March 19

1 Samuel 1-3, Psalm 78

We live in a society which exalts it’s children above all else, and the repercussions of this are staggering. When we do this, we are making them idols. As an Obstetrician/Gynecologist for about 30 years I have had the privilege of knowing many of my patients over a long period of time. Unfortunately, many of the families that I have cared for are now staggering, with many of the parents now divorced. One of the main things I find when talking to my patients is that they openly admit that they love their children more than anything and everything else, including their spouses and certainly more than God. They state this position fully believing that this is the correct position. One visual I often tell them is to imagine their priorities as a triangle, with God at the apex, followed by their spouse, followed by their children, followed by everything else. It gives me the opportunity to tell them that to follow God is a choice. I also tell them that they chose their spouses and made a vow to them. They simply chose to have children but they and their children didn’t actually choose each other, God did it for them. The problem is that they have reversed the triangle, with children at the apex, and if they were honest, God is not third but fiftieth in their list of priorities.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:37, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me”. We see in today’s reading an example by Hannah, of one who loved God more than her child. We read in 1 Samuel 1:25-28, “…and brought the child to Eli. And she said, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord , I am the woman who stood by you here praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” We see that Hannah’s life was blessed as a result of her actions on behalf of her son, Samuel. We see in today’s reading an example by Eli, of one who loved his children more than God (1 Samuel 2:29, “…and honor your sons more than Me…”). As a result of his loving his wicked children, Hophni and Phinehas more than God, he was cursed.

God is to be exalted above everything and everyone else. This is the First Commandment in Deuteronomy 5:7, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” This is the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” When this is forgotten, as it was by Eli in today’s reading and by our society today, the results are divorce, death, and the removal of God’s blessings.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Aaron Salvato