“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” – 1 Samuel 2:2
1 Samuel chapter 2 begins with a song of praise and thanksgiving offered by a grateful Hannah cradling her miracle child. God had kept his promise. God always keeps His promise. No matter what.
As the chapter continues, the story takes a heartbreaking turn. As one family rejoices in their beautiful son’s life, another family falls apart. Eli had served the Lord faithfully for many years. His sons were to carry on his work. Yet, verse 12 calls them “scoundrels” who had “no regard for the Lord.”
“The sin of the young men was very great in the Lord’s sight for they were treating the Lord’s offering with contempt (1 Samuel 2:17).”
When Eli hears of their sin, he confronts them. Choosing not to listen, the sons of Eli continue to dishonor the Lord and He responds. I often try to imagine how Eli must have felt watching it all unfold; moving forward knowing what God had told him – that his sons would not live to see old age because of their sin. The cost would be their lives. And then I find myself asking, “What is the lesson here for me?” And I find it in verse 33: “And I (the Lord) will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind.”
As leaders, we must learn to value what God values. It wasn’t enough that the sons of Eli were…sons of Eli. Their family blood line, their rank in society, their knowledge of the temple, their years of experience, their training as priests: in the end, none of this saved them. God was in search of a faithful one – one who He could trust would obey His commands and do what was in His heart and mind.
Years later, when God would choose David as Israel’s King, it would be because he was “a many after my own heart (1 Samuel 16).” Later, when history was recounted, it would be said that, “he raised up David to be their king,” because, “I (the Lord) have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will (Acts 13:22).” A heart set on obedience has always mattered to God.
So, when we staff a position – whether paid or volunteer – what do we look for? If we value what God values, our primary focus should be on the heart of each applicant. We see in Acts 13:22 that a pursuing hearts looks like obedience. It’s a heart you can trust to follow instruction, to respect authority, and to honor any guidelines that are given. God wasn’t looking for perfection. He was looking for a heart of humility, a heart pursuing Him, a heart set on obedience. Do we value the same things? Do we take time to focus on the “heart” of our team? On our OWN hearts? Are we faithful ones? Ones He can trust to do according to His heart and His mind?