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FATHERS UNDER THE OLD COVENANT


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FATHERS UNDER THE OLD COVENANT

Father Moses: Had two sons to Zipporah; Gershom and Eliezer. It came to pass by the way to the Inn, that the Lord met Moses and sought to kill him, then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off their son’s foreskin, “surely a bloody husband art thou to me” because of the circumcision. Exodus 4:23-26. Pity the man who has a disrespectful Zipporah for a wife.

What became of Moses sons we are not told, but by their absence Joshua the son of Nun took their place beside Moses. We know nothing of Joshua’s nameless mother but judging by her son she must have been a true mother in Israel. The way the children go says much about the parents. Moses was busy true enough? Perhaps he should have sought out and taken Jethro’s advice much sooner. The fact remains that he put his ministry ahead of his wife and sons; his home was neglected and dysfunctional.

During my formative years in Christ (saved at 25yrs old) I loved to be around men that I could learn from. Sadly most were of a distant disposition, and rarely made themselves available to any but their inner circle as they pursued their personal ministries. In hindsight some were hollow men. It’s always gratifying to see young men that are keen to learn from godly men. I have known men whose presence was a joy to be in.

People that don’t read History repeat its mistakes. Parents have forsaken their homes to find spiritual life in a church building. Fathers have been seduced to vacate their role as the spiritual head of their family and hand it over to a Cleric in a pulpit surrounded by ridiculous programs run by nincompoops. Jesus said “I must be about my Father’s business”. He speaks to all fathers to be about their family’s spiritual business. Joseph and Mary brought Jesus up in such a manner that when He went missing they knew exactly where to look for Him.

Father Aaron: His eldest sons Nadab and Abihu offered strange fire in the sanctuary while drunk which the Lord commanded them not too Lev 10:9. Furthermore He told Moses “I will be sanctified in them that come near Me”. Moses warned Aaron not to mourn his wicked sons lest they all die Lev 10:1-10.
Although Aaron was Moses’ brother; and despite the fact that he was the High Priest of Israel before God, he was still held responsible for the behaviour of Nadab and Abihu because he was their father.

Father Eli is a grave warning to all fathers:
Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial, “they knew not the Lord”. You would protest ‘that’s impossible’ if it were not for the fact that it’s in the word.
Look at the price he paid for his personal failure as father.
His sons made themselves vial; but worse still “he restrained them not”.
Eli was blind in more ways than one. A little slumber and sleep and the judgment of God came upon him.
The wickedness of his sons was the death of Eli. They literally brought his hoary head down to the grave in shame and sorrow. What an indictment on any father, but against a leader such as Eli it was inexcusable; and the consequences were as predictable as they were tragic. Let’s take a closer look and see if we can find a reason for this calamity, and then see what we can learn from it.

Many Christians want to know all about the “nuts and bolts” of Christianity but less about how to live for Christ. Preachers are to blame for this condition. Why? Because they manufacture the “nuts and bolts” but find the weightier matters of living under His headship grievous and contrary to their carnal appetites.

Eli was a good man. He was deeply concerned about the behaviour of his sons. The problem was he was too busy to give them due attention, he simply wouldn’t find the time. His busy schedule in the ministry just blindsided him until it was far and away too late to do anything about his boys. He had taken too much upon himself. It wasn’t that he was lazy by any stretch of the imagination.
Eli held the twin office of Judge and High priest. See how conscientious he was as he fulfilled the tasks of two men. Read of the manner in which he dealt with the wives of Elkanah, but sadly he made no time for his own household.

Elkanah and Hannah had no children of their own.
God heard Hannah’s cry but Eli mistakenly thought she was drunk when he saw her lips move without making a sound. When she complained that she was not under the influence of strong drink Eli relented and prayed (prophetically) over Hannah and answered the cry of her heart.

God gave Samuel to Hannah; in turn she gave him back to the Lord even before he was born.
God rewarded Hannah further and opened her womb again and again.
1 Samuel 2:21 “And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the Lord”.
1 Samuel 2 18-19. Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.
Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year when she came with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.

Samuel loved Eli, and served the Lord under him. Eli loved Samuel more dearly than his own sons.
Samuel was used by God to bring a word of judgment regarding Eli’s posterity.
Eli accepted the prophetic word that Samuel gave him for he knew that God had Samuel’s ear.
In due course what was bound to happen transpired. The Philistines captured the Ark; the Glory departed. The shocking news reached Eli as Icahbod was born; it was the death of Eli. The last of Eli’s posterity Icahbod, the son of Phineas died during Saul’s reign.

Father Samuel:
Samuel was as guilty as Eli before him regarding his wicked sons.
You would think having seen the outcome of Eli’s folly he would have learned something? But we rarely learn by others mistakes because we think it will never happen to us. i.e. The rich man in hell and Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. If we fail to listen to the Lord or observe what’s taking place around us we will not escape. Ignorance is not an excuse, and it’s certainly not bliss. We think we can manage our own affairs and so take matters into our own hands only to eat the bitter fruit of acting independently.
These words of Jesus regards the rich man in hell are applicable to all; “they have Moses and the prophets let them hear them. Luke 16:29

And it came to pass when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel, (big mistake). And the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second Abijah; they judged in Beer-sheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together and came to Samuel to Ramah, and said to him, Behold, thou art become old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now appoint us a king to judge us, like all the nations. And the thing displeased Samuel, when they said; Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to Jehovah. And Jehovah said to Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me. 1 Samuel 8:1-7.

I think that Samuel was more miffed that the people had rejected his sons than he was for the Lord’s honour. Samuels’s sons were wicked, and so preferring the lesser of two evils the people came up with a solution which was to have a King to rule over them; who could blame them for that?

What further lessons can we learn?
Elizabeth and Zachariah were barren: What joy John gave to them. What more could we say that hasn’t already been said about their remarkable son John, the cousin of Jesus? He had the honour of introducing Jesus the Lamb of God to the world.

Manoah and Samson:
Manoah and his wife had no issue. Then God visited them gave them a son. Samson became a great Judge in Israel. Most remember him only for his remarkable feats of strength, while others remember him more for his transgressions, but we should not forget that he judged Israel faithfully for twenty years during which time he delivered Israel from the philistines not once, but time and again. It’s true and also sad that all the good that a man has done can be wiped out by one serious indiscretion which is mostly what he will be remembered for.

These couples received sons who were miraculously conceived.
These Brides entered marriage never suspecting they would be barren for so many years. When they failed to conceive, their condition bore down on them, and they knew that except the Lord had performed a miracle to open their womb they would have remained childless.
Don’t just blame these women for their condition as was the case in those days, and remained so right up until we became enlightenment in modern times.
God has His reasons for barrenness. He is in control of all life at all times. When He opens a womb after many years of sorrow shame and bitter disappointment it’s always for a great purpose. Oh how Sarah laughed. How her mourning was turned to joy and dancing, and how her sackcloth was replaced with a beautiful garment of praise. Psalms 113:9 He made Hannah once barren to keep house, and become a joyful mother of children.

He has done it for many since that time right down to this present day.
Don’t ever forget that our children have only been loaned to us; they are an assignment from Him, and never more so than when He has miraculously intervened to fulfil the cry of a barren woman.
In each case these children were destined to become great Patriarchs, Prophets, Judges and Kings. Who knows what God has given you to nurse for Him?

Our lives are entwined and interconnected at every stage from birth to the hoary head.
Don’t pre-empt the purpose of God as Abraham did when he failed to wait for the promise of God but took advice from Sarai instead. The consequence of their impatience was to have dire repercussions not just for themselves but also for their posterity. The continuum of their impulsiveness engulfs all mankind today not just Ishmael and Isaac (Arab and Jew). They are a burdensome stone to every nation.

Have a thought for Hannah as she suffered the indignity of having Elkanah bring Peninnah into her home and into their bed. He may have found an excuse in Moses to commit polygamy for self gratification, but it was not so from the beginning. If God had intended for Adam to have two wives he would have taken two ribs from his side not just one. Elkanah’s actions caused grief, pain, and envy to become permanent lodgers in that home. Hannah’s broken heart filled her bed with tears. And if that wasn’t enough she must endure the sight of children that might have been her own under happier circumstances; but it was not to be. In addition she will have to endure their scoffing with the full approval of Peninnah their mother.

Annually Hannah made the journey to Shiloh with Elkanah and her adversary Peninnah to offer sacrifice to for the household. Although Elkanah gave to Hannah a goodly portion nothing could assuage her bitterness regards the indignities heaped on her by her adversary. Who was to blame for this state of affairs? Elkanah undoubtedly was when he failed to beseech the Lord on behalf of Hannah regards her barrenness.

Elkanah may have loved Hannah more than Peninnah but it was not sufficient. He had broken her heart and caused her to stumble before the Lord when he took Peninnah to bear his children. No man sins unto himself.
As Hannah was his first love nothing but blame and shame should be heaped on Elkanah, and the deepest of sympathy given to Hannah. This betrayal was often more than Hannah could bear.

How many have been betrayed in a relationship only God knows. How many have married a vacant lot and had to bear up under it is incalculable. Thank God for His grace and merciful forgiveness. He is never condemning but always waiting to restore the broken down walls of human frailty and weaknesses when we come to Him. But the pain and shame must be borne.
Often we see how God had to prepare the woman first to get the man He wanted. He did it with Hannah, and with Jochebed the faith-full mother of Moses.

All this and we haven’t even begun to look into the lives of the Judges and Kings of Israel and Judah, to see what we can learn, but that would take far too long here. Be sure that when we do, we shall find it to be most instructive.

 
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Shaun Kearney
en engape!