ask myself some hard questions
- How are we to help those overcome by sin?
- What are we to be careful of?
- What are we supposed to share?
To be real, we’ve all sat in the Judgment Seat at one time or another. We’ve all handed down baseless damning decrees. We’ve all judged on assumption and with a self-imposed sense of authority. But before give into temptation to do it again, we would be wise to heed Jesus’s advice: “Look beneath the surface so [we] can judge correctly.” (John 7:24)
As I continue to heal from this disease, I realize I mostly people judged out of a place of brokenness and insecurity. Out of a false sense of self-importance.
Are you the same?
When we’re unsure about ourselves in any way, we tend to have a strong desire for people to be like us so we can feel better about who we are.
Beloved, we need to stop fooling ourselves. We just aren’t that important.
What IS important is Jesus. Period. Who He is. What He did. And the gift he offers.
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